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Fun with dead athletes!

November 19, 2009

Maybe this is morbid, but I’ve become totally fascinated by the halted-in-time blog kept by Evan Tanner, a former UFC middleweight champion and all-around inspiring guy who died last year. At the tail end of his career, he decided to venture off into the desert for some camping and self-reflection and unfortunately never came back. Heat exposure. It’s too bad. The sport really needs more people like him around to balance out the doucheyness. Through his writing he comes across simple and gracious, but his carefree nature also seems kind of aimless and at times melancholy. He just fell into martial arts. He admitted his faults. He trained hard. He loved those around him. He turned his house into a training centre for troubled young martial artists. He died.

Total Into the Wild type shit, made extra tragic for the fact that he actually name-checks that book/movie in his blog to quell concerns that his desert trip was some sort of suicide mission or cry for help:

“It seems some MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) 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 LA 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.'”

Sadly, that’s exactly what it turned out to be. Check it out — not only for the feel-good spirit, but also because seeing him post pictures of his trip preparation is all sorts of eerie. It works on several levels depending on how messed up of a person you are. Yay!

For something a bit more lighthearted, I also highly recommend Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No, a digital baseball-themed short from the people at No Mas TV and artist James Blagden. I don’t want to go into too much detail because you should just watch the shit, but for background, Blagden animated the late Pittsburgh Pirate’s NPR-produced recounting of how he infamously pitched a no-hitter against San Diego in 1970, which he accomplished while TOTALLY BLITZED OUT ON LSD. It’s a lot of fun and a great tribute to Ellis, who died of cirrhosis at the too-young age of 63 while on the wait list for a new liver. Sign those organ donor forms, people.

You’ll NEVER have a story this great to tell:


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