Tanner, According to Those Who Knew Him Best
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.
Evan Tanner Death Confirmed in California
Update 9:28 PM ET: MMA on Tap has been able to confirm through members of Tanner’s camp that the body found in Palo Verde mountain area was indeed that of Evan Tanner. No other details are available at this time and Tanner’s camp has asked that everyone please respect the wishes of his family at this time. Everyone here at MMA on Tap would like to send our condolences to Tanner’s family and friends.
Im pretty speechless, but i will say that ever since i started watching MMA (2005) i have had the utmost respect for this guy. I remember when i first heard that he taught himself jiu-jitsu just by watching tutorial tapes, then he became the champion! Tanner was always a warrior and my heart goes out to his family.
Rich Franklin talks win and weight class
It wasn’t an easy job, but former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin got it done, stopping former training partner Matt Hamill with a liver kick in the final round of their UFC 88 fight in Atlanta. The onslaught of takedowns Franklin and many pundits expected never came, and as the fight wore on, his kicks made sure of that. His lone stay on the mat was short lived.
“I just put myself in the mindset that if I ended up on my back I was comfortable there anyway, it didn’t matter to me,” he said. “I assumed that he would probably have several shot attempts that I just wouldn’t be able to defend, because he’s such high caliber wrestler.
Rich franklin talks about mashida later on in the interview. Very good point he makes about having a history of bad luck vs "south paws from chute box"
he is a cool guy. i love that he can joke
oh my sorry i guess i got caught up in the moment
Liddells Top 8 Moments
Zuffa brings its beloved big top to Atlanta on Saturday night for UFC 88. As good hosts, Dana White and Co. are putting their best foot forward in Georgia with an end-to-end burner of a fight card, suitably topped off with MMA's foremost rockstar, Chuck Liddell (Pictures).
In a main event some five months in the making, Liddell, now with full hamstring capabilities, meets the undefeated Rashad Evans (Pictures). For the 38-year-old Liddell, the fight is a must-win to secure a December mega-fight with UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin (Pictures) and to have one last crack at solidifying his resume as the sport's greatest light heavyweight.
On the cusp of boom-or-bust for MMA's favorite San Luis Obispan, here are eight of the finest episodes from "The Iceman." And in the interest of class, only one reference to “Good Morning Texas.”
Please no liddell haters right now
UFC will wait for fedor
UFC President Dana White confidently laid out his organization’s plan to acquire the services of Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) for a future matchup with recently returned heavyweight champion Randy Couture (Pictures).
The promotion will simply wait, he said during a conference call Tuesday.
Don Frye undeterred by loss, looking to continue fighting career
Although approaching 43 years old, UFC, PRIDE and K-1 veteran Don Frye (19-7-1) continues to ply his trade in the MMA business. However a recent submission loss to Ikuhisa Minowa (40-28-8) has caused many to question the aging veteran's fighting future.
Frye recently joined TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) to discuss his disappointing loss, and he spoke candidly about his desire to continue to fight despite approaching an age where most choose to retire.
"I didn't show up to fight," Frye admitted. "I showed up to just drink beer and ended up looking at the lights at the top of the ceiling. He opened up a can of whoop-ass I couldn't close.
"Like a dumbass I thought I could go out and charm my way to a victory because I was Don Frye. Unfortunately he didn’t find me charming."
Any time a fighter of Frye's age experiences defeat, questions are immediately raised about their thirst for competition.
Brock Lesnar's Wrestling Coach Goes Full Time
Minnesota assistant wrestling coach Marty Morgan is leaving the program, to focus full time on former Gophers star Brock Lesnar's fledgling fighting career.
Lesnar is on the rise in the Ultimate Fighting Championship ranks. He was once an NCAA champion heavyweight at the school.
Morgan spent 16 years coaching at Minnesota after wrestling for the school himself. He says he will take the next year to concentrate on helping Lesnar train in the field of mixed martial arts before evaluating his career then.
To what extent Morgan understands the specificities of the MMA game is an open question, but adding his knowledge and oversight to the existing squad at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy can only be a good thing. And while Lesnar is a self motivated fighter, having someone on the coaching staff who knows Brock Lesnar is a major plus for the budding heavyweight.
This is also a demonstration that MMA is offering financial opportunities beyond the wrestling mat...even to wrestlers who don't fight. Lesnar is a bit of an aberrant case, but his participation in the sport could be the tide that helps lift all boats.
DynaPep Signs Ultimate Fighter Rashad Evans as Spokesman
DynaPep™ announced today that they have officially signed Ultimate Fighter Rashad Evans as their National Spokesman.
DynaPep™ is the World's First Supercharged energy micro-shot, manufactured and distributed by Intocell Inc www.dynapep.com . DynaPep™ will be using Evans in their National marketing campaign. Look to see Rashad online plugging DynaPep™ as well as in print and radio ads.
"I am thrilled to be the DynaPep™ spokesman" said Evans, "I am looking forward to building the DynaPep brand and being part of the championship team they have assembled."
Rashad Evans was born September 25th 1979 in Niagara Falls, New York. Evans is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter currently signed to the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). He now trains out of Albuquerque, New Mexico with Jackson's Submission Fighting. Evans won the heavyweight division of The Ultimate Fighter 2. He holds notable wins over Hector Ramirez, Brad Imes, Sam Hoger, Stephan Bonnar, Jason Lambert, Sean Salmon, Michael Bisping and went to a draw against former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz.
Rashad is fighting former UFC champion Chuck Liddell in Atlanta on September 6th. DynaPep will be Hosting the after party at Club Pure 2793 Clairmont Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329877.850.7673404.
DynaPep™ "The World's First Supercharged Energy Micro-shot is packaged in a liquid 4ml twist off top ampoule. Its time released suspension ensures hours of long lasting energy. "All active ingredients in DynaPep™ are derived from natural sources" Comments Paul Edelman, President and co-founder of Intocell and DynaPep™.
Sources: Couture versus Emelianenko targeted for early 2009
The long-rumored heavyweight superfight between UFC champion Randy Couture (16-8 MMA, 8-5 UFC) and WAMMA champion Fedor Emelianenko (28-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is currently being discussed for an as-yet-unspecified date in January or February of 2009.
Sources inside Couture's Xtreme Couture camp today informed MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of the ongoing negotiations between the UFC and both fighters.
The fight is far from a done deal. Many of the same issues that prevented Emelianenko from signing with the UFC during previous negotiations must still be ironed out. But it appears that the UFC and representatives for both Couture and Emelianenko are working towards bringing the two legends together for a Feb. 2 bout.
Glover Teixera Next Fight To Be In UFC...
Glover Teixera recently (5-2) recently appeared on an episode of tapout featuring his quick KO victory of Jorge Oliveria.
Glover Teixera is best remembered for KO's Soko in the WEC, and as Chuck Liddels longtime training partner.
Glover Teixera was rumored to appear on the UFC's next installment of the Ultimate Fighter, but it looks as if he will be skipping that route, signing a contract with the UFC...
New Interview from Matt Hamill!!!
Check out the latest Interviews by Penny Buffington on
Here is part of the interview from Matt Hamill:
“Yes. He is a really good friend of mine. I helped him with wrestling takedowns. Rich and I we grew up together. We were raised and born in Cincinnati, Ohio. One day he asked me. He wanted some help with his takedowns so I just helped him out with takedowns and we’re still friends. No matter what, inside the ring or outside the ring. We leave friendship at the door. We two are professionals. I know it’s sad. It’s like fighting my brother but I have to do this. I fight for my daughter. I’m getting my name out there. I know he has more experience then I have. I’m inexperienced. My record is 6 and 1 and his record is 25 and 3. So that could be a stepping stone for me. He is a former World Champion that’s got me more motivated. I want to show what I got. I’m getting better every time I fight. So don’t miss my fight Sept 6th because I’m ready!” - Matt Hamill
Get the full interview on
Wow I never knew they were close friends and grew up together...
Dana White Open To Bringing Tito Ortiz Back To UFC
UFC president Dana White and Tito Ortiz have had a very public very intense battle of words in which they have both personally attacked one another. At one point Ortiz stated that he would never fight for the UFC again; however, that statement was made before Ortiz spoke with other organizations about fighting outside of the UFC. He has yet to sign with any of them and now appears to be negotiating with the UFC again.
"As part of his contract, he goes out and ... I don't know, something to do with his contract, but he's still got his foot in the door with his contract," White told USA Today. "As part of our business practice in this crazy world these days, we — let me think how I can word this to you. I always say, we make this thing look a lot easier than it really is, and we're definitely not going to make it easy for anybody else. We're going to make things tough for other people."
White went on to confirm that the UFC has negotiating rights with Ortiz which would make it difficult for other organizations to sign him.
"Yup, and I'm going take them."
Despite what's been said, White feels that the two can work together professionally, even if they don't see eye to eye personally.
"Listen, me and Tito didn't say anything worse than what we said before he came back and became a coach on The Ultimate Fighter. Tito and I do not like each other. We do not. It's 100% real, we don't like each other at all, but it doesn't mean we haven't done business together before."
Pellegrino fighting for his life at UFC 88
Pellegrino is opening a new Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school in Belmar, N.J. But if his fight career ends anytime soon and his business fails, Pellegrino doesn't know how he and his family would survive. He can barely read and write, and said his math skills are at a third grade level. He's a product of the wonderful school system in Point Pleasant, N.J. where he was moved along and allowed to graduate because he was a phenomenomal athlete (two-time runner-up in the N.J. state high school wrestling championships).
MATT HUGHES ON THE MEND, SURGERY NOT LIKELY
Matt Hughes on Tuesday provided an update on the status of his knee injury via his personal blog. The outlook for the multi-time UFC welterweight champion is promising. It appears he may not need surgery.
“Last Wednesday, I went in for my second MRI and also a stress x-ray. It all came back very positive and looks as though I will not need surgery,” wrote Hughes.
“I still have to go back for my three-month check-up to find out more; but as of right now I can do more and start exercising a little bit.”
Hughes sustained the injury in a non-title fight against Thiago Silva at UFC 85 on June 7 in London. In a blog entry written shortly after the fight, Hughes confirmed that he had partially torn the ACL ligament in his knee.
There is hope that he will be healed up for a fight with Matt Serra in early 2009, possibly as soon as January or February.
Mickey's signs Tito Ortiz, set to release limited-edition cans
Despite being a free agent with no MMA home of which to speak, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz remains a popular pick with sponsors.
In fact, Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor has signed Ortiz to a sponsorship deal, and this week, the company will roll out commemorative Mickey's cans that feature Ortiz's likeness.
Mickey's has provided MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) an exclusive first look at the cans.
"Tito is one of the most talented and popular athletes in the world of mixed martial arts, and Mickey's is thrilled to bring the partnership to life for our fans with this limited-edition can," Mickey's Brand Manager Mike Davitt stated. "Many people have wanted to get their hands on Tito over the years. Well, this is their chance."
Financial terms of the sponsorship deal were not revealed.
"Can" jokes aside, Ortiz (15-6-1) remains one of the sport's most recognizable stars and one of the very top pay-per-view draws in MMA history. However, he's winless in his past three fights, and despite announcing he agreed to a "record-breaking" contract with Affliction earlier this month, Ortiz currently remains a free agent.
The Ortiz cans hit stores this week and will be available through the end of the year.
Quinton Jackson Charged With Two Felonies
The Orange County District Attorney’s office has formally charged former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for a July 15 hit-and-run melee that landed the popular fighter in jail.
In a press release issued on Monday, Jackson is accused of sideswiping two cars and subsequently fleeing Costa Mesa police officers as they attempted to stop him. In the short chase, Jackson allegedly damaged another car and nearly hit several pedestrians at a bus stop. His left front tire shredded, he eventually surrendered to police officers in nearby Newport Beach.
The 30-year-old Jackson has been charged with one felony count of evading while driving recklessly, one felony count of evading a peace officer and driving against traffic, three misdemeanor counts of hit and run with property damage, and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving.
His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 28. Deputy District Attorney Keith Bogardus will request a $25,000 bail for the fighter.
Notably absent were charges related to Holli Griggs, a passenger in one of the cars that Jackson sideswiped. Griggs was 16 weeks pregnant with a boy when she miscarried two weeks after the incident. Orange County DA spokeswoman Farrah Emami told MMAWeekly.com that a subsequent investigation of the miscarriage did not implicate Jackson.
“We reviewed all the medical records and spoke with the victim’s physician, and the evidence showed that the loss of the fetus was not related to or a result of the crash caused by the defendant,” Emami said.
Kevin Randleman talks top p4p fighters and his take on Shogun vs Coleman 2
The ‘Monster’ Kevin Randleman recently took some time to talk with PDG about his recovery, Mark Coleman, the best pound for Pound fighters in the world and when his next fight for Sengoku – World Victory Road will take place.
PDG: How is the shoulder and the rehab coming along?
Kevin: The shoulder is doing really good and I'm starting to add weight, I am walking around at about 220 lbs now. I have a couple more weeks of rehab and therapy and then I should be back in the gym full time getting ready for my next fight. Some people have asked me if I wanted to drop down to 185 lbs but Anderson Silva is no chump and the guys that I have wanted to fight for the last five years are at 205 lbs.
PDG: What kind of training are you doing right now?
Kevin: I am taking it slow and working a lot on my strength and conditioning. It just takes time and you can't rush these things but I will be ready for my fight in November. I am training about four to five hours a day and I am also doing some teaching seminars for kids and youth groups.
PDG: So barring any setbacks, you will be fighting on the Sengoku – WVR VI card?
Kevin: Yes, that sounds right and I should find out who my opponent is going to be about a month before the fight.
PDG: During your downtime, have you been watching any fights?
Kevin: Yes, I watched UFC 87 and I would have to say that I was very impressed with Brock Lesnar's performance considering it was only his third professional fight. Any heavyweight that he fights in the UFC is going to have their hands full. He controlled the whole fight and made it look easy, just like any accomplished wrestler should be able to do.
PDG: What did you think of the Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch fight?
Kevin: Fitch is tough as hell but you saw why GSP is the champion. Fitch fought a very good fight but what it comes down to is that he was overmatched. GSP has so many weapons that he makes it look too easy sometimes.
PDG: I talked with your old buddy Mark Coleman a couple of weeks ago and he said if the UFC wants him to fight ‘Shogun’ Rua again, he'll be ready. How do you think that rematch would go?
Kevin: Same as the first fight but probably worse for Shogun. No question in my mind that Coleman would punish him. What else did he have to say?
PDG: He was talking about how Tim Sylvia made so much money for his fight against Fedor:
"Why did Tim make so much money and just open his legs and get submitted?”
Kevin: Tim Sylvia is not that ******* good. People can take that comment for what they want and get mad at me, I don't care. When you agree to a fight, you better go in there and give it everything you've got. He may have a better record than mine but when I go in the ring I am going full ******* bore until either I get knocked out or I knock my opponent out! That's how I roll!
PDG: Okay then, who are the top five best pound for pound fighter's out there?
Kevin: I would say Anderson Silva, followed by BJ Penn then Georges St. Peirre. Number four would be Fedor and Urijah Faber is fifth. Also, in my opinion Wanderlei Silva is close to being in that top five.
PDG: Are there any upcoming fights the year to be looked in to watch while you finish up your shoulder rehab?
Kevin: Any fight that comes down the line I will probably keep an eye on.
PDG: What about the Chuck Liddell vs Rashad Evans fight next month?
Kevin: Chuck Liddell all the way. He is still the same fighter he used to be and Evans has not fought a former champion two fights removed from being the titleholder. I'll say Liddell by decision but I am expecting a knockout.
PDG: Cool are you going to be traveling and doing any seminars in the upcoming months?
Kevin: I have a few scheduled for this fall on the East Coast and I should have all the details available in the coming weeks. I know for sure that one is going to be in upstate New York. I am also going to have some appearances coming up that I am doing with the Army, seminars and some public speaking. I am looking to fill my schedule up as much as possible so that I am constantly staying busy.
PDG: How is your gym in Columbus, Ohio coming?
Kevin: Great, we are just putting all the final details together and we should have a proposed opening day very soon. Right now it's looking like it will be sometime between December and February.
PDG: Did you pick up Madden NFL 2009?
Kevin: Yes but I haven't had much time to play it yet. My son is out here in Vegas getting ready to start school at UNLV, so we have been pretty busy with that stuff. Since he is a transfer student, he has to sit out this year but he'll be playing on the football team next fall. So be on the lookout for Calvin Randleman! He is a 6’1”, 205 lb cornerback that runs a 4.35 40 – yard dash.
PDG: Thanks again Kevin, is there anything else you wanted to add?
Kevin: Not much but thanks to the fans and hopefully they’ll tune in this fall when the ‘Monster’ hits the ring again!
KJ Noons may not be a coward, but he’s doing an awfully good impression of one.
The latest temper tantrum -- a pastime nearly as popular as the sport itself -- to hit media sites has been between Noons’ employer, EliteXC parent company ProElite, and Noons’ manager, Mark Dion, who insists proposed opponent Nick Diaz isn’t a credible contender for an Oct. 4 defense of Noons’ EliteXC lightweight title on CBS.
(The very same title he won against Diaz, a fact that incites a paradox of Dion’s claim: If Diaz isn’t a worthy opponent, what worth does Noons’ belt possess? Doc Brown warned us about this kind of thing.)
This stalemate was preceded earlier by Noons’ apathetic response to pestering about his seemingly inevitable rematch with Diaz. To paraphrase: I’ve beaten him once, so why do it again? I’m in no rush.
But you should be, Mr. Noons. You should be.
If there’s one thing MMA can finally offer after 15 years of its stubborn existence, it’s hindsight: If you don’t do the money match now, it’s going to slip right through your Ouano-laced fingers.
Back in 2003, the UFC thought it could “build” to a marquee match between Ken Shamrock and David "Tank" Abbott. Unfortunately, both went virtually winless in the Octagon, and the polished veneer of that fight chipped off like paint with no primer.
But it’s more than just the loss of a potentially incendiary fight. Barely in diapers in his MMA career, Noons was being offered the Holy Grail of anyone coveting mass exposure: a slot on primetime network television. A fight on CBS, regardless of the result, would give Noons an instant level of recognition that could be parlayed into any number of opportunities: endorsements, sponsorships, acting, seminars, etc.
Put another way, product advertisers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars securing pithy ad time on networks in an effort to marinate viewer brains in their product. Dion’s product is Noons, and instead of paying out the nose for the exposure, ProElite would be paying him -- and so would sponsors eager to get their logos captured by CBS’ high-definition cameras.
I’m not a business major, but that doesn’t sound too bad.