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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas

Famous People from Potter County Texas
Evan Tanner
Evan Tanner MMA Fighter
Evan Tanner was born in Amarillo, Texas February 11, 1971. He graduated from Caprock High School in 1989 where he won the Texas State Championships in wrestling as a junior and senior despite only entering the sport in his second year of high school. After high school he traveled the country working various jobs as a bouncer, a cable television contractor, a framer building beach houses, a dishwasher, a baker, a ditch digger, and slaughterhouse worker. Before returning to Amarillo where he entered a local mixed martial arts tournament. What he thought would be an isolated event served as a springboard to a professional career that would lead his becoming UFC Middleweight Champion

Tanner is considered to be somewhat of an anomaly in MMA as he began his professional career with a large degree of success despite primarily learning the sport via instructional videotape. He is considered to be a pioneer in the sport of MMA and is credited as being one of the first fighters to use elbows as an effective striking method in the ground and pound position. He was the first American to win the Pancrase Neo-Blood tournament in Tokyo, Japan.

In 2008, the MMA world was rocked with word that former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion, Evan Tanner, had died in the California desert. Tanner was coming off a loss to Kendal Grove at the Ultimate Fighter 7 finale, and he wanted to find himself alone in the desert.

Tanner had recently purchased a dirt bike, and on September 3, 2008 he rode into the desert region west of Palo Verde, California to go camping. According to Tanner's manager John Hayner, Tanner called that afternoon to say that his bike had run out of gas, and that he would walk back to his camp. Temperatures that day reached 118 F, and friends became concerned and reported Tanner missing after he failed to contact them. His body was discovered by a Marine helicopter on September 8, 2008.

The coroner determined Tanner's time of death to be sometime between late September 4 and early September 5, but the legal date of death was recorded as September 8, 2008. Tanner's body was found near Clapp Spring with empty water bottles. Tanner had reportedly intended to refill his bottles at the spring before heading back to the provisions at his campsite, but the spring was unexpectedly dry, and Tanner text messaged a friend informing him of this. However, Evan felt he could make it back to camp if he traveled during the later hours of the evening, refusing offers at that time to send help. Friends were told that if they had not heard from Evan by the next morning and could not reach him by 8 am, they then needed to contact Search and Rescue.

Rescuers found Evan at a spot where he stopped to rest. During that rest, he succumbed to the excessive heat, slipping over onto his side into the position that rescuers found him in. An empty water pouch was nearby. The Imperial County sheriff's office official cause of death was cited as heat exposure.
 
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