I chose most of the day to stay quiet about the whole affair, and wait until the full force of the news had hit me. I’m rather unaccustomed to tragedy, so i don’t often know how to react. I also wanted to see what everyone would say, to see what kind of impact this would have.
Ryan told me about the idea of devoting the whole day to Evan, and at first I was still reeling from the news and couldn’t quite grasp the significance of his passing. It wasn’t until I read all of the comments left on the site over the day and received a bunch of emails that I finally realized what hurt so much about his passing.
For starters, the one thing I read the most was the stories of fans who had met or talked to Evan along his many travels. I can honestly say that no fighter has ever gone to the level of fan appreciation that this man did. He would write back to everyone that he thought needed some help. And not with fortune cookie advice, but lengthy, kind, thought out letters. One fan emailed him and asked him to come along to an event, and he didn’t hesitate to go.
Part of the reason I found it so refreshing is that everyone always glorifies the combat “lifestyle” as one of fast women, fast cars, and exclusive after parties. Most are chasing after the millions, trying to get lucrative contracts and advertisers. Evan despised these things. He fought on principles that were his own. He believed and lived by the idea that one person could make a difference, and could change things.
I hope that the change that he sought was the notion of this fighter lifestyle; the intense greed, avarice, and egomania that is slowly infecting the sport. He sought to avoid it, and for that, I hope the legacy he leaves behind is one of humility, kindness, and sacrifice.
The one thing we’ve always believed in is our fans. Fightlinker has always lived by the rule that we would never allow ourselves to get so big we wouldn’t have time to talk one on one to the fans that wanted to connect. No matter how busy we get, there is no way we will forget that it’s the fans we owe everything to. Some fighters make us think that they haven’t forgotten either. Evan made us BELIEVE.
(Fightlinker’s note: thus concludes our ‘service’ for Evan Tanner. I want to thank everyone who stuck around all day remembering Evan and sharing their stories. Tomorrow, it’s back to talking about horse cocks.)