Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Nationality American Born
February 11, 1971 (1971-02-11) (age 37)
Fighting out of Gresham, Orego
Town of birth Amarillo, Texas
Team/Association Chute Boxe (USA)
Fighting style Freestyle
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout 8
By submission 21
Evan Lloyd Tanner (born February 11, 1971 in Amarillo, Texas) is an American professional mixed martial arts fighter. He is a former UFC Middleweight and USWF Heavyweight champion with a professional record of 32 wins and 6 losses. Tanner first won championship gold when he defeated Heath Herring at USWF 7, and went on to successfully defend that title five times. Tanner then won the UFC Middleweight title at UFC 51, stopping David Terrell with strikes in the first round. He holds other notable victories over Heath Herring, Paul Buentello, Robbie Lawler, and back to back wins over Phil Baroni.
Tanner lost the middleweight title belt to Rich Franklin at UFC 53.
Tanner is currently training for his comeback after more than a year of inactivity.
Tanner was born in Amarillo, Texas and graduated from Caprock High School in 1989 where he won the Texas State Championships in wrestling as a junior and senior despite only entering the sport in his sophomore year of high school. Tanner attended college but dropped out because he felt that he was not receiving a "real world" education that he was searching for. After dropping out, travelled the country and eventually returned to Amarillo where he entered a local mixed martial arts tournament. What he thought would be an isolated event served as a springboard to his professional career.
Tanner is currently single and has no children. He is also an avid motorcycle enthusiast that is popular with MMA fans because of his MySpace webpage in which he spoke candidly about his life and career. Tanner is a believer that a fight needs to contain elements of skill and entertainment.
Tanner, with a wrestling background, began fighting in 1997 when he was convinced by friends to enter a local MMA tournament, hosted by the now defunct Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation. Tanner won the tournament, defeating three fighters including former UFC Heavyweight contender Paul Buentello, in one night.
After his initial success, Tanner taught himself submission and grappling techniques using instructional DVDs created by the famous Gracie family. He continued to fight in local shows and tournaments in Texas and Iowa before traveling across the world to Japan to compete in the Pancrase organization. Tanner won five fights overseas and competed in the USWF once more before the UFC came calling.
Tanner made his UFC debut in 1999 at UFC 18, submitting fellow Amarillo native Darrell Gholar by rear naked choke in the first round. Tanner's next fight in the UFC was against Valerie Ignatov at UFC 19. Ignatov was widely known for his leg submissions and because of this, Tanner decided to fight barefoot for the first time in his career, citing that shoes sometimes make it easier for an opponent to gain a submission
Tanner fought once more in Pancrase and defended his title two more times in the USWF before deciding to take the first of multiple breaks from fighting in his career. He returned to action in July of 2000 and remained undefeated in the USWF, successfully keeping his Heavyweight belt in victories over Raoul Romero and Vinny Nixon. Tanner made his next appearance in the UFC at UFC 29, beating Lance Gibson by TKO.
With three victories in the UFC, Tanner received a title shot against UFC Light-Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz at UFC 30. Unfortunately, Tanner suffered his first career UFC loss in just 32 seconds, being knocked unconscious. It was after this defeat that Tanner began to become a more disciplined fighter.
Tanner would be victorious three more times in the UFC before taking another hiatus from June 2002 to April 2003. Tanner's only fight during the hiatus was at a charity event hosted by the Full Contact Fighting Federation. Tanner was victorious against Shannon Ritch, submitting him with a triangle choke in the first round.
Also during that time, Tanner began training with Oregon-based Team Quest. He returned to the Octagon at UFC 42, taking on Rich Franklin, who was able to defeat Tanner mid-way through the first round. To this day, Tanner still believes that the fight was stopped too early.
After his loss to Franklin, Tanner decided that he would be better suited in the UFC's Middleweight division and left the Light-Heavyweight weight class where he would be more physically imposing than many of the opponents in that division.
Tanner then faced Phil Baroni in consecutive fights at UFC 45 and UFC 48 respectively. Both of the bouts between the two were filled with controversy. In the early minutes of their fight at UFC 45, Baroni was in control as he stunned and bloodied Tanner. However, Tanner was able to regain his composure and take Baroni to the ground where he threw a series of unanswered punches and elbows. After a brief verbal exchange between Baroni and referee Larry Landless the fight was stopped and Tanner was awarded the victory.
Immediately after the fight, Baroni contended that he did not submit and in the confusion struck Landless in the face twice. Baroni maintains that it was a verbal miscommunication and he never asked for the fight to be stopped. To quell the controversy, the UFC agreed to give Baroni a rematch at UFC 48.
Their matchup at UFC 48 showed Tanner to be the clearcut victor. It was noted many times during the broadcast that Baroni did not look himself. After the fight Baroni stated that his gameplan was to prevent fatigue in the earlier rounds by pacing himself. Tanner credits his ability to enjoy success while standing with Baroni because of training with his newly hired boxing coach, Curtis Crawford.
After winning both contests Tanner was victorious for a third-straight time against Robbie Lawler at UFC 50, submitting him with a triangle choke early on in the fight. Shortly after the Lawler fight, Tanner and Team Quest decided to part company and begin training on his own.
Because of his success, Tanner was given a shot at the vacant UFC Middleweight championship against David Terrell at UFC 51. Despite being the underdog, Tanner overcame losing his mouth piece early on and a guillotine choke that almost ended the fight. He survived to control Terrell on the ground, pounding away at him until the referee was forced to stop the fight in the final seconds of the first round. Tanner was awarded the belt and became the first UFC Middleweight champion since Murilo Bustamante held the title before leaving for PRIDE Fighting Championships in 2002.
Tanner was given the opportunity to avenge his loss to Rich Franklin at UFC 53, who had also decided to drop down to the Middleweight division after fighting as a Light-Heavyweight for years. Tanner was able to knock Franklin down with a right hand in the first round of the bout but Franklin took control from there, dominating Tanner until the fight was stopped by the ringside doctor due to a TKO by Franklin.
Tanner's fight against Franklin at UFC 53 was for more than just the UFC Middleweight title, as the winner of the fight would also become one of the coaches for the The Ultimate Fighter 2 reality show. Tanner expressed a lot of interest in being one of the coaches, stating that the opportunity would give him tremendous exposure. Franklin subsequently became a coach on the reality show along with then UFC Welterweight champion, Matt Hughes.
After losing his belt, Tanner began training with American Top Team, but lost his next fight to David Loiseau at Ultimate fight Night 2. Tanner was ahead on points until the fight was stopped in the second round due to a cut Tanner received from Loiseau's elbow. After this defeat, Tanner took time away to deal with some personal issues but stated that he would become an official member of the Chute Boxe team.
Tanner returned to the UFC in April of 2006 at UFC 59, defeating Justin Levens by way of triangle choke. Levens was a late replacement for Jeremy Horn who was originally scheduled to fight Tanner but was forced to withdraw after a training injury.
On December 29, 2006, Tanner unveiled plans to set up a mixed martial arts training camp that would reside in his house in Gresham, Oregon. The focus would be setting up a home for disadvantaged athletes and young men at risk. Tanner traveled from Las Vegas to Gresham in the following weeks and began to set up the project. Tanner remodeled and refurnished the house so it would be fit for the athletes to live in.
In February 2007, Tanner announced further details about the foundation. Twelve athletes will reside in the house from six different weight classes. (Heavyweight, Light-Heavyweight, Middleweight, Welterweight, Lightweight, and Featherweight).
In a March 2007 interview with MMA Weekly, Tanner was asked about the possibility of fighting again but indicated that he wanted to focus on developing his foundation. However, he did hint that he would be training year-round with the athletes he will be coaching and that it may only be a matter of time before he returns. UFC president Dana White was interviewed by CBS Sportsline one week later and stated that Tanner will be welcomed back whenever he is ready.
As of May 11, 2007, further foundation development were put on hold by Tanner citing his own training and a bad experience with the first fighter that was invited to the house. Tanner announced through his official website that he would return to active competition and continue his quest to regain the UFC Middleweight title.
Past rumours stated that Tanner would make his return to the UFC in December 2007 at UFC 79 against Dean Lister, where he would represent the American Chute Boxe team. That report was dismissed by Evan Tanner, as he did not have an upcoming fight with Dean Lister as Evan continues to battle his alcohol problems to this day. Furthemore he has stated that things did not work out with American Chute Boxe team and he no longer trains with them. He is currently training at Hard Knocks Kickboxing in Las Vegas Nevada.
On November 8, 2007 it was revealed Evan Tanner had announced his signing of a new 4 fight deal with the UFC. In addition to his signing with the UFC Tanner has revealed that he intends to accept no corporate sponsorships in favor of starting "Team Tanner" intended as an exclusive fan club to be represented in his upcoming fights. His first fight is now tentatively scheduled to take place at UFC 82, where he will face Japanese middleweight contender Yushin Okami.