Evan Tanner, an ex-Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champion, was found dead in California's Palo Verde mountain area on Monday. He was 37.
According to UFC's web site, Tanner, who was officially reported missing Friday, was on a camping trip. His body was found by an Imperial County Sheriff's Department deputy on Monday.
The cause of death is unknown.
According to TMZ.com on Monday, law enforcement headed into the desert near San Diego last Friday. That day, TMZ.com reported, "Tanner sent a text message to a friend that he was out of water and needed help. There was a massive search that ended abruptly (Monday)."
On his Spike TV blog, Tanner wrote last month he was going to the desert because of his friends talking about "treasure hunting and lost gold, and my own insatiable appetite for adventure and exploration . . . I plan on going so deep into the desert, that any failure of my equipment could cost me my life."
Later on, however, he downplayed such fears, writing, "It seems some (mixed martial art) websites have reported on the story, posting up that I might die out in the desert, or that it might be my greatest opponent yet, etc. Come on guys. It's really common down in southern California to go out to the off-road recreation areas in the desert about an hour away from L.A. and San Diego. So my plan is to go out to the desert, do some camping, ride the motorcycle, and shoot some guns. Sounds like a lot of fun to me. A lot of people do it. This isn't a version of Into the Wild. I'm not going out into the desert with a pair of shorts and a bowie knife to try to live off the land. I'm going fully geared up, and I'm planning on having some fun."
Tanner's agent, John Hayner, said his client led a simple life and always had an appreciation for the outdoors.
"He was always planning on going on some sort of adventure," Hayner told UFC.com. "And he never needed the finer things or made a fuss about them. He just needed enough for gas, shelter, and training."
Tanner's MMA record was 32-8. He began competing in the sport in 1997, winning a one-night tournament as part of his debut. Perhaps his greatest moment in the sport came at UFC 51, when he defeated David Terrell to become middleweight champion.
In his first defence of the title, he dropped the championship to Rich Franklin at UFC 53.
His final MMA bout was a split-decision loss to Kendall Grove at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale on June 21.
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