(“The picture above was taken at the end of a week and a half of hardcore Blackjack.” Ed. note: [*shakes head*])
Cue Debbie Downer. Evan Tanner posted another journal entry today about how he’s already lost all the money he earned from UFC 82, and is now completely broke. Like, broke to the point of digging through dirty laundry and storage boxes to find enough change to buy a can of off-brand tuna, which is all he’s been consisting on for days. Hungry, and without money to buy food. Like, homeless person broke. And why? Because he spent a week and a half in a casino trying to win enough cash to pay his bills and other debts, and ended up losing what little he actually had. And also? He’d do it all over again if he could.
The subtext here is that Evan Tanner has replaced the delusions and denials of an alcohol addiction for the delusions and denials of a gambling addiction, but I’m not sure if he’s made the connection yet. I’m tempted to just copy+paste his entire heartbreaking/infuriating story, but here’s the meat of it:
For those of you who don’t know, when a fighter competes in the UFC, the purse is usually broken into two equal parts. There is a guaranteed purse the fighter receives just for showing up, and then there is the bonus purse, the other half, the fighter receives if he wins the fight. I knew that if I won the fight, I would be able to get everyone paid back, pay off the invoices I owed for the Team Tanner gear, pay my web designer, and have enough left over to get me to my next fight. Well, as we all know, the fight didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I only got the guaranteed purse, minus the medicals and other deductions. Considering the amount of money I owed, this didn’t really leave me much money to work with.
What was most important to me, more important than my own comfort, was paying back the people that had helped me out, and paying off my obligations. It is nothing more than a man should do.
But then it hit me, the thought that I could take what I had left down to the casino, and that maybe, just maybe I would get lucky, and make enough money to pay the last of my bills. That’s what I did. I took my money down to the casino……And I did get lucky, lucky enough to think I was going to get it done. I played hard. I don’t do anything halfway. I put my time in. I was so deep into it that I lost reference. I went at is for a week and a half, staying up all night, playing blackjack for 24 hours straight sometimes, forgetting to eat, not wanting to sleep…
In the end, I lost not only what I had won, but the little bit I had started out with as well. So I spent a week and a half gambling, staying up all night, not eating, dealing with all of the emotional ups and down of winning and losing, and I don’t have much to show for it, except that now I’m broke, I’m feeling really worn out, I’m a little depressed, and my sleep scedule is backwards.
Now you may ask if I regret it, if I would do it differently if I could, if I would take it back. NOT A CHANCE!!!!! … I went for it. I put it all on the line. I always will. I knew what the consequences would be if I failed, and I was willing to accept them. So any of you reading who might be feeling a twinge of sympathy, don’t. I made my decisions, and I accept the consequences. I’m no victim. And to those who are thinking about preaching at me, don’t bother. I won’t hear you. I haven’t accomplished anything in this life worth remembering by playing it safe. That’s boring to me anyway.
Great accomplishment only comes with great risk. I’ll accept the crippling, gut wrenching disappointment of risking all, and failing, but only by putting my whole heart and soul, my whole being into something, will I have the chance to walk among the stars. Those who risk nothing, those who live their lives in fear, will never have that chance. Failure is not a sin. It’s being too afraid to even try, that is a sin.
…which I guess is a noble attitude, if we were talking about anything other than gambling in Vegas. Failure, according to my definition, is putting up your tuna money against the turn of a card, and for an addict, success means avoiding risky behavior altogether. Evan will undoubtedly relapse unless he gets into a program, with a sponsor, somewhere far away from his current situation. We hope he realizes that those who are “preaching” at him only want to save his life.