Sports by the Numbers MMA
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Some live in a way that others would never dare. They dive into the world unafraid of failure. In fact it seems sometimes they even welcome it. They take risks and live on the edge. Their spirits appear eternally free, but they frequently teeter and topple into the unforgiving abyss.

 

By all accounts, Evan tanner was one of these free spirits. The former UFC middleweight champion dared and failed in a manner that most can't fathom, and he eloquently told us all about it, sparing no detail as he penned each triumph and tragedy.

 

His decision to take a self-taught leap into mixed martial arts is hard to grasp, but the results aren't. He wanted an experience, and in turn he gave us many both inside and outside the cage.

 

When he ran his old boat aground and it shattered on the rocks, we rolled our eyes at the outcome. Or we admired his enterprising soul.

 

When his house for troubled youth sputtered and failed, we nodded with an air of judgment, and muttered, "I told you so." Or we applauded his efforts and understood that his heart was passionate.

 

When he rambled across the land, drifting, drinking, and letting his beard grow, we knew he'd lost it. Or we wondered what it would be like to be a wanderer, to delve into ourselves and our lives without reservation.

 

When he climbed into the Octagon once again, when he strapped on the gloves and shook his fists, we knew no matter how the fight played out, he'd already won.

 

When he was beaten, and reportedly gambled until he was broke. We broke a little too; we couldn't bear to be a part of his self-destruction. Yet his spirit was unscathed. It was merely another experience for Evan.

 

He lived his life in such a manner, one experience followed by another. To hell with the results, they were nothing more than a footnote to each adventure. And it was this freedom, this wonder that led him into the desert for one final tragic experience.

 

Evan Tanner, the poet, wrote, ""I'm hoping that very soon I'll be sitting out in the quiet of the desert beneath a deep blue midnight sky, listening to the calm desert breeze...I want to go to these places, the quiet, timeless, ageless places, and sit, letting silence and solitude be my teachers."

Evan, through your free spirit, your triumphs and tragedies, you have been the adept teacher, and we will forever be thankful. Theodore Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Your place is not with the cold and timid Evan. You were in the arena, and we hope you found peace underneath that deep blue midnight sky. Your warrior spirit will forever be missed.

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