“Ask Dan” #4: Worked Fights, Steroids, the Death Penalty, and Chuck Norris

Dan Severn Awesome Fan

(Yep. Just a couple of total badasses, right there.)

Do you know what today is, gentlemen? It’s the last day of Movember, which means that tomorrow you can finally shave your upper lip and return to a somewhat normal life. To celebrate, we’re proud to present the fourth and final installment of Dan Severn’s mailbag column, in which the famously-moustached UFC Hall of Famer shares his wisdom on worked fights, steroids, capital punishment, Chuck Norris’s beard, getting buck-ass naked in a parking lot, and more hot-button issues. Our deepest gratitude goes to Dan for gracing this website with his sense of humor and weird stories for the last month. Show him some love at DanSevern.com and his Facebook page.

But before we get into that, a couple parting notes about Movember. If you grew out an impressive mo’ this year, we encourage you to enter Break.com’s Show Off Your Mo contest for a chance to win a Samsung HD camera, and feel free to post a moustache pic on CagePotato’s Facebook wall. And if you still have some money left to donate, please consider doing it on KarmaAteMyCat’s CagePotato Mo Bro page. Karma’s tireless efforts have already raised $664 at the time of this writing — amazing work, bro — and he’s trying to break the $800 mark by the end of the day. Need more incentive than helping to fight testicular and prostate cancer? How ’bout this: Today’s biggest donor will receive a CagePotato t-shirt and, if you want it, a chance to write your own contributor column on CagePotato.

And now, the stunning conclusion of “Ask Dan”…

RwilsonR asks: Have you ever seen/been involved in/know anyone involved in any worked fights? Was this ever common practice with any promotions you have fought for?

DAN SEVERN: I’ve certainly been approached about being involved in an MMA “work.” I also have matches that people have called “works” for a variety of reasons, that weren’t at all. Sometimes I’ve toyed with my opponents instead of just going for the kill, which has maybe looked a little suspect. I’ve been involved with promotions in which I would carry an opponent into the second round before finishing them because it would make a better show. Now those were situations I decided on my own; my opponent had no idea that was happening. I’ve also had opponents hug me at the end of a match to thank me for not killing them. Sometimes when you outclass your opponent, there is a way to win that might not fit with what the viewer expects but it saves your opponent some embarrassment and makes for a better show.

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intercept 440 asks: Hey Dan, what do you make of Chael Sonnen testing positive for steroids? Do you believe Chael is a better wrestler than you?
[Ed. note: To be fair, Sonnen tested positive for an elevated level of testosterone that was never conclusively linked to steroid use.]

I actually did not know that Chael Sonnen tested positive for steroids but it’s unfortunate. I do believe that wrestlers have the upper hand in MMA because of their understanding of body control, which is more important than striking and submissions. When people test positive for steroids, I see that as a sign that they do not believe in their own capabilities. I’ve seen a number of chemically-enhanced fighters from my time-period, especially because there wasn’t any testing taking place. In fact, most of my losses — not all of them — came at the hands of people who were chemically-enhanced. If people get busted for steroids they likely don’t believe in their own abilities so they should probably move onto other things. You’re not a true champion if you have to take steroids in order to give you a physical or psychological edge.

flyingogoplata asks: Your stache versus Chuck Norris’s beard…who wins and how?

Actually, I think I just sent Chuck Norris a tweet recently. Believe it or not, I’ve had a Chuck Norris poster up in one of my weight rooms for a few years now. Truth be told though, Chuck Norris has so many cooler one liners attached to his name then Dan Severn has. For example, to my knowledge, no one has made a poster dedicated to the impressiveness of my mustache yet like they have for Chuck Norris. Maybe one day a poster will be made that gives my mustache the win but right now it’s Chuck’s world.

BuckWild asks: Being a world famous fighter has to provide some interesting and unusual moments. Please share one or two with us.

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Back when it was still the No Holds Barred-era I was took part in match located in a remote rock quarry. The weather was terribly stormy and there was a serious threat of lightning. The “locker room” for the fighters was literally the parking lot so I had to change and get buck-ass naked in between two cars. There I was putting on my cup and shorts while people were walking to and from their cars. I had to put my hoodie up for at least a little sense of privacy. When the match was finally getting ready to start I remember having to smack myself just to try and kill some of the mosquitoes that had started swarming around. The promotion didn’t even have any facilities to even go to the bathroom; however, the most pressing concern was resolved for most of the audience when the beer finally arrived.

Jesus Frijoles asks: Who is your favorite author?

There was a time when I was really into reading Alfred Hitchcock books — that would have been in my high school and collegiate years. After that, I started getting really into self-improvement books like the ones written by Anthony Robbins. I’m a big believer that the mind is the greatest asset that we have as humans. My professional life just became so complicated and I had taken on so much responsibility that self-improvement books were one of the ways that I learned to be more efficient at completing tasks and setting goals.

I’ve been setting goals since my freshmen year in highschool when I read my first amateur wrestling magazine. The first magazine I read really opened up my mind because there were a lot of things that I had never been exposed to before as an amateur wrestler. The magazine talked about the psychological aspects such as game planning and other important elements such as cardiovascular training and nutrition. I was blown away at how much knowledge there was to the sport that I hadn’t known before. When I started learning to ask “why” certain techniques were used in different situations, that’s really when my ability as a wrestler flourished. There are little nuances that I am able to add to many moves; the only way I’ve been able to create my own effective style is by understanding the “why.”

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DangadaDang asks: Do you believe in Hammurabi’s philosophy of “an eye for an eye” or are you more of a Bas Rutten “two eyes for an eye” kind of guy?

Well I do believe that there are always repercussions for the things that we decide to do, whether they are positive or negative. For instance, I believe in capital punishment in many cases. Right now in the United States we have an excess of a million people incarcerated, costing just shy of 30,000 a person. When you look at what they are contributing to society, it is absolutely nothing. People may say that capital punishment is inhumane but one needs to look at the inhumane act that was committed in the first place. I am a true believer that the world would be a better place if certain people were not here.

Speaking of which, intercept440 asks: How long do you think Joe Son will last in prison? and will he die from strangulation, shank, or a broken neck?

I think he will last in the sense that he will survive but there’s a good chance that he ends up as somebody’s bi-atch.

RwilsonR asks: What advice would you give to young aspiring athletes who would like to begin a professional career in MMA?

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Make sure you have a plan A, B, C and D to go along with it. Everybody starting in the game wants to become a champion and a superhero. However, the reality is, so does your opponent and someone’s going to come out on the short end of the stick. I’ve always looked at my MMA career as a hobby. Sometimes it’s become more than a hobby but that’s still how I’ve always tried to look at it. I had other things that were my mainstays; MMA was a diversion. If you do think that you stand a chance at being a champion or serious contender, you need to surround yourself with the right people to motivate you. A lot of young athletes have goals and aspirations but without the right help around you it’s going to be a hard road.