Dan Severn Retired: Top 10 Moments from "The Beast's" Career
Long before "Beast Mode," there was "The Beast."
In fact, Dan "The Beast" Severn predates a lot of things. Motor cars, for example. The unified rules. Modest shorts. And this era of namby-pamby American men who don't want to fight for their beliefs or fight in rock quarries or drink six raw eggs every morning or wear mustaches in an unironic fashion.
Dan Severn may not have done all those things, but please don't trouble me with details. I don't know about you, but I came here to praise Dan Severn, not to bury him. And in that spirit, here are the 10 greatest moments from the Hall of Fame career of "The Beast."
10. Reality Submission Fighting 5
Date: Oct. 27, 2001
What, never heard of the RSF? Shame on you. Shame. Although in fairness, this event didn't make the list because of the RSF's prestige level. No, it's because it was during this event that Severn, in his 58th professional contest, handed a young man named Forrest Griffin the first defeat of his MMA career. Actually, it was Griffin's first pro fight of any kind.
The win over a dayglo-green Griffin wasn't too impressive back then. Looking back, though, it's kind of cool that Dan Severn beat a future UFC light heavyweight champion at the age of 43.
9. A Wrong of "Olympic" Proportions
How is this a great moment?
Because it turned Dan Severn into "The Beast."
A terrific interview with Severn published a few days ago by top MMA journalist Dave Meltzer reveals an interesting subplot from Severn's failed bid to make the 1984 Olympic wrestling team.
I won't recount the whole story here (and you should read it anyway), but suffice it to say Severn felt he didn't get a fair shake during the process. Subsequently, Severn turned very large and green and took his career and his anger in violent directions that ultimately led to a little place called The Octagon.
8. Grinding Down the Tank
Dan Severn's attack came on the end of a decidedly blunt instrument.
You bull your way in for a takedown, then hold the guy there. Maybe you slap him a little bit. Maybe you drop some knees or elbows. It's the move that launched a thousand Fitches. Jiu-jits-who? And, eh, so forth.
I'll admit to napping during Severn fights. But they were good naps. Naps where there were no nightmares, because Dan Severn was on patrol, road-grading bad guys into the steaming asphalt. In that way, this display over Tank Abbott at Ultimate Ultimate 95 was a classic Dan Severn victory. Even if it wasn't necessarily great in other ways.
7. Wherein Severn Pulpifies Oleg Taktarov's Head
Date: April 7, 1995
It's UFC 5. We're in the tournament semifinals. Dan Severn gains position on Russian combat sambo notable Oleg Taktarov, who was already fighting through a bad cut. Then Severn gets Taktarov against the fence and starts dropping knees on his head. These are from, like, point-blank range.
I remember watching the VHS of this one and thinking about how I thought that head was going to cave in. Finally, "Big" John called it off and everyone rushed to Taktarov, who was a bloody mess and needed some towels and stuff post-haste. Severn by TKO.
6. Kicking off the WEC
Date: June 30, 2001
Yes, Virginia, Dan Severn and Travis Fulton did fight each other.
It happened in the main event of WEC 1, code name: Princes of Pain. I bet "The Beast" was also there when they invented fire. He put his hand to the tinder, and it was so.
Severn decisioned the man who is, I'm pretty sure, the only big-time fighter with more wins than Severn (and if there are others, it's a really short list). The 247-49-10-1 Fulton actually went 0-3-1 against Severn in his career; they first tangled in 1998.
5. Chain Suplexes
Date: Dec. 16, 1994
It's UFC 4. It's Anthony Macias' first professional MMA fight. It's also Dan Severn's first professional MMA fight.
About 90 seconds in, Severn started the suplexes. Suplices. And once they started, they didn't stop for a while. It eventually ended with a chokeout submission.
4. His 100th Win
Date: April 16, 2011
As previously noted, this 100-win club is pretty exclusive. And Severn joined it after cranking the neck of a Mr. Aaron Garcia to top the century mark. And he was only 52.
3. The Second Superfight Champion
Date: May 17, 1996
Ah, the Detroit Dance.
Not only did Severn gain the championship at UFC 9, he also gained some sweet revenge over archrival Ken Shamrock, who had defeated him for the inaugural superfight title a year earlier.
Problem was, it is considered one of the worst fights ever in the UFC Octagon. But you know what? If you're one of those people who thinks that two fighters circling each other for half an hour with little contact of consequence "isn't art," then, bro, I'm sorry, but you just don't know. And if you were to click that link and find that I myself actually wrote a list essentially calling it the second-worst fight ever, why, it's a cyberhacking, it really is.
Either way, this was a hugely important line item for "The Beast's" resume. Severn was later defeated by Mark Coleman, a true apple from the Severn tree. After that, they changed the name of the title to the heavyweight championship. The line remains unbroken right up to Cain Velasquez today.
2. His First UFC Title
Date: April 7, 1995
Severn got his first taste of Octagon gold when he submitted Dave Beneteau to take the UFC 5 tourney. Between Beneteau, his pulping of Taktarov and a quarterfinal whooping of Joe Charles, Severn saw exactly 10 minutes of action that night.
1. Wins Rematch with Oleg Taktarov, Takes Ultimate Ultimate Tourney
Date: Dec. 16, 1995
Severn himself called this win "the pinnacle" of his career. That's good enough for me.
I mean, this is tough because a lot of Severn's fights weren't exactly picturesque. This top-control snoozer over Taktarov is not an exception, especially compared to their first match. So you sort of have to pick the championship-winning ones as opposed to the ones that made the permanent highlight reel.
Maybe Severn didn't have many highlight-reel performances. But he did have a highlight-reel career. A powerful wrestler who could smother striking and jiu-jitsu alike. Just a big, All-American fire blanket. And a mustache. Don't forget the mustache.
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