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Police believe Tanner died of heat exhaustion

While an autopsy has yet to be performed on the body of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner, a sheriff’s deputy with the Imperial County Police Department is quoted in the Imperial Valley Press as saying that Tanner died of heat exhaustion.

Authorities suspect that Tanner died as a result of exposure to severe heat in the open desert. It is believed that temperatures near his location the day he was found had exceeded over 110 degrees. The report also states that Tanner’s body was discovered several miles from his campsite attired in a black t-shirt and pants and that his body was located just 15 miles outside the city of Palo Verde.

The former State high school wrestling champ was reported missing by friends over the weekend and his body was discovered Monday by a Marine pilot operating a helicopter near a campsite in the Clapp Springs area of the Palo Verde mountains.

Police accounts contradict several MMA media reports that quoted friends of Tanner as indicating that Tanner’s off-road bike ran out of gas. According to police officials, his bike still contained fuel.

While Tanner had not run out of fuel, he had run out of water. Police officials told the Press that water bottles that Tanner had carried with him were empty and that Tanner’s water supply at his campsite had been exhausted as well.

Evan Tanner was 37 years of age.

  • MMAsubb says:

    Its so sad to think this may have been his intentions all along, after reading his blog post last month. RIP senior tanner

  • JT Marshall says:

    R.I.P. Evan.

    (If these were his intentions, he would have let us know. Evan’s life was an open book yo.)

    Here’s hoping everyone remembers Evan’s Legacy for more than his last two fights…

    R.I.P. Evan. -JT

  • JoHn says:

    I dont think he did this intentionally, Do you know how painful it is to go the way he did. Dehydration is a very painful way to go.

  • GassedOut says:

    I hope it was not intentional. Either way, he was an honest and interesting man and will be missed.

  • Jim says:

    It’s depressing. Having camped in the desert, the one thing you bring enough of is water. When you start to run low, you bug out fast. I question his judgement of going out on a bike which limited the amount of supplies he could bring but I don’t think it was overtly intentional – just a sad tragedy.

  • Kelly says:

    i dont know, as much as im saddened by his death i can’t help but think this was intentional, i think he went out there to find himself or die.

    Id like to think he found whatever it is he was looking for, hopefully he found that better place.

    Evan the world seems a lesser place without you

  • Jason G says:

    I’m not 100% on this but I know you become delirious during heat exhaustion so I would imagine you wouldn’t feel a thing except for being cold before you passed out. From what has been reported it all seems very strange. If his bike had gas, why was he walking? Why would he be wearing black in the desert? I dunno, maybe the bike wasn’t running because of another reason.

  • jim smith says:

    It heard it wasn’t the heat, but the humidity that killed him.

  • Jason G says:

    jim, i’m not familiar with the area but if he was actually in a desert-like terrain the air would be very dry

  • mma pro says:

    15 miles away from the city , and gas still in the tank, something doesnt add up. i live in california about an hour and a half away from where he was found. it is not humid at all unless there is a thunderstorm. and it is a dumb idea to go camping in the desert in the summer. shit it is hot as hell in the mountains here in the summer. anyway whats done is done. tanner was a true warrior, win or lose, it was gonna be an exciting battle. rip tanner

  • Rich S. says:

    so his bike didn’t run out of fuel? whoa..
    that’s weird.. i must say..
    because, it seems as though he could’ve just ridden out..
    I’m sure his death was NOT intentional.. although the loss to Kendall may have been devistating and may have added problems to the ones already existent, his manager said he was in a good place in his head..

    i watched a recent interview with Tanner last night..
    and he was talking about how he used to surf, but since he moved to Vegas he couldn’t really do that any more.. He said since there was no ocean or beach, he -loved- riding his bike in the dessert..

    you have no idea how weird/sad it was to watch that video..

    i bet he had no idea that something he -loved- would be the death of him..


  • Chris Hohn says:

    No offense but… Duh! 115 degree weather, what else do you think it would have been? Its sad regardless but that it is pretty common sense…

  • Tim says:

    Doesn’t it seem likely that maybe something was wrong with the bike? If there was fuel in it yet he was walking, maybe in the intense heat the bike itself overheated?

  • Rich S. says:

    i’ll be working on a tribute video all night.. i know there’s a few out there already but..
    i’ll post a link when i’m done..

  • glock says:

    Evan read, thought about, planned and prepared, for this trip into the desert. You don’t get very far in preparations for desert hiking / excursions without reading ballpark figures of 1-2 gallons of water per person per day- over, and over and over. You read that after reading “it’s really [email protected] hot !!”

    BTW the headline is curious if it came from the police if only misinformation, because “heat exhaustion” doesn’t kill you… it leads up to ‘heat stroke’ that does.


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