MMA Fighter Challenges People to Punch Him in the Face, Everyone Fails

Tag: Evan Tanner

Sad Video of the Day: ‘The Truth Behind Evan Tanner’s Death’


(Props: Bobby Razak)

Never take for granted anything in life. Never underestimate the surroundings you’re in, be it the city, the mountains, the desert. Once you do, that’s when it comes to say hello to you.” — Charles Lucas, Supervising Deputy Coroner of Imperial County

In advance of a feature-length film about Evan Tanner called 1, MMA filmmaker Bobby Razak has released a 20-minute documentary about the former UFC middleweight champion’s tragic 2008 death from heat exposure, which occurred during a doomed solo adventure in the desert near Palo Verde, California. Through interviews with the coroners and rescue personnel who were directly involved with the case, “The Truth Behind Evan Tanner’s Death” describes the brutal circumstances surrounding Tanner’s last days, and what might have saved his life. It also clears up the theories that the death was a suicide (as some scholars have suggested) or that the famously-troubled Tanner had relapsed on alcohol. And contrary to initial reports, Tanner’s death apparently had nothing to do with his motorcycle running out of gas.

Watching this documentary five years after Tanner’s passing is like ripping open an old wound. Some of it is genuinely hard to watch, and credit goes to Bobby Razak for his ability to take viewers into the hostile environment that killed Tanner, and convey his mounting desperation. If you’d like to donate some cash to help Razak complete the full-length movie, visit the Evan Tanner Film Indiegogo page.

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MMA Trainer Firas Zahabi Launches FundAFighter to Put Sponsorship in the Hands of the Fans


(There’s always a Diaz fan in the crowd…)

By Jason Moles

We’ve seen as many MMA sponsors come and go over the last few years as we have fighters themselves, and with a few notable exceptions, they haven’t had much, if any, impact on the sport. That’s all about to change with the launch of FundAFighter.com, which helps fighters raise money to cover the costs of their training camps, travel, nutrition, or other MMA-related projects.

Developed by Tristar Gym‘s Firas Zahabi, the new site supports fighters in the planning and execution of “crowdfunding” campaigns in which they solicit donations directly from their fans in exchange for unique incentives like event tickets, autographs, fight-worn gear, or whatever rewards they are willing to give their backers. Oh, and did we mention that CagePotato veteran Mike Russell is handling PR for FundAFighter?

If the concept sounds vaguely familiar, there’s a reason for that — and it’s not just because crowdfunding is how we got Karmaatemycat to the TUF 14 tryouts last year. From the press release:

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4th of July Quiz: Who Said It, Founding Father or MMA Fighter?


(So I sez to da brod, “I want to f*ck Chuck!“)

By Jason Moles

Happy Independence Day, Potato Nation! In honor of today’s festivities we figured it was time once again to switch things up around here. For starters, we’re not going to tell you that the fight you were looking forward to has been rescheduled/tweaked/cancelled due to injury, nor will we bog you down with the latest trash talk between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen. Instead, let’s play a patriotic game. We’ll give you a list of quotes and then you decide who said it, either a founding father or a famous (and I’m using that word lightly) MMA fighter. The answer key is on the next page. Let’s begin!

1. “Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.” Was this A.) Diego Sanchez or B.) Ben Franklin

2. “I let go of the disappointments and setbacks in my life and hang on to the promises of God for my future.” Was this A.) Phil Baroni or B.) John Adams

3. “And to think, there are still places in the world where man has not been, where he has left no footprints, where the mysteries stand secure, untouched by human eyes. I want to go to these places, the quiet, timeless, ageless places, and sit, letting silence and solitude be my teachers.” Was this A.) Evan Tanner or B.) Thomas Jefferson

4. “I have not yet begun to fight!” Was this A.) Jon Jones or B.) John Paul Jones

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On This Day in MMA History: Zuffa Promotes First UFC Event, Pulver Becomes a UFC Champ and Tito Gets the Only KO of His Career


(Damn, graphic design has come a long way in 11 years.)

On this day in MMA history 11 years ago, Zuffa LLC, the Las Vegas-based owners of the UFC took its newly-purchased traveling spectacle on the road for the first time to Atlantic City for UFC 30: Battle on the Boardwalk. The card featured five of the promotion’s present and future titleholders and was one of the better events in recent UFC history (at the time).

The main event of the night featured a middleweight (which would be later named the light-heavyweight division) championship bout between then-champ Tito Ortiz and the late Evan Tanner. Unfortunately for fans who were expecting a drag-out war between the pair, the fighter formerly known as “The Huntington Beach Badboy” had other plans. After a brief feeling out process, Ortiz scooped Tanner up, slamming the Team Quest fighter on his back and knocking him unconscious, adding a couple of stiff punches on the ground for good measure. The knockout would stand as the only one of Ortiz’s career.

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SCC 4 Quick Results: Grove Goes to Sleep, Gunderson and Yager Pick Up Wins


(*Hello darkness, my old friend*…just to be clear, we’re referring to the darkness that accompanies being choked unconscious, not Jay Silva.)

To say that Kendall Grove has seen some ups and downs in his MMA career since winning the third season of The Ultimate Fighter would be an understatement. After defeating Ed Herman by ultra close unanimous decision to earn the coveted glass plaque, Grove would tack up two more submission wins over Chris Price and Alan Belcher. It seemed as if the lanky middleweight had the world in the palm of his hand, destined to follow Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans as the new breed of MMA stars to make their name off the show.

And then it all fell apart.

Grove would drop his next two via form of KO to Patrick Cote and Jorge Rivera, and though he would follow up the pair of losses with victories over Evan Tanner (R.I.P.) and Jason Day, we would never see Grove rise above the rank of gatekeeper in his UFC run. He would go 2-4 in his next six, and would be ousted from the UFC after dropping a UD to Tim Boetsch at UFC 130 in Boetsch’s middleweight debut.

After scoring a quick submission win and evening the score with Joe Riggs, Grove out grappled Japanese sensation Ikuhisa Minowa at a Pro Elite event last month that we here at CP gave an official score of “meh.” Would last night’s SCC 4 card house “Da Spyda’s” first three fight win streak since 2007?

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Dead MMA Fighter of the Month: Justin Levens


(Photo via the Justin Levens Remembrance Album on CombatLifestyle.com / Props to Deadspin‘s brilliant “Dead Wrestler of the Week” feature for the inspiration.)

By Ben Goldstein

All murder-suicides are shocking. Not all of them are entirely surprising.

On December 17th, 2008, UFC/WEC veteran Justin Levens and his wife Sara McLean-Levens were found dead inside their condominium in Laguna Niguel, California, both from gunshot wounds. Initial evidence suggested that Justin was the shooter. “It was a chest wound that penetrated her heart and killed her, and his was to the head,” said O. C. Sheriff Coroner’s Office spokesman Jim Amormino.

Amormino confirmed that painkillers and anti-depressants were discovered in the Levens’s home, along with the handgun Justin allegedly used to end their lives. Police had visited Justin and Sara at least twice in the previous month, once to investigate a possible drug overdose.

At the time of his death, Justin Levens was 28 years old and hadn’t won an MMA match in over two years. He’d gone 0-5 in 2007 — an agonizing year in which his close friend and IFL teammate Jeremy Williams committed suicide, also by shooting himself — and was dealt a six-month suspension by the California State Athletic Commission in July 2008 when a pre-fight drug test came back off-the-charts for the painkiller Oxymorphone. For the last five months of his life, Levens was unable to earn a living as a fighter, and fell deeper into a spiral of depression and prescription drug use.

Justin didn’t leave a suicide note. There were no signs of a struggle. He and Sara had already been dead for four days when their bodies were discovered.

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Movember Gallery: The Greatest Facial Hair in MMA History


(You can make fun of your opponent’s voice, and you can trash his fighting style. But mock a man’s sideburns, and you’re asking for the worst beating of your life.)

Start sharpening your razors, folks: We’re just eight days away from the official start of Movember! To help get you in the moustache-growing spirit, we’ve put together a photo gallery of our favorite facial hair arrangements in MMA history, which you can check out after the jump.

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On This Day in MMA History – September 8, 2008: Evan Tanner Found Dead in Southern California Desert

It really doesn’t seem like it’s been three years since the news of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner’s sudden and tragic passing while out on a solo camping excursion to the desert west of Palo Verde, California sent shockwaves through the MMA community.

Tanner, who was open about his fights with alcohol abuse and his personal demons is said to have called his manager, John Hayner to let him know that his dirt bike had run out of gas a few miles from his camp and that his trip was going well besides the mishap. When he failed to answer calls from friends the next day, police were dispatched and after a brief aerial search, located Tanner’s camp and his remains a few miles away from his abandoned motorcycle.

Hayner told us at the time that the troubled 37-year-old had turned his life around thanks to a move to Oceanside and the rebirth of his career in the UFC where he recently re-signed. Tanner was hoping that the desert trip, which he planned for months and did hours of research for, would leave him feeling rejuvenated and ready to build on the mistakes he made in his last bout — a hard-fought split-decision loss to Kendall Grove at the TUF 7 finale that June.

“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. 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.”

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On This Day in MMA History…June 21


(RIP Evan Tanner.)

Well, it wasn’t the most MMA history-steeped day, but there were a few noteworthy events that took place on this day in MMA.

The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale went down 3 years ago.

Evan Tanner Post Fight Interview
Tags: Evan Tanner Post Fight Interview

Why it Matters:

The event marked the final fight of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner before his untimely death in the Paolo Verde, California desert. In spite of a close split-decision loss to Kendall Grove on the card, Tanner would give perhaps his last and most harrowing interview that provided an eerie foreboding soundbite that fans will forever make wonder if it was in reference to his career or his troubled life. “I’m feeling off, flat, can’t move. Maybe it’s…you know…Maybe my day is done.”

The event also saw the first TUF winner with no professional fighting experience crowned. Amir Sadollah, who has since racked up a respectable 5-2 record in the Octagon defeated the more seasoned former Arizona State wrestling standout CB Dollaway by first round submission.

One of the night’s winners, Diego Sanchez, would make an ill-fated decision he may now regret in retrospective. Following his win over Luigi Florvanti, Diego announced that he would be dropping to light weight to take a run at a title in the lighter class. After racking up a pair of wins over Joe Stevenson and CLay Guida, “The Nightmare,” as he was known back then, lost via decisive fifth-round TKO stoppage to then-lightweight champion BJ Penn at UFC 107. After a one-year stint as a lightweight, the TUF 1 middleweight winner decided to move back up to welterweight where he has since compiled a 2-1 record with a loss to John Hathaway and a pair of wins over Martin Kampmann and Paulo Thiago.

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Memorial Day: Five Fallen UFC Heroes to Commemorate This Weekend


(Let me guess — ‘27 Dresses‘ was on TBS again.)

We’re just moments away from the official start of Memorial Day weekend, a sacred American tradition in which people across the country drink beer at backyard barbecues in honor of the brave men and women who have given their lives defending this country. While you’re giving it up for the military, please take some time to consider those who have passed on in the UFC. And don’t forget to come back to CagePotato.com tomorrow night for our liveblog of UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill

EVAN TANNER

A one-time middleweight champion of the UFC, Evan Tanner struggled with addiction and financial problems during the later part of his career. Tanner got sober in 2008, but died just a few months later during a fateful adventure in the Southern California desert. And though he didn’t always treat himself kindly, Evan left behind a legion of fans and friends who revered him for his generosity and positive attitude — much like TapouT founder Charles “Mask” Lewis, who also happened to be fond of the word ‘Believe.’

LOGAN STANTON AND NATASHA WICKS
Logan Stanton Natasha Wicks UFC ring girls photos

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