MMA legend goes for his 100th win
On a warm summer night at a mixed martial arts school northwest of Baltimore, there stood the living legend Dan “The Beast” Severn, far from the huge arenas and UFC events he headlined in the ‘90s. He still sports his signature mustache and the barrel-chested physique of a 1960s-pro wrestler.
He first entered the octagon at 37 in 1994, as one of the most intimidating fighters in the world. In the early days of MMA, fighters would fight up to three matches to make it to that day's championship. The bouts were advertised as “no rules” matches. “MMA has approximately 37 rules today. Part of those rules include weight classes, time limits and gloves. Back in the ‘no-holds-barred era,’ we had two rules: No biting and no eye-gouging. Anything else was fair and I mean fair,” said Severn.
Many rules in MMA have changed since Severn first fought, but he said he thinks there are still some changes that need to be made. “I think in the next 3 to 5 years that elbow strikes will be the next thing to go,” said Severn. “Because right now I teach my athletes to let them take you down, and as they lay in your guard, reach back and land that elbow (on the crown of their head), and it’s checkmate.”
These days Severn travels the globe giving seminars on MMA, amateur wrestling and grappling. He was in Maryland to do a 2-hour seminar and to promote his fight with John Shaddock, the owner/coach of Shaddock MMA Academy in Eldersburg. The fight is scheduled for early 2012. Severn has an MMA record of 99 wins, 18 losses and seven draws. He is trying to get his 100th win and hopes that Shaddock will be that victim.
Severn has fought five times this year, winning three but losing his last two bouts by TKO and KO (punches). “I hope to stand on my feet and move a lot and use my speed,"Shaddock said. "At 43, I’m the younger fighter, so I have youth on my side."
Watching Severn play to the crowd of students throughout the evening, you can see his charisma. Throughout the night, he mentions his website and items you can purchase, including a faux mustache -- his No.1 seller. He knows how to market himself.
In the corner of the school he displays four of his championship belts: the NWA pro wrestling belt; the Ultimate, Ultimate Fighting championship; UFC World Superfight championship; and the UFC 5 World championship. Looking closely at the belts, you can see the small cosmetic scratches because of the thousands of armchair warriors who have handled the belts.
Also, there are a half-dozen photos of Severn for sale. In the background, you can hear him giving instructions to students on how to defend a guillotine choke. It was a guillotine choke by Royce Gracie that cost Severn his first championship at UFC 4. If he could have won that bout, one can only image how his life would have changed. Instead of millions of students learning Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, likely they could have had the Severn Fighting System. “It cost me $82,000 in one night to learn the valuable lesson on how I should have defended the guillotine choke. It has never happened again,” said Severn.