Evan Tanner was not your typical mixed martial artist. Unlike other premier fighters who most often spent their entire childhood and teenage years honing their fighting craft, Tanner taught himself the ways of mixed martial arts when he first entered the sport. While he had a background in wrestling, he primarily learned about mixed martial arts by watching instructional videos.
Evan Loyd Tanner was born on February 11, 1971 in Amarillo, Texas. He went to Caprock High School where he joined the wrestling team during his sophomore year and won the state championship during his junior and senior years. He then went to enroll at Simpson College but dropped out when he was 19 and travelled around the country working various jobs.
After taking some time off to explore the country, he enrolled at the University of Oklahoma for one semester before returning to Amarillo. During his return, he joined a local mixed martial arts tournament which eventually jumpstarted his professional mixed martial arts career.
Tanner trained with Hard Knocks Kickboxing and became a professional in mixed martial arts in 1997. His MMA career came to an unexpected halt when he was found dead near Palo Verde, California on the 5th of September 2008. The cause of death was heatstroke. He visited the place for a desert adventure - he wanted to go camping, shooting, and motorcycle riding.
He was a former champion in the middleweight division while signed under Ultimate Fighting Championship. He was also a one-time heavyweight champion under the Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation, where Tanner defended this title five times. Furthermore, he was known as the first-ever American to win the Pancare Neo-Blood tournament.