Mon, July 22

Former UFC Champion Dan 'The Beast' Severn pays a visit to Golden Cobra

GC Trainer <b>Robert Gonzales</b>, <b>Dan Severn</b>, and <b>Richard Williams</b> pose for a picture at Golden Cobra Center of Fitness in Cottonwood Wednesday. VVN/Sean Morris

GC Trainer <b>Robert Gonzales</b>, <b>Dan Severn</b>, and <b>Richard Williams</b> pose for a picture at Golden Cobra Center of Fitness in Cottonwood Wednesday. VVN/Sean Morris

COTTONWOOD--It's not everyday a former UFC champion makes his way to the Verde Valley, but Wednesday was one of those days.

Dan "The Beast" Severn was hanging out with Golden Cobra President Richard Williams to get a feel for the area.

Severn is based in Michigan, but he's considering spending more time in Arizona as a snowbird and he wants to promote events while he's here.

Severn attended ASU (two-time All American wrestler) and got his teaching certificate. He lived in AZ for a decade, so he's pretty familiar with the state.

"I'm here for several reasons. I started my own promotions company back in 1998 called the Danger Zone. I run a number of shows around the country, and the novelty of snow has long been worn out," said Severn. "Shoveling it, working it with a snow blower, so I want to spend my winters in a warmer climate; Maybe become that true snowbird. I have a property in Michigan and I have a property in Fountain Hills, so I'm looking at the opportunities to develop something and travel."

His MMA history speaks for itself. Severn is now an ambassador for the sport and he knows the history of MMA in America because he lived through it and was a big part of it.

Back when "The Beast" was fighting as a contender, he had to win several matches in one night to be crowned champion.

"The UFC had to change in order to exist," said Severn. "You had a number of politicians, legislators, and athletic commissioners that were coming down on the sport. They were referring to the sport as the decline of civilization-human cock fighting, those were just some of the descriptive terms that were utilized. The sport had to make changes and compromise to still be a viable commodity. Otherwise, we'd be talking about it in the past tense."

Severn was relentless and a great wrestler in those early years of the UFC. He got nicknamed "The Beast" by NFL Hall of Famer and former UFC commentator Jim Brown.

"The old style was called 'No Holds Barred'. The product that people watch today is knows as Mixed Martial Arts, and that has approximately 37 rules. There are weight classes, there are time periods, they wear gloves, and you can only fight one opponent in a given evening," said Severn. "Back in the No-Holds-Barred Era, there were two basic rules-do not bite your opponent and do not stick your fingers in their eye sockets."

Severn thrived in the old system. He became UFC Triple Crown Champion, and no one will ever be able to take that away from him.

"As the record shows, I'm the only Triple Crown Champion from that era, and since it's now illegal to do, it will last forever," said Severn. "Not too shabby for a guy that has never been in a fight in their entire life."

Severn is most known for his fighting career, but he wears many hats nowadays. He's coached for four decades; he helps train police, correctional officers and members of the military; he involves himself with community outreach to help kids; and he even substitute teaches.

"I'm a big advocate of any program that involves kids and youth and general," said Severn. "Kids don't get to pick who their parents are, they don't get to pick their situation, they are subjected to their environment, whether that's a single-parent household or a low-income household, and my heart goes out to kids."

A fighting seminar in Arizona taught by Severn could be in the near future, and the fighting landscape of the state intrigues the Triple Crown Champ.

"Arizona has produced more UFC competitors than any other state. Arizona State University has produced more competitors than any other university," said Severn. "Point Blank: what's in the water in the state of Arizona? I don't know, but I'm going to find out what's in that water."

To check out more about Dan Severn, visit his website at