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Ex-UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner dead at 37

A dead body discovered by Imperial County (Calif.) law enforcement officials near the Palo Verde mountain area on Monday has been identified as that of 37-year old former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner, according to the UFC via its official website.

A report in Monday’s Imperial Valley Press first revealed that Tanner had been declared missing over the weekend.

A motorcycle reported to be Tanner’s was discovered by a Clapp Springs area campsite on Sunday. Friends of Tanner had reported him missing on Friday after text messages sent to his attention had gone unanswered since Wednesday.

A sheriff’s deputy discovered the then-unidentified body on Monday while flying in the area in search of the missing Tanner.

In a blog entry submitted to Spike TV’s website on August 16, Tanner spoke of a potential camping expedition in the Southern California desert. He morbidly discussed the possibility of dying during the trip.

“I’ve been gathering my gear for this adventure for over a month, not a long time by most standards, but far too long for my impatient nature,” wrote Tanner. “Being a minimalist by nature, wanting to carry only the essentials, and being extremely particular, it has been a little difficult to find just the right equipment. I plan on going so deep into the desert, that any failure of my equipment, could cost me my life.”

Tanner last competed in Las Vegas on June 21 during in the main event of the live season finale for the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He sustained a great deal of punishment in losing a split decision to Kendall Grove.

At one time Tanner had been considered a top-ten middleweight but had seen his performance decline in recent years due to age and personal problems. He made his return to competitive fighting this past March at UFC 82 after nearly a two-year absence.

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