Former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner has been found dead in the Palo Verde mountain area of the southern California desert. The news was confirmed with Tanner’s manager, John Hayner, who said he learned just an hour ago that the body found was indeed Tanner. He was thirty-seven years old.
“He was in a real positive state of mind, he wasn’t having any drinking problems or any of those types of problems. He was really feeling good about his life,” Hayner told CagePotato.com.
Hayner said that Tanner had gone into the desert on a motorcycle expedition and had run out of gas. Tanner was attempting to walk out of the desert, Hayner said, but apparently didn’t realize how far away from civilization he was and died of exposure in the triple-digit heat. Tanner’s empty campsite was spotted Sunday, and an aerial search located his body earlier this afternoon.
A post written by Tanner on his Spike TV blog told of his planning for the trip, and emphasized his desire to bring only essentials in his escape to the solitude of the desert:
I’ve been gathering my gear for this adventure for over a month, not a long time by most standards, but far too long for my impatient nature. Being a minimalist by nature, wanting to carry only the essentials, and being extremely particular, it has been a little difficult to find just the right equipment. I plan on going so deep into the desert, that any failure of my equipment, could cost me my life. I’ve been doing a great deal of research and study. I want to know all I can about where I’m going, and I want to make sure I have the best equipment.
Hayner told of a man who “marched to a beat only he could hear,” but maintained a positive outlook on life.
“Here was a famous UFC fighter who didn’t have enough food to eat at times. I’d call him just to make sure he had food in his fridge, but he never let it get him down. Starting over was kind of a theme in his life. He hardly ever lived in the same place more than six months,” Hayner said. “He moved out to Vegas and then found it too shallow for him, so he moved out to Oceanside and had a great place, he was learning to surf, and he was really enjoying his day-to-day life.”