36 Evan Tanner
& photos by Jim Burman for SFUK
Evan Tanner, an interesting fight for you
on Friday, Elvis Sinosic. What are your thoughts
for the fight?
Tanner : I think it's going to
be a good fight. He's coming off that loss to
Tito so I think that Elvis has got something
to prove. Even though I won my last fight against
Homer Moore I still have something to prove.
It's going to be a good fight because of that
, we're both going to go out there to take it
to the other one and try to make a statement.
thing that a lot of people are talking about
now, and what I see as a change in the sport
is that fans want to see entertaining fighters
who go out to finish the fight as opposed to
just win. Fighters who lose well can still gain
a lot of respect from the fans. Does that affect
the way you approach your fights?
Tanner : It's definitely an important
thing to consider. The fight game is changing,
especially now that it's getting more public
notoriety. It's on pay-per-view now again, which
is great. Y'know it's showbusiness basically,
you have to be a cross between a showman and
a fighter. You can't just be a solid fighter
there are a lot of great fighters out there
yet the fans want to have to see you fight so
it's important to put a good show on for the
fans. Fighters like Matt Serra who's explosive
goes out there and goes for it and he may have
lost one or two but the fans want to see him
fight because he puts on an exciting fight.
I believe that putting on a good fight and making
it entertaining for the fans is actually more
important than winning or losing in this game.
been training with Randy Couture and his guys,
how's that been for you?
Tanner : It's been great.
My fiance and I moved out there permanently
in January so I definitely made the permanent
move to train with these guys for good and I
think it's going to do me a lot of good. I hope
that I can help them out some too, they're a
great bunch of guys to work with. They're intense,
they train hard and it's great to be around
a bunch of guys like that.
interesting with the three of you (Evan, Randy
Couture and Matt Lindland) fighting on the same
card. Has that affected you guys in any way?
Have you been trying to take care of yourselves
as opposed to helping each other or do you think
it's spurred you on a bit more?
Tanner : I think the fact
that the three of us are fighting has really
increased the intensity. Instead of everybody
just focussing on one guy we're working with
each other. It just increases the overall intensity
of the room, makes it a better atmosphere to
train in. I really like that we're all on the
first time that I saw you fight was, I think
UFC 18, where you fought Darryl Gholar. Now
he's a guy with strong wrestling skills who
took you down, you weathered the storm and won
a great victory and now you're training with
guys who are well known for their wrestling
skills. I understand that John Lewis came over
for a week, did you get to train with him at
Tanner : I worked with just
for a few minutes one day but he was mainly
focussing on Randy and Matt. They've got the
seniority in the gym, when a guy comes in like
that they get more of the attention, which is
fine. I stayed off to the side and watched techniques,
watched him teach. I leared a lot just by watching
but he mainly worked with those guys. The time
I did get to work with him he showed me some
techniques that I think are really going to
improve my game.
you got any message you've got for your European
fans out there?
Tanner : I hear that one
of the next UFCs is going to be in London and
Iv'e never been there.
You want to get on that trip.
Tanner : I want to get on
that trip. To fight for the fans over there,
that'd be great. I just want to tell everybody
to watch out because I'm coming out strong.
I haven't really taken it seriously up until
now. I haven't had the great sparring partners
or high level fighting coaches or instructors.
I have that now, great sparring partners, great
instructors. I'm coming on strong and looking
to take the light heavyweight title eventually.
heard that when you first came out yu were pretty
much self taught. Is that right?
Tanner : Yeah, absolutely.
I started out at a grass roots show in Texas.
I really had no intention of fighting and when
I did decide to fight in one of those shows
I started studying the Royce and Rorion jiu
jitsu videos. I had a high school wrestling
background, I added some submission holds into
the wrestling and was successful with it to
a point. I even made it into the UFC being pretty
much self taught. But the sport has evolved
so quickly I realised that I was getting left
behind and that to compete at this level you're
going to have to have a high level team.
got you motivated into doing this in the first
place? I know sometimes after I finish training
I do think 'why the hell am I doing this'. What
got you into this?
Tanner : (laughing) I think
the same thing sometimes after practice 'why
am I doing this, god this hurts'. I started
back in Amarillo Texas. I had no intentions
of fighting ever. Some friends of mine were
in one of the local shows in Amarillo, I thought
I'd check out the show, watch them and check
it out. I guess a lot of people knew me from
high school wrestling and were saying 'Evan
you should do this' and I'm like 'no,no I'm
way beyond that, I don't have anything to prove'.
I watched the show and it really appealled to
me. Later that week it was eating away at me
and I was kind of arguing with myself 'no, I'm
not going to do it'. Finally I decided I was
going to go for it once.
thing you know you're fighting in the UFC.
Tanner : Yeah. I was going
to go for it once and check it out, thought
maybe it would be a neat story to tell my grandkids,
get some neat pictures or something. Hopefully
I'll have grandkids some day. I ended up winning
the heavyweight tournament in the USWF and I've
been doing it ever since. Like you say, nect
thing I know I'm in the UFC. Never expected
it, never planned it, it just took on a life
of it's own.
funny how these things just happen, isn't it.
Evan thanks a lot.
Tanner : Thanks.
conducted 20th March 2001.
UFC36 Interviews by Jim Burman