Dan “The Beast” Severn, a three-time UFC champion, hall of famer and one of the pioneers of the octagon has officially retired from MMA competition. At 54 years old, he leaves the sport with a record of 101-19-7.
Severn first announced his retirement back in November 2012 and confirmed his retirement on his website.
I first saw Severn fight back in 1998. One night my stepdad had rented UFC 6: Clash of the Titans. After spending most of the event booing “Tank” Abbott, we watched as Severn fought Ken Shamrock – who along with the Beast was appearing on WWF television – fight for the UFC Superfight championship.
Shamrock had won the fight and without any other information or backstory on the Beast, I had no idea that Severn was an accomplished amateur or professional wrestler who had won the previous UFC tournament and made it to the finals back at UFC 4, losing to tournament champion and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guru Royce Gracie.
While Shamrock and Gracie are regarded as the men who helped build the UFC, Severn was kind of an unsung hero. He was the first fighter with a great amateur wrestling background to gain success in the octagon.
Over the course of his 18-year career, he has fought in almost every major promotion. In addition to facing legends like Gracie, Shamrock and Abbott, Severn fought champions like Forrest Griffin, Josh Barnett and Jeremy Horn back when they were young prospects. He also has experience as a referee.
Aside from his success inside of the cage, Severn has trained several of today’s top stars and runs the Michigan Sports complex to prepare athletes for all kinds of combat sports. He also stresses the importance of proper training to young fighters.
In addition to his success in MMA, Severn is an accomplished professional wrestling, winning the NWA World Heavyweight championship on two occasions and being a member of their hall of fame.
Severn spent the last year hoping to have rematches with Shamrock, Gracie and Mark Coleman but it never came to fruition. Although he is done with competition, Severn said he will continue to be involved with mixed martial arts whether it is behind the scenes work as a commissioner or as a trainer.
What is your favorite Dan Severn memory? Answer with a question below or send a tweet to @alstover with the hashtag #RantMMA.