Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Evan Tanner dropped out of Iowa's Simpson College at the age of 19 and, feeling restless, set off on a long cross-country journey as a drifter. He subsequently took on a series of random itinerant occupations including barkeep, night watchman, cable installer, baker, and ditch-digger in varied locations throughout the Midwestern, Southern, and Western United States. Following a brief one-semester stint at the University of Oklahoma, Tanner set his sights on establishing himself in the ranks of the MMA, and began training vigorously to achieve this goal. He soon racked up a covetable series of titles including, but not limited to Gladiator Challenge Heavyweight Tournament Champion, UFC Middleweight Champion, and USWF Heavyweight Champion, and a status as the first American in history to score a victory in Tokyo's Pancrase Neo-Blood tournament. Tragically, Tanner died amid a mysterious series of circumstances in early September 2008. The 37-year-old MMA fighter disappeared and turned up dead in the desert, several days later; preliminary coroner's reports attributed his expiry to heat exposure.