Evan Tanner has left this world a little less interesting.
The world has lost one of it’s most interesting characters.
The news spread all over the Internet yesterday that former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner is dead.
Evan had apparently gone out deep into the California desert looking for adventure and perished when he ran out of gas and water.
For any normal person the thought of traveling alone into the middle of the savage environment of Death Valley seems insane, but when I heard that’s what Evan Tanner was planning it made perfect sense.
Evan was a lot more than a “normal” person. He was a fascinating individual – a wandering spirit in search of adventure in the truest sense of the term.
I was a regular reader of Evan’s blog, and although I had always appreciated him as a fighter and a friendly person to talk to, it was in reading his writings that I came to better understand his spirit.
He would write with painful honesty and admirable vision about every aspect of his journey through this life, and when I would read his words I would always get food for thought.
Sometimes when I write, it’s like I’m reaching out to an old friend without a name or a face. I think of it as some new form of non-physical intimacy.
I’m trying to find my consciousness and merge it with yours, and as weird as it sounds I feel that connection with every myspace message and email I get.
We’re both alone and interfaced with a monitor in silence, and as I craft my sentences and express my ideas my intention is always for you to get an unfiltered view into my thoughts. I want you to take them with you.
I’m opening my head to merge my thoughts with you, and the only way that really works is if I’m 100% honest.
Reading Evan Tanner’s blog has on many occasions inspired me into that conclusion.
His blog was a porthole into the window of his soul, and reading his brave, uncensored thoughts gave me an invigorated sense of purpose to do the same.
Evan’s take on life was like that of a character in an adventure novel, and his thirst for experience was actually what lead him into fighting in the first place.
I can remember the first time I watched him fight, when I read that he learned his techniques from a video tape and was self trained. I thought that it takes a really unusual person to enter into the toughest sport in the world that way. He took that unusual energy and channeled it to become the UFC middleweight champion of the world.
He was that, and more.
This is an excerpt of one of his last blog entries where he was detailing the upcoming trip that would cost him his life:
“Treasure hunting in the desert.
It’s Saturday night. I’m not out on the town socializing, not hanging out with friends, not chillin, watchin movies. I’m sitting on my couch beside a stack of books, listening to some Eddie Vedder, reading about the Southern California desert.
I’m hoping that very soon I’ll be sitting out in the quiet of the desert beneath a deep blue midnight sky, listening to the calm desert breeze. The idea going into the desert came to me soon after I moved to Oceanside. It was motivated by my friend Sara’s talk of treasure hunting and lost gold, and my own insatiable appetite for adventure and exploration. I began to imagine what might be found in the deep reaches of the untracked desert. It became an obsession of sorts.
“Treasure” doesn’t necessarily refer to something material.
Today, I ran to the store to pick up a few things, and with the lonesome, quiet desert thoughts on my mind, I couldn’t help but be struck with their brutally stark contrast to my current surroundings, the amazing congestion in which we exist day to day. The landscape as far as I could see, crowded, choked, with me and the rest of the species, an almost writhing mass of organisms, fighting over space and resources,….on the highways, in the parking lots, on the sidewalks, and in the ailse of the stores. 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.
I’ve been gathering my gear for this adventure for over a month, not a long time by most standards, but far too long for my impatient nature. Being a minimalist by nature, wanting to carry only the essentials, and being extremely particular, it has been a little difficult to find just the right equipment. I plan on going so deep into the desert, that any failure of my equipment, could cost me my life. I’ve been doing a great deal of research and study. I want to know all I can about where I’m going, and I want to make sure I have the best equipment.
One more week. I think one more week, and I’ll be ready to go…”
Evan Tanner has left the rest of us trapped in this life and has moved on to the next stage of existence where he will undoubtedly find adventure beyond his wildest imagination.
In doing so he has left the world a little less interesting.