Dan Severn brings search to Calgary
By SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun
TOUGH GUY ... You'd never know by talking to Dan 'The Beast' Severn that he's one of the toughest men on the planet. -- Jack Cusano, Calgary Sun
To hear Dan Severn talk, you'd never know he's one of the toughest men on the planet.
The soft-spoken, often comical Severn doesn't conjure up memories of 'The Beast' -- until he enters The Octagon.
In fact, the Ultimate Fighting Championship's only triple-crown winner (UFC V, Ultimate Ultimate and the UFC Superbout) had to convince promoters to let him into the event.
The promoters thought Severn, an amateur wrestler, might be in over his head against the meanest, baddest men on earth.
"I filled out an application from a martial-arts magazine but got no reply," the 42-year-old recalls.
"Then I was going out to Los Angeles for a pro wrestling match, so a promoter came and watched."
After the match, the promoter went to great lengths to describe how dangerous the UFC was. This was no amateur wrestling match, he said. This was real.
Severn brushed off the lecture and told the promoter about life in the real wrestling world.
"I told him about this time I went over to Istanbul, Turkey, as a member of a U.S. all-star team."
Severn, then 17, was expecting to battle another teenager. Instead, he found himself up against a 35-year-old military giant.
"He was pacing back and forth like a caged animal. He came out, grabbed the back of my head and head-butted me. He split my forehead wide open and then ripped out a clump of my hair and threw it on the mat.
"I'm thinking, 'OK, he's going to be disqualified.' But I get a warning for passivity! This is 15 seconds into the match. I'm wondering what he's going to do to me over the next eight minutes and 45 seconds."
Severn ended up breaking his opponent's nose a few seconds later.
"I told the promoter, 'Hey, you've got an official who understands my language and a doctor no more than 20 feet away.'
"I've been injured far worse in amateur and pro wrestling than I ever have in a mixed martial arts event.
"Mixed martial arts has been around for 80 years and there's been one recorded death (in Russia). In boxing, there's probably been 300 to 400 deaths over that period."
Severn, who still fights at least once a month at locations throughout the world, has teamed up with reigning female world champion Becky Levi to form The Danger Zone, a mixed martial arts production.
The pair is in Calgary to find a few good men who are willing to climb in the cage and prove their skills.
Over the years, the UFC has evolved into more of a boxing-type card, Severn says. "And I don't want to be a part of that."
The Danger Zone closely scrutinizes potential fighters to ensure spectators will see a safe, quality bout.
GET INVOLVED: If you want to apply to become a Danger Zone fighter, register at Cowboys tomorrow at 4 p.m. Participants will have 10 minutes to display their skills. The ring will be left up after the trials and fans will be able to have their photos taken with Severn and his belts.
WIN TICKETS: To win tickets to two VIP parties (tonight, 9-11 p.m., at Cowboys and Sunday's Feast With The Beast, 7-9 p.m. at The Drink), e-mail your answer to the following trivia question to firstname.lastname@example.org: Name two of the three opponents Severn beat to win his UFC title belts.