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Tanner, According to Those Who Knew Him Best

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grappler0000

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MMA will never have another Evan Tanner.

To chronicle his compelling life, Sherdog.com turned to some of the people who knew him best, including those who grew up with him and watched him wrestle in high school before he began his fight career inside a rowdy rodeo coliseum in Amarillo, Texas.

A Self-Taught Texan

Deana Epperson grew up across the street from Tanner in Amarillo and kept in touch with him throughout the years: He was a good kid. He really didn’t mess with anybody. He didn’t even wrestle -- he pole-vaulted in junior high. He didn’t even start wrestling until our sophomore year in high school, and we were a big school. We were 5A. By our junior and senior year, he was a back-to-back state champion in wrestling. Texas is no joke with wrestling and for him to have never wrestled till 10th grade and then been a state champion in 11th and 12th grade -- that’s just incredible.

He was such a renaissance man on the most basic level. He didn’t really like to admit this to people, but Evan had a photographic memory, and that’s how the big legend of Evan Tanner was true. He was a big wrestler in high school and he got the Gracie jiu-jitsu videos, and whatever he would watch somebody do, he could instantly put that into his repertoire. He was genetically gifted, he was amazingly smart, and he remembered everything he read and saw. That really explains how a guy who never really went to a dojo till he was 21 was able to do what he did.

He was the first one I ever saw grab wrists to reign down elbows. And later on I saw Tito Ortiz in the corner with one of his fighters yelling, “Tanner elbows! Tanner elbows!” That’s when you know you’re the s---, is when someone is referencing you when they’re cornering someone else.

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Post #1   9/10/08 9:46:17AM   

bullettdodger

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Good article, and props for the Av grap, love spreadage must occur

Post #2   9/10/08 11:00:16AM   

Jackelope

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For all his struggles, this is one of the main reasons why I respect the man-

"Part of the deal about going and doing these cleansing rituals was to get rid of these side effects. About two months before the Okami fight, he said, “Look, I have to get off this,” and he went cold turkey. He trained and trained. After he lost, he was just sitting there and said the hardest thing in his entire life that he ever had to do was that night after the fight, was not go back to the bottle. And he didn’t. "

Your average addict couldn't even come close to accomplishing this.

Post #3   9/10/08 11:13:14AM   

Porch28

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You know I am truly sad by his death. It just flat out sucks. Way to young RIP Evan you will be greatly missed and much remembered. Farewell my brother...

Post #4   9/10/08 9:18:53PM   

TimW001

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You know, I wasn't expecting to read the whole article, because I wasn't with MMA when he was the shit. But it jsut swept me up. What a fascinating man!

Post #5   9/10/08 11:36:27PM