Dan Severn has tasted defeat before, but none have been as stunning or as memorable as those he suffered at the hands of Royce Gracie (at UFC 4) and Ken Shamrock (at UFC 6). Severn, now 57, entered retirement in 2013 and is the proud owner of an impressive MMA record (101-19-7). However, the results of the Gracie-Shamrock III come February 19, 2016 just might bring “The Beast” out to play. You heard that right: Dan Severn would come out of retirement to face the winner of Gracie vs. Shamrock III.
In an interview with MMAJunkie.com, Severn said that he believes there is a growing interest in what he calls the masters division in mixed martial arts. He further stated that done right, a division where masters can compete against fellow masters can draw a crowd. He does concede that pitting an older fighter with another fighter half his age will not be realistic. According to Severn, an older fighter, regardless of his abilities, will still be carrying an arsenal of diminishing skills.
“I think it’s something people want to see. You just can’t put the 50-year-old guy against a 25- or 30-year-old guy, because the reality is that no matter how good your skills are, they are diminishing.”
Asked if he would consider fighting whoever wins Gracie v. Shamrock III, Severn says he would welcome the opportunity since both fighters remain in his personal to-do list. Although a lineup that puts MMA pioneers as headliners on a mainstream organization such as Bellator may seem ridiculous, the numbers say otherwise.
Bellator 168’s main event featuring Kimbo Slice v. Ken Shamrock boasted a record-setting 2.4 million viewers. Having Royce Gracie on the main card will certainly push those numbers even higher. After all, it was Gracie who maneuvered what may have been the earliest triangle choke ever captured on TV that resulted in a submission by Severn. So is a MMA master’s division a plausible future for a sport?