The following was sent out via Evan Tanner's official MySpace account:
I have been competing as a professional fighter for ten years. I was there near the beginning when the sport was small, struggling for legitimacy and acceptance. I was there when there was little pay, and little recognition, the only support coming from a small, hardcore underground fan base. We didn't fight for the money. We didn't fight for fame or glory. We were warriors fighting for the love of competion. I have been there since the beginning. I am one of those warriors.
I have watched the sport grow from those humble beginnings into the worldwide phenomenom is has become today. I am thankful the sport is finally getting the recognition it deserves, but it has lost much of it's purity along the way. It is now full of corporate sponsors looking to cash in, glamour boys looking for money and fame, so many people and groups working so many angles, all trying to get a piece, very few involved because of a true love of the sport. So many looking for the payout with no regard for pride or honor.
I don't want to play that game, using any angle to make a buck at the expense of my own self respect, begging the big companies for money, selling out to the highest bidder, stepping out to the ring looking like a walking billboard, my shirt and shorts plastered with logos of products I don't even use, insulting the intelligence of the fans with that display, wasting their time naming and thanking endless sponsors in interviews. I don't want to play that game.
Sponsorship is necessary though. I thought about the one thing besides myself, that I would be proud to represent when I step in the octagon. It's the fans. That is real. What could be more honorable, and what could I have more pride in representing than the fans that make this sport possible, and all the fans that have been there supporting me through the years?
So here it is. I'm going old school. I'm going to play by my own rules. The only sponsorship I will accept is from the fans. We are starting Team Tanner to make this vision a reality. It's a way for fans of MMA to be directly involed, to be a part of something real, and take things back to something pure. To those who become a part of it, when I step into the octagon, I will be representing you. Together we'll make this our game, and we'll play by our own rules.
I you are interested in being a part of Team Tanner, please contact Joel at email@example.com for more information. All members will receive an official Team Tanner T-shirt and other goodies, plus access to the Team website.