Joe Rogan brings an entirely different side of himself on his podcast. However, despite being away from the Octagon, he remains tied to it somehow. In a recent episode, he was joined by former rapper turned rising country music star, Jelly Roll.
Throughout the episode, the pair discuss some difficult topics, especially about death. Notably, Joe and Jelly discussed Iam Tongi, a young boy who had performed admirably at American Idol 2023. As it turns out, the boy had recently lost his father and did everything he could to honor his father. Similarly, Rogan discussed another loss.
Speaking on the podcast, the UFC commentator got emotional whilst talking about his late friend, Evan Tanner. “There’s a dude named Evan Tanner, he was a UFC champion and a very interesting guy,” recalls Rogan. “He’d do these things [where] he would go on a walkabout to try to find himself. He did one in Death Valley, and heat stroke apparently affects your ability to think straight. He couldn’t figure out where the water was.”
Unfortunately, Tanner passed away in 2008, due to heat exhaustion. As it turns out, Tanner was too far away to call for help. In addition to that, the effects of having a heat stroke meant that he was unable to properly think and take the correct course of action either. Not only was he a source of inspiration, but he was also a dear friend of the stand-up comedian.
Who was Evan Tanner, the friend of Joe Rogan that passed away?
Joe Rogan’s late friend, Evan Tanner was a former middleweight champion in the UFC. Making his debut at UFC 18 in 1999, the veteran certainly left his mark on the sport. Throughout his career, Tanner took on the biggest stars in the UFC at the time. As such, his resume includes fights against the likes of Tito Ortiz, Rich Franklin, Phil Baroni, Robbie Lawler, and more.
Moreover, Tanner would go on to win the middleweight title in 2005, after a KO/TKO win over David Terrell at UFC 51. For the most part, Tanner was a highly respected fighter and a free spirit. On occasion, Tanner would embark on long walks to find himself and be one with nature. In addition to that, Tanner was never afraid to go out into the wilderness and explore different places.
Born on February 11, 1971, Evan, unfortunately, passed away at the ripe age of 37. As mentioned previously, the UFC fighter was on a solo trip in the desert of Imperial County, California. Also known as the Death Valley, it is known to be the hottest place on Earth, especially during the summer. Previously, the Death Valley National Park recorded an unbelievable high of 134 degrees in July 1936.
Tanner’s death was a shocking and deeply saddening event for the MMA Community. As such, the UFC and other notable MMA organizations paid tribute to the deceased fighter. Similarly, Tanner’s life and journey have inspired numerous documentaries as well.