Etc. Magazine Spotlight

Severn’s Samurai

Fighting an army of angels with the scariest man in the world.

Picture, for a moment, the following scenario: society has completely collapsed. All the scriptures were correct – the whole seven seals business, the horsemen, all of it – and now everything is just desolate, trashed. The vengeful gods have come down from the skies, having seen just about enough of us, and decided to clear house. But we’ve still got a dog in the fight; we’re still knocking around, occasionally being menaced by seraphim. We owe it to ourselves to have one last crack at defeating the heavens. Surely we haven’t got this deep into our run as a species to take that sort of behaviour lying down?

How would we do it? The solution is obvious: nominate a celebrated mixed martial artist on behalf of the human race to build and train an elite fighting squad capable of repelling our angelic conquerors.

And while that may seem like a fairly redundant next step to point out, of course that’s Step One, it’s much harder to move on to Step Two: finding the right fighting coach.

Luckily, we’ve found the perfect man for the job: Dan ‘The Beast’ Severn, the UFC Hall of Famer, NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion and two-time All-American college grappler. A man who could, and I’ll put this as bluntly as possible so as to avoid ambiguity, beat the shit out of anyone.

We wargamed this exact scenario with Severn and, to jump-start his teambuilding, provided the Beast with seven fighter candidates who we thought may appeal. With his keenly trained eye, Severn studied their frames, flaws and fundamentals, analysing them through his own inimitable, battle-­hardened rubric. On the following page are his frank assessments.

We even settled on a name for the fight squad. A seven-strong crew led by Dan Severn, comprised of noble, fearsome warriors – samurai if you will – for a team titled, you guessed it, ‘Dirty Dan’s Ruff‘n’Tuff Brawl Brigade’.


Name: Duncan Ferguson
Profession: Footballer
The Beast says: ‘He’s athletically fit, so he’s way ahead of most people. Is he trainable? Yeah, but since he’s clearly something of a scuffler, I don’t know if I could control the mind aspect of him.’
Verdict: IN


Name: Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor
Profession: Darts legend
The Beast says: ‘He has precision, he has good sight, good coordination, but as for the fight game, there’s a big question mark over his physical development. No point being good at looking forward if the punches are going to be coming from all angles.’
Verdict: OUT


Name: Steve McFadden
Profession: Being Phil Mitchell
The Beast says: ‘It looks like he might’ve had one too many pints! I’m looking at a couple of things: he looks his age, he’s older, yeah he looks aggressive but that’s not good enough for the fight game. Drinks his own Kool Aid if he thinks he’s a real tough guy. I’m going with my gut, he’s off the squad.’
Verdict: OUT


Name: Denise van Outen
Profession: Light entertainment personality
The Beast says: ‘I can’t have her in the goon squad, because – and I hate to be discriminatory here – a female doesn’t have the power that a male has. Nothing against her, she could be the toughest chick in the world, but I need all males for this.’
Verdict: OUT


Name: Pharrell Williams
Profession: Rapper, singer, music producer
The Beast says: ‘I don’t like him already because he’s got his pants halfway down – this speaks volumes to me. If you can’t represent yourself well enough, don’t be on my squad.’
Verdict: OUT


Name: Uri Geller
Profession: Psychic, MJ’s confidante
The Beast says: ‘He may be able to bend things with his mind, I do it with my hands! I see his frailty and he looks more like a liability to me. He may be able to go and sit in the corner and work the room with his psychic powers, but the first guy to punch him in the head would negate that supernatural ability of his.’
Verdict: OUT


Name: Siegfried and Roy (inc. tiger)
Profession: Tempting fate
The Beast says: ‘Didn’t their tiger attack one of them? If they can’t handle one of their own pets turning on them, how are they going to handle the enemy? They’d spend more time in hair and make-up than in the fight pit training. They’re gone, out of the squad.’
Verdict: OUT

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