Former UFC champ Tanner found deadFOXSports.com
Updated: September 9, 2008, 1:15 PM EST
Evan Tanner. (Derek Hamilton / InsideFighting.com)
Ultimate Fighting Championship star Evan Tanner has died in the desert east of San Diego, possibly of heat exposure.
Sheriff's Lt. George Moreno says the 37-year-old Tanner was found Monday about two miles from his campsite in a remote area of the Palo Verdes Mountains, where temperatures had reached 110 degrees. Moreno says a preliminary coroner's report suggests Tanner died of heat exposure.
Tanner left for the desert last week to go camping and motorcycle riding.
His agent, John Hayner, says Tanner called a friend on Wednesday to say the dirt bike had run out of gas. He was about 100 miles from the nearest town.
Tanner, 37, had blogged ominously about his trip into the desert to "cleanse."
"I plan on going so deep into the desert, that any failure of my equipment, could cost me my life," he wrote on his journal for Spike TV.
Tanner is a former UFC champion middleweight. He lost his last bout in June.
Tanner made his MMA debut in April of 1997 winning three fights in one night, including a win over Paul Buentello. His biggest fight came in February of 2001 when he challenged then UFC Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in the main event of UFC 30 but was knocked out in just 32 seconds.
Tanner later moved down to 185 pounds and won the vacant UFC Middleweight Championship over David Terrell, but then lost the title in June of 2005 to Rich Franklin in a fight where the winner would also become one of the coaches for the 2nd season of "The Ultimate Fighter".
The UFC signed Tanner to a four fight contract last November with the first fight of that contract taking place earlier this year in March at UFC 82 in Columbus, Ohio. He lost by KO to Yushin Okami and then suffered another loss in June to Kendall Grove by split decision on the TUF 7 Finale show in Las Vegas.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. Get more MMA news at fightnetwork.com.
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