May 15, 2007 – 10:34 am by fightlinker

Those who have been keeping up with Evan Tanner understand that he’s a few sides short of an octagon. Tanner left the UFC over a year ago in order to spend more time on Myspace and to grow what he hoped would become the world’s largest beard. Now he’s now apparently getting ready to stage his return. No word yet on if he’ll keep the beard, but I hope so. Also no word yet on if he’ll be the same Evan Tanner of the past who crushed people’s skulls and drank the delicious goo held within. A lot of his myspace blogs have a bunch of spiritual hippy shit about turning the other cheek and respecting your fellow man. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see if our man has gone soft, or if he’ll fight like the bearded stallion he is!

Evan Tanner died of exposure sometime between Wednesday and Monday in the Palo Verde mountains. His motorcycle ran out of gas and he tried to walk back to civilization. Somewhere between his camp and his goal, he died of exposure.

We joked about Evan dying in the desert. We even attempted to get odds on his chances of perishing out there. This wasn’t the first time we had talked about stuff like this. I dont think a month would go by without Evan brushing past death, via sinking boat or rolling jeep or motorcycle accident. I’m not sure if the guy had a death wish … he certainly seemed to recognize the risks of what he was up to before and after he took them. But time after time nothing happened other than another blog and another adventure. “The Adventures of Evan Tanner” were a popular feature around here.

I met Evan Tanner last month at a Freedom Fight event in Ottawa, Canada. He had come up to corner a friend, and I did some cornering of my own to get a quick snippit of an interview. One thing I realized about Evan that night is that while he loved his fans, he seemed to have a hard time dealing with their attention. After about 30 minutes of constant bombardment at ringside, Evan retreated into the back area of the arena, hiding from everyone. I spent about an hour near the end of the event recharging batteries in the hallway by the locker rooms. Evan was there too, wandering back and forth alone, occasionally posing for photos.

Evan Tanner was a drunk and an alcoholic. Many of the pseudo-obituaries on other pages have decided to ignore this fact, but I’m including it because I think it’s probably one of the most defining characteristics of his personality. For the two years he spent away from the UFC he drank himself nearly to death. Then he came to the point where a decision had to be made, and he chose life. He chose a day to stop drinking, and he did it: he stopped drinking. He worked towards returning to the UFC and he did it. He returned to the UFC. Even through his losses I found inspiration, because Evan had gone as far down the path of self-destruction as one can, and had made it back to tell the tale. Those who ignore that facet of Evan’s existence for reasons of political correctness are in the wrong. We don’t care about Evan Tanner in spite of his shortcomings. We cared about him because of his shortcomings.

I would never try to pretend that I have gone through even a fraction of the alcoholism that Evan has put himself through, but I have dealt with issues of my own surrounding drinking. When you feel like you can’t function around other people without a few drinks in you, you begin to realize that alcohol is a crutch. But you just don’t care so long as it lubricates social situations to the point where dealing with people doesn’t feel painful and awkward despite your best efforts. That’s always been my issue, and I saw a slight reflection of myself in Evan Tanner as he paced around in the back areas of Freedom Fight.

I have no easy way to end this post. Evan Tanner died a meaningless death in the desert. He went out there for no better reason than any of his other fucking adventures. Waxing poetic, you could surmise that he went out there to find something that would help fill the void left by his drinking. Or fill the void that he drank to forget about. Whatever reason was behind his trip, the thing he found was death. And now we’re left with nothing more with our memories of him and more importantly what he meant to us. For some of you, that’s ‘nothing’. For me, it’s a bit more than I’m comfortable admitting.

Today we’ll be reposting all of the blogs we’ve written about Evan. The good, the bad, the stupid. I hope you’ll take the time to read through these posts and links to get to know the Evan that we here at Fightlinker cared about. He was by no means perfect. He was a drunk. He was an asshole. And he regularly fucked up. But we cared deeply about him none the less. In fact, I’d say we cared about him more than any other fighter out there. Because Evan Tanner was a guy who was just as flawed as we are, and he wasn’t afraid to admit it.

Details here. He died in the desert.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we’ll cover this in more detail.

Evan Tanner was one of Fightlinker’s favorite individuals. We met Evan last month while in Ottawa. Even though this was the only time I ever met him, I felt like I knew him through his blog posts.

This sucks more than I can express right now.

How gay is it that one of it’s top stars needs to fight on American Gladiators to make more coin? Lameness. But I will admit, it is kinda fun watching Gina Carano beat the crap out of ‘athletes’. Here’s a highlight of her in action. Best part at 1:55 where she literally knocks someone out with a giant q-tip. But no footage of her owning that grandma.

MMAWeekly has an interesting interview with Rashad Evans where Rashad talks strategy and reveals amongst other things that he and his camp lied to everyone about their strategy (how about that, Polly!). The ‘takedown strategy’ was a red herring, and the real plan was all about waiting for Chuck to drop his defenses and then to capitalize.

Liddell disengaged, realizing Evans could push back, though it didn’t stop him from trying to cut off the cage again. By this time, Evans had seen first hand what Jardine had been trying to tell him all along.

“Keith said ‘you’re gonna get his timing, and there’s a point when you’re going to see em’ coming,’” Evans said. “‘When you see it coming, get off first—don’t sit there and wait.’ And that’s what I did. As soon as he had me against the fence, you can always tell when he’s coming, so as soon as I see him make that face, I just tried to bust off first.”

And he did, uncorking a right hand that brought Liddell’s motor functions to a screeching halt. Despite Evans’ reputation as a workman in the cage, he had delivered another piece of fight footage that will forever play in the UFC’s video library.

It’s an interesting theory: stay back, get a feeling for Chuck’s timing, and then move in for the kill. People have known for a while that Chuck’s an excellent counter-puncher and he does better against guys who try to take the fight to him. Now we’ve seen that fact turned into a working strategy to beat him.

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