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UFC Fighter Found Dead

9/9/2008 12:20 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

TMZ has learned former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner went missing in the California desert and his body was found yesterday.

Law enforcement tells us the 37-year-old went out into the desert near San Diego last Friday. That same day, Tanner sent a text message to a friend that he was out of water and needed help. There was a massive search that ended abruptly yesterday.

Tanner blogged last month he was going to the desert because of his friends talking about "treasure hunting and lost gold, and my own insatiable appetite for adventure and exploration." Tanner continued, "I plan on going so deep into the desert, that any failure of my equipment could cost me my life."

Tanner's song of choice on his MySpace page was "Guaranteed" by Eddie Vedder from the movie "Into the Wild." The movie was about a guy who goes off into the wilderness against the advice of everyone he knows. Guess how it ended.

Tanner was featured on Spike TV's, "The Ultimate Fighter." He lost his last bout in June at the Ultimate Fighter 7 finale.

Cause of death is undetermined.


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according to ufc's own webpage evan tanner is dead however few details are being shared when ya call the police investigating the only information they will give is that yes a body was found and that the death is being investigated as suspicious

2238 days ago

who dat    

"that any failure of my equipment could cost me my life" He got what he wanted. Sounds like drug use.

2238 days ago


No-one deserves to die, especially in such a horrific way. Some friends this man must have, letting him go out in the desert and exposing himself to such danger. I can barely work in the garden for an hour on a hot day before I need to break and grab a glass of iced water. One can never carry enough water on a motorcycle to last for days. One day in the hot desert, exposed like he was, will require gallons of water. At ~8 lbs. per gallon of water, he would be lucky if he could carry 3 or 4 gallons.

2238 days ago


I guess it is confirmed that he has passed on... may he rest in peace.

2238 days ago

oh yaaaaaaaaaaa    

no clue who he is, but sad story non the less, he knew exactly wht he was doing, and dehydration isn't a fun process, would love to be wrong.

2238 days ago


What an adventure hes had. I truly hope I'm as lucky to pass doing something that I enjoy as well. Prayers and Peace to all of Evans family and friends.

2238 days ago

Party 'till you die!    

That sucks! He was always quite the character in and outside the ring. One of the humble fighters who didn't talk a bunch of crap before, during, or after fights. I respect the desert because I live in it and there are days when just driving to another place can be risky prospect. I've experienced a few close calls myself and it was only because of preparations and personal knowledge that I made it out. He smacked of the type A risk takers that included such people as Chuck Yeager and Sir Edmund Hillary and in this day of few untouched frontiers, many adventurous types still seek new boundaries. While I did not know him personally, I did follow his career closely and enjoyed watching every fight I ever saw him in. Unfortunately, with others incidents such as Quinton Jackson's and people such as some in the WWE, I think he has been unjustly grouped with this set of people unfairly. Both his losses and his wins showed that he was a classy act and the type of person who shook people's hands even after receiving a tremendously savage beating and loss from them. He was also just as classy and gracious during his wins. I have also studied Martial Arts for years as well and although I am not a tournament fighter, I do know when someone shows the type of dignity and respect that I wished more people would show in the arts. Evan Tanner was someone I saw as a person who had these qualities. He will be missed by his many fans, of which, I count myself as one.

2238 days ago


I was blessed enough to call Evan my friend. He was a great man with a kind heart, and soft voice. I am truly deeply saddened by what has happened, and pray that he is now happy and without all the demons he's dealt with over the last few years.

He might have been a fighter to most people, but to me, he was just Evan. A good guy with a heart of gold who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I pray for him, and know he's in a better place now.

2238 days ago


Wow. This sucks. :(

2238 days ago


We had a heat wave advisory this past weekend. The air was very dry. He unfortunately miscalculated and paid for it with his life. It was not a good way to go.

RIP Evan

2238 days ago


Sorry to hear Evan Tanner lost his struggle for the elusive lost gold near San Diego.

Question: Why did Tanner go into the desert alone? Many people know that going into the desert alone is stupid.

Why did not Tanner's friends go with him? Did Tanner ask his friends to go, and they punked out as usual?

2238 days ago

Sad sad    

Wow said temps were up to 114 where he was. That's nuts.

2238 days ago

john wayne gacy    

it's understood that the majority of men who ride

camels in heat of the desert, still prefer a woman.........

2238 days ago


and steve fossett #40?!

2238 days ago

Me, myself and I    

I never heard of this guy. It's obvious that he made a major mistake, and it cost him his life. It's too young to die.

2238 days ago
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