Former UFC middleweight champ Evan Tanner has fallen on hard times. As a subscriber to his MySpace blog, I’ve heard all about it. I was there when he pondered his life as “a seeker”, when he found himself chasing a small dog around a dining room table at 4 a.m., which resulted in him being briefly plunged into an existential crisis, but none of it compares to his recent post.
It seems Tanner has decided to confront his drinking problem in an attempt to get his life back on track. Read it for yourself:
I am setting a date.
I am setting a date, and on that day I will stop drinking. That will be the day I begin to be a better man. That will be the day I begin to find the best of me. That will be the day I begin to find the best of what life can be. I want to find the magic. Join me. If you want to make a change in your life, join me. If any of you want to find the best of yourself, join me. If you want to find your own magic, join me. I am going to quit drinking, get back into training, and step into the Octagon again, and when I do, it will be dedicated to all of you who have the courage to believe in the best of what you can be, all of you who have the courage to stand up with me and face your fears and weaknesses. We will stand shoulder to shoulder, an unconquerable army. BELIEVE in what you can do, and it will happen.
I am setting a date.
It has been said that I am done, that I will never fight again. It has been said that I have no chance of ever being a champion again. I refuse to accept that. I challenge you to believe in yourself. I challenge you to do what they say can not be done. Join this army of unconquerable souls.
Now, it sounds like Tanner’s been dealing with some difficult stuff, and the last thing I’d want to do is criticize a man for trying to get his life together, but I have to say I think there are some important pieces missing in this plan.
Maybe it’s the use of so much vague and hyperbolic rhetoric about believing in things, maybe it’s the idea of setting a date to quit drinking (how about, I don’t know, today?), or quite possibly it’s the sentence, “Join this army of unconquerable souls.” (the what now?)
I don’t know. I can’t say what it is, but something in that awkward prose makes me worried for Evan Tanner. I don’t know him personally, but I always liked him as a fighter and felt he had a lot of heart, and I’d love to see him make a comeback.
But the problem with reading his MySpace blog is it’s starting to feel unhealthily voyeuristic. He’s so sincere and so direct that it’s almost painful. It’s like having a stranger tell you that they’re starting a conversation with you to alleviate their constant loneliness, rather than them just starting a conversation about an innocuous topic and ignoring the motivations behind it.
I can’t help but feel bad for Tanner, but at the same time the blog is so endearingly narcissistic and honest that I feel bad about being entertained by a stranger’s slow decline, which is really what’s happening for me and the legion of subscribers to his blog.
Basically, what I’m saying is I want someone to help Evan Tanner. I want to see him turn it around, but I don’t think MySpace philosophy is going to be enough. Please, someone get him in a program. Something.