"Once I was a Champion" is a documentary focused on the late Evan Tanner set to premier in the Los Angeles Film Festival this week.
Directed by Gerard Roxburgh, "Once I was a Champion" details the life and death of Tanner. Tanner's MMA career spanned 11 years and he rose to prominence as a fierce fighter within the cage, which peaked when he became the UFC's middleweight champion in 2005.
Outside of fighting, Tanner was also known for his philosophical insights that he would share both through interviews and his personal blog.
"It is a shame that in this society we've been taught to judge a man's worth by what he owns instead of who he is. Everything is surface, and so few look beyond it. A man will sell his soul, he will lie, cheat and steal, for money...We forget what it means to be truly human. We forget the things that really matter. We lose the magic of what life should be. I won't live by rules that make no sense to me" Tanner once wrote.
Tanner always looked for adventure, whether it was pursuing a UFC title or exploring the world around him. It was the latter that would tragically claim his life in 2008, Tanner died of heat exposure during an outing into the desert west of Palo Verde, California.
"Once I was a Champion" features archived footage and interviews with those closest to Tanner to detail the kind of man he lived to be. Forrest Griffin, Randy Couture and Bas Rutten are just some of the many that speak on their experiences with Tanner, a man who believed that he could change the world.