- Given Name: Evan Loyd Tanner
- Pro MMA Record: 32-8-0 (Win-Loss-Draw)
- Nickname: N/A
- Ending Streak: 2 Losses
- Date of Birth: 1971.02.11 | Died: 2008.09.05
- Last Fight: June 21, 2008 in UFC
- Weight Class: Middleweight | Last Weigh-In: 186.0 lbs
- Affiliation: Hard Knocks Kickboxing
- Height: 6'0" (183cm) | Reach: N/A
- Career Disclosed Earnings: $158,000 USD
- Born: Amarillo, Texas, United States
- Fought out of: Amarillo, Texas
Regional Rankings Rankings FAQ
Evan Tanner is ineligible for regional rankings due to inactivity.
Fighters must have at least one completed MMA bout in the past two years to be ranked.
Evan Tanner Wiki Update Wiki
The late Evan Tanner is remembered as one of the great pioneers of the sport of MMA. He was an iconoclast, a self-taught martial artist, a loner and mystery to others, as well as a world class athlete who owned some of the most memorable wins in early UFC history. His death was a shock to the MMA community and Evan Tanner is still remembered often and fondly by his contemporaries.
A former standout high school wrestler, Tanner was a unique athletic talent who, quite amazingly, was able to teach himself Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in his own garage primarily through the use of instructional VHS tapes and with limited access to training partners. According to more than one account, Tanner was aided in his feat by a near-photographic memory. For those who have suffered through the challenges of learning Jiu-Jitsu under even the best training conditions, Tanner’s accomplishment is extraordinary; to then take such a martial arts base all the way into the UFC and apply it against many of the world’s top fighters is close to unthinkable. Yet during his time in the UFC, Tanner emerged as one of its toughest and most durable combatants, defeating some of the world’s best middleweights, including Phil Baroni (twice), Robbie Lawler, and Justin Levens.
Tanner could never be counted out, as with the time he was virtually written off prior to his UFC 51 bout with the much-vaunted Octagon newcomer and Cesar Gracie BJJ specialist, “The Soul Assassin” David Terrell. In a bout for the vacant UFC Middleweight Championship that some hoped would annoint Terrell the promotion’s next big star, Tanner went on to obliterate Terrell with strikes on the ground in a signature performance.
Tanner’s Octagon nemesis proved to be a young and upcoming fighter by the name of Rich Franklin, who was later recognized as one of the promotion’s all time best. Tanner lost to Franklin once before Franklin was well-known, and yet again in a punishingly one-sided affair once Franklin was an established champion.
Throughout his life, Tanner had struggled with alcoholism, depression, and bouts of self-destructive and grossly reckless behavior. He could be known, alternatively, to disappear for long lengths of time, to sleep outdoors, to live the life of a vagrant, or to allow himself to lose virtually all his conditioning through drinking to excess or simply failing to eat. Before some of his most important bouts, Tanner would go on to deliver respectable performances even after those who knew him well believed he would be unable to compete at all.
After back-to-back Octagon losses in 2008 sent his fighting career into a tailspin, the frequently locquacious Tanner had spoken on his blog of his intention to take a potentially dangerous solo camping trip into the California desert in an effort to find himself. Later that month, in September of 2008, Tanner was found dead in the desert near Brawley, California after succumbing to heat exposure. Even for those who knew him, his death came as a shock.
One of the most beloved fighters in the history of the sport, Evan Tanner still carries a devoted fan base that honors his free spirit and his fighting accomplishments.
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Videos & Highlights
Promo Video | "Once I Was A Champion" Evan Tanner Documentary Official Trailer report dead link
The official trailer to the Evan Tanner documentary film "Once I was a Champion" by TapouT Films.
Highlight | "Evan Tanner 1971 - 2008" HL Vid By Machinemen report dead link
MMA video maker Machinemen pays tribute to the late Evan Tanner.
Highlight | Evan Tanner Tribute Video by Tap or Sleep report dead link
MMA highlight video maker Tap or Sleep honors the legacy of the late Evan Tanner with this career compilation video.