San Clemente, CA—September 8, 2008—The death of UFC fighter Evan Tanner, of Oceanside, California, has left the Driving Force Sports family heartbroken tonight.
News that the body of a man found in the desert of the Palo Verde Valley is that of Evan rippled through the fight community late Monday afternoon.
Lt. George Moreno of the Imperial County Sheriff’s Department has reported that Evan set out treasure hunting on Wednesday, September 3rd, asking friends to call for help if he didn’t return right away. Lt. Moreno says friends called the Sheriff’s Office on Friday, and search and rescue teams looked for him throughout the weekend in temperatures up to 114 degrees. Lt. Moreno says the U.S. Marines used a helicopter to search by air this morning, finally spotting a body two miles from the campground where Evan’s belongings were found earlier. While a coroner has yet to confirm the body is Evan’s, the owner at the management agency Driving Force Sports in San Clemente says people close to Evan visually identified his body at the scene.
“Evan was a dear friend to us and an important part of the DFS family,” says Driving Force Sports owner John Hayner. “He was so much more than a fighter. He was an individual we appreciated and cared a lot about. He marched to a drum only he could hear, and he was happy with that—so were we and so were his fans. He worked so hard to get fans more involved in the industry and be a part of his team. He was the kind of guy who kept on trying every day to improve…not just in fighting but in his life as a whole.”
Evan was born in Amarillo, Texas. He was a state wrestling champion before becoming an international mixed martial artist in 1997. He won a number of important professional fights, boasting a career record of 32 wins and 8 losses. He was a UFC Middleweight Champion and also won the USWF Heavyweight Title. Evan was also a long-time member of Team Quest in Gresham, Oregon. Last year, Evan signed a four-fight deal with the UFC, and announced that he would not accept any corporate sponsorship. The only sponsors he accepted were from his exclusive fan club, “Team Tanner.” Fans loved his personable myspace page where he posted honest updates on his fighting and his life. Evan, our friend, is loved and missed.
“Believe in yourself. Believe in your own potential for greatness. Believe that you can change the world. It is something that is within each of us.”
–Evan Michael Tanner 1971-2008