If you think that Bellator 149's main event on Feb. 19, 2016 between Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock is a one-off freakshow, allow "The Beast" to disabuse you of that notion.
Dan Severn, 57, retired in 2013 with an astounding mixed martial arts (MMA) record of 101-19-7. A loser in both the UFC 4 and UFC 6 tournament finals with Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock, respectively, Severn is taking the outcome of Bellator 149 very seriously.
"I think there is an appetite for, I don't know, call it a masters division, like they have in other sports," Severn told MMAjunkie.com. "And as long as its done right and those masters compete against other masters, 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."
When asked if he'd be interested in fighting the winner of Gracie vs. Shamrock III, the "Beast" would welcome a rubber match against Shamrock or a second opportunity against the Brazilian.
"Well, they were on my to-do list in the first place," Severn said. "So sure, I'd do it."
Although it might seem ridiculous putting the pioneers of MMA into the headline slot of mainstream fighting organizations like Bellator, the numbers certainly don't lie.
Spike TV set a record 2.4 million viewers during the Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock main event at Bellator 138, which included 1.6 million eyeballs on the entire fight card. That kind of viewership can only go up with the drawing power of the legendary Royce Gracie, who is widely viewed as the prodigal son of MMA and the founding attraction of UFC.
As pointed out by Fightland's Jeff Harder, it was Gracie's submission of Severn at UFC 4 that really launched him into the realm of myth. After taking 16 consecutive minutes of abuse from Severn (no rounds or breaks back then), the 27-year-old Jiu-Jitsu black belt landed what might be the first triangle choke captured on camera.
What do you think? Is there room for a "master's division" in MMA in the same vein as old-timer's hockey? Or should we nip this whole thing in the bud before somebody gets submitted by heart attack?
Sound off below!