September 10, 2008

In Memory of Evan Tanner (Illustration by Scott Blair)


There’s a part of his heart up
in Heaven

And a part that will always
be wild

And all he can leave them is
love and a reason

To run for the rest of their

Lonesome Coyotes survive.


– Kris Kristofferson



Former UFC middleweight champion Evan
Tanner was found dead on Monday, Sept. 8 in the mountain area outside of Palo
Verde, Calif. He was 37 years old.


Tanner was a veteran of more than a
decade in mixed martial arts. Though he hardly settled in one place over the
course of his career, Tanner’s friendly nature and nomadic spirit led him to
cross paths with many people in the MMA community.


In the spirit of remembering Evan
Tanner, following are some of the comments from people who new him… in their
own words:



Rogan, UFC commentator:

Evan was a lot more than a “normal” person. He
was a fascinating individual – a wandering spirit in search of adventure
in the truest sense of the term.  I was a regular reader of Evan’s blog,
and although I had always appreciated him as a fighter and a friendly person to
talk to, it was in reading his writings that I came to better understand his


His blog was a porthole into the window of his
soul, and reading his brave, uncensored thoughts gave me an invigorated sense
of purpose to do the same.

Evan’s take on life was like that of a character in an adventure novel, and his
thirst for experience was actually what led him into fighting in the first


I can remember the first time I watched him
fight, when I read that he learned his techniques from a video tape and was
self trained. I thought that it takes a really unusual person to enter into the
toughest sport in the world that way. He took that unusual energy and channeled
it to become the UFC middleweight champion of the world.


He was that, and more.


Evan Tanner has left the rest of us trapped in
this life and has moved on to the next stage of existence where he will
undoubtedly find adventure beyond his wildest imagination. In doing so he has
left the world a little less interesting…



Lindland and Team Quest:

We at Team Quest are saddened to hear the news
of Evan Tanner. He was and always will be a part of the Team Quest Family. As
much as we tried to make Evan feel a part of the pack, he was a lone wolf and
tried hard not to fit the mold. He liked to do it his way. – God Bless



Monte Cox, fighter manager and
president of Adrenaline MMA:

I’m really saddened by the news… Evan first
fought for me in 1998 and was one of the guys I always enjoyed seeing at the
shows, whether he was competing or not. He always had a big smile and a
handshake waiting whenever we bumped into each other. The MMA community and
everybody who was touched by him will miss him greatly."



Couture, UFC heavyweight champion:

We’re all going to sorely miss Evan Tanner. He
was a tremendous talent in our sport, and in many ways, self-taught in all the
skills that he possessed in mixed martial arts. In a lot of ways his passing is
metaphorical for his life, because he was one of those people that isolated


I wasn’t really familiar with where he had
gone. He was in Oregon; he was gone. He was here; he was gone. Nobody could
really keep up with him, he just kind of moved at his own pace and in his own time.
He never really checked in with anybody, ‘hey, I’m moving here’ and let you
know he was going, he just kind of disappeared. So I had no idea how to get a
hold of him or where he was.


He was in Oregon with us for a couple years,
through his championship run. He stayed at my house for a while when he first
moved from Texas, and he lived in the back of the gym at Team Quest for quite a
long time too before Donita moved up and they got there own place up there.
Trained with him almost every day when he was getting ready for fights. Then he
moved out of Team Quest in Oregon, and went his own way.



Ortiz, former UFC light heavyweight champion:

All my blessing to his family for sure. 
It’s a shock to me still.  I remember Evan being a really good guy, and a
solid fighter, and it’s kind of heart shaking.  I was really taken back
from it when it happened, when I heard about it online.  I can always be
thankful that I had the chance to fight him and just to compete with the guy
and be around the guy for competition.  He’s always been a solid



Kendall Grove, last fighter to face

I didn’t know Evan personally, but personally
enough that I fought him.  I know that he was a really, really good guy
and the sport has lost a good person and a pioneer to the sport.  We
fought and shared that bond.  My heart is out to his family.  I’m
praying for his family and him.  I’m going to miss the guy.



Leigh, a personal friend of Evan’s:

Evan at times could be very stubborn.  If
you asked him about something he’d answer with firsthand knowledge because if
he didn’t experience something, he’d tell you he didn’t have an opinion on it.


He’d tell you things that you didn’t want to
hear, but at the same time you knew that if it was coming from Evan, he wasn’t
just blowing smoke and telling you something that you just wanted to
hear.  Everything about him was genuine.


He didn’t care if people liked him or hated
him.  He just wanted them to know that what he said is really what he


He had a genuine love for mankind.  I
think his ultimate goal was to use his UFC exposure to do his charity work for
people that needed help.


He was a lot more than just a fighter.  He
really cared.



(Illustration by Scott
Blair of Scottblairart.com,
commissioned for Driving Force Sports and Ninja Star.)