College dropout, adventurer, seeker, traveler, ditch digger, dishwasher, cable tech, concrete worker, steel worker, salad prep, busboy, ski resort security, ski resort rental shop technician. I've worked in a slaughterhouse. I've been a landscaper. I've done drywall, tile, countertops, wood flooring, roofing. I have been a plumber, worked as a bottle collector at a bar, a bouncer, a doorman, a head of a security team. I have been a basket room clerk, a carpenter, a framer building beach houses, a truss builder. I've lived on a farm. I've lived in the city. I've earned money mowing lawns, selling on ebay, and fighting. A teacher, a trainer, and a coach sometimes. There was a time when I was younger that I didn't know any better than to be a liar, a cheater, and a thief. I have since learned to despise those things. I have had great friendships. I have had great loves. I have been a lover, I have been a son, a brother, and a friend. And I was once
A WORLD CHAMPION.
We will never know the exact date he passed, but today marks the two-year anniversary of the date Evan Tanner's body was discovered. I'm sure the Bloody Elbow staff will be posting their own pieces today, so I'll keep this one short.
Here is an excerpt from Nate's original remembrance piece:
But let's not forget Evan Tanner the fighter. No he wasn't one of the absolute all-time greats, but I think he's a Hall of Famer. Here's why:
1. He was one of the best fighters to come out of the first wave of regional MMA events in America. His only peers in this were Josh Barnett, Pat Militech, Jeremy Horn and Heath Herring.
2. He was a UFC champion and a Neo-blood champion in Pancrase back when that really meant something.
3. He was one of the first, if not the first fighters, to combine good wrestling, effective muy thai in the clinch, and good jiu jitsu. More than that he practically invented elbows on the ground. Not cheap ass glancing open a cut elbows either -- Tanner's ground and pound elbows were short sharp shocks that stunned and damaged grounded opponents. Watch his very first UFC fights to see why Tanner's career lasted a decade.
Its noteworthy that he taught himself jiu jitsu and muy thai with instructional videos and books. Combined with his background as a Texas state wrestling champ -- again he was a prodigy, since he didn't start wrestling until 10th grade!
4. He finished fights. Out of 32 wins, only 3 were by decision.
5. He was always game and never gave up. His come back wins against Phil Baroni, Robbie Lawler and Dave Terrell are legendary for a reason. His losses to Rich Franklin showed just as much spirit.
I've posted a couple of fight videos in the extended entry.
I'd say "Rest in Peace" but Evan Tanner was too wild & free to ever rest, instead I'll say:
Blow With the Wind, May Your Adventures Never End.
It's also worth checking out Nick Thomas's remembrance piece from last year. More after the jump.
The documentary project on Evan's life, Once I was a Champion, has released some clips recently which are worth checking out. However, I'll begin with a short quote from the website, which many of us remember from Evan as he set out to make a recovery and return to the UFC.
Believe in yourself.
Believe in your own potential for greatness.
Believe that you can change the world.
It is something that is within each of us.
Believe in the Power of One.
- Evan Tanner
A touching piece from Evan's childhood friend, Wade.
Finally, here's how I prefer to remember the humble warrior: