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Evan Tanner: "I won the battle, and I won the war."

The following is provided courtesy of Evan Tanner’s official blog:

“My fight at UFC 82 could arguably be considered the most important of my “fight” career. I was an aging former world champion trying to break into the scene again after a long layoff. I sat out as the sport evolved, and it was said that I was too old, and the sport had passed me by, that my day was done. I could be said that there was so much riding on that fight, that there was so much to prove … and there was. I sat alone with my coach in the dressing room after the fight. No words, nothing to say, both just sitting there staring at the floor. It was an unbearably heavy sadness. We sat there without words, as the tears came to my eyes. I had to stand up and walk away as they rolled down my face. I didn’t want to bother my coach with them. They were mine, mine to deal with. I had just stepped out of the Octagon where I had stood face to face with one of the top fighters in the world, but it was there, in the dressing room behind the scenes after the fight that night, that I waged my greatest battle. It would have been so easy to have picked up the bottle again in that moment, to have made the decision to go back to it. I could have thought “I tried so hard, I did everything right, and this is my reward?” I could have cursed the heavens and gone back to the bottle. My addiction was still fresh with me. It would have been so easy. And the thought was there, tempting me, teasing me. That moment, in the silence of the dressing room, faced with crushing disappointment, numbing embarrassment, and that heavy sadness, I faced the old demons. I felt so low, as if everything had been lost. I wanted to drink. I faced those old demons again, and I beat them down. I won the battle, and I won the war. I didn’t drink, and I won’t. That was my great test, one I had to face before I could really move on. I passed it. I stand triumphant, solid, UNSHAKEABLE. The loss at UFC 82 was a setback, and I am very disappointed in that, but considering what I just came out of, the fact that I was near collapsing just months ago, that I was almost on the streets, I feel it was huge that I was even able to step into the ring again. I faced my fears, and my greatest weakness, and won. Despite the loss, I’m feeling very good, and highly motivated. There is still a belt out there to win. Now it’s time to get to work. I’m not going anywhere. I’m back in training this week.”