While an autopsy has yet to be performed on the body of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner, a sheriff’s deputy with the Imperial County Police Department is quoted in the Imperial Valley Press as saying that Tanner died of heat exhaustion.
Authorities suspect that Tanner died as a result of exposure to severe heat in the open desert. It is believed that temperatures near his location the day he was found had exceeded over 110 degrees. The report also states that Tanner’s body was discovered several miles from his campsite attired in a black t-shirt and pants and that his body was located just 15 miles outside the city of Palo Verde.
The former State high school wrestling champ was reported missing by friends over the weekend and his body was discovered Monday by a Marine pilot operating a helicopter near a campsite in the Clapp Springs area of the Palo Verde mountains.
Police accounts contradict several MMA media reports that quoted friends of Tanner as indicating that Tanner’s off-road bike ran out of gas. According to police officials, his bike still contained fuel.
While Tanner had not run out of fuel, he had run out of water. Police officials told the Press that water bottles that Tanner had carried with him were empty and that Tanner’s water supply at his campsite had been exhausted as well.
Evan Tanner was 37 years of age.