Dan Severn Describes WWE Contract Negotiations With Vince McMahon

A Hall of Famer with both the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the National Wrestling Alliance, Dan Severn found great success in both MMA and professional wrestling. After an outstanding career as an amateur wrestler, "The Beast" made his mark as a pro wrestler initially in the National Wrestling Alliance, where he won the company's biggest prize — the NWA World's Heavyweight Championship — twice.


During his first reign as champion, Severn appeared in WWE in June 1997 as a color commentator during a match between fellow MMA star Ken Shamrock and Billy Gunn. The following year, Severn made his in-ring debut for WWE while continuing to perform in the NWA. Severn recently spoke with Wrestling Inc. Senior News Editor Nick Hausman about his time in WWE. As WWE tried to lock him in for a deal, Severn caught wind of the-WWE Chairman Vince McMahon's interest in signing younger talent to long-term contracts, and maintained a secret: his age.

"Vince wants someone in their early-to-mid-30s, maybe at the latest, knowing that they got a decade or more that they're going to be working with them," Severn explained. He was already past that age at the time, and did his best to hide it, but the truth would soon come to light through a discussion with McMahon and then-head of talent relations Jim Ross during Severn's contract negotiation. Ultimately, however, the negotiation was successful, and Severn garnered a "very unique contract."


"My terms was, I did not want to be a full-time wrestler," he said. "I didn't want to work 187 dates. I think that was the average contract at that time was working 187 dates."