Severn was a mainstay in the early days of the UFC. He was the first man in the organization to show the true strength of amateur wrestling. His fights showed that martial arts weren't all fancy kicks and karate chops, and that being able to take people down and control them was essential.
Severn elaborated on the circumstances of his retirement:
The number one goal I set for myself in 2012 was to be finished with my Mix [sic] Martial Arts Competition career. I was attempting to do my own self-directed retirement tour in the last couple of years reaching out to only three people...Mark Coleman, Ken Shamrock, and Royce Gracie. I spoke to two of them directly (Mark and Ken), and through representative (MGR) for Royce. It seems as though these matches will not take place for whatever reasons and my life will go on to the next chapter.
Coleman, Shamrock, and Gracie were three of Severn's biggest foes.
A stalwart Royce Gracie weathered Severn's attack for over 15 minutes in the finals at UFC 4. Gracie eventually caught the wrestler in a triangle choke and won the tournament.
Ken Shamrock handed Severn his second loss in the Octagon, making him tap to a guillotine choke in only two minutes, 14 seconds. However, Severn claimed revenge at UFC 9, edging Shamrock in a split decision.
Severn and Mark Coleman fought in the first-ever UFC heavyweight title fight. Coleman defeated Severn via a neck crank.
"The Beast" may have faded into obscurity after that fight, but he didn't succumb to inactivity. Over the course of his career he racked up over 100 victories inside the cage and fought in over 120 matches total.
In fact, it was Severn who welcomed former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin into professional MMA. Severn defeated Griffin in the latter's pro debut.
Severn's in-cage accolades—UFC 5 tournament champion, Ultimate Ultimate 1995 tournament champion, UFC Superfight champion—are commendable, but what he did outside the cage was just as important.
It's these outside-the-cage tasks that Severn seeks to continue in earnest now that he's retired:
I will still be involved with MMA working with various companies to support the industry, and help take it on to the next level in such roles as: Play by play color commentator, Commissioner, Goodwill Ambassador, doing appearances, etc, etc.. just no longer the competitor. The MMA workshops and seminars will continue.
Just as Apollo Creed told Rocky Balboa, "It's too bad we gotta get old," it is too bad that the legends of UFC's early days must succumb to corporal decay. Fortunately for Severn, he escaped the sport without any serious maladies, and his legacy will live on as long as the sport itself.