Dan Severn retired in 2012 with a caveat. He was still interested in three potential matchups and would have returned to competition for any one of them.
So when Severn was contacted by a new promotion last fall proposing a fight with Shamrock, he jumped at the chance. Severn agreed and so did Shamrock. The two were supposed to complete their trilogy at UR Fight's event Sunday in Phoenix.
But last week, Shamrock pulled out, claiming he was injured. Severn, 57, was incensed, because he had a legitimate training camp in preparation for this grudge match, working out up to four times per day.
"I'm frustrated," Severn said. "I'm pissed about this whole deal here now, because I feel like I've been strung along."
UR Fight got Tank Abbott, another former UFC standout, to take Shamrock's place. But Abbott was unable to pass his medicals and Severn was left without an opponent. Severn will still be at UR Fight on Sunday to greet fans, but instead of him against Shamrock the MMA bout will be Shannon Ritch against Mavrick Harvey, per spokesperson Wendy Abbott. Roy Jones Jr. headlines the online PPV in a boxing match against Vyron Phillips and Chael Sonnen will grapple Michael Bisping.
"The Beast" questions how Shamrock could be injured since his last fight, against Royce Gracie at Bellator 149 on Feb. 19, ended in the first round by TKO when Shamrock appeared to be accidentally kneed in the groin. Shamrock was contesting the result with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) due to the alleged low blow.
Severn thinks Shamrock was bluffing -- about getting hit in the groin, his injury and the fact that he intended on competing at UR Fight.
"I'm just speculating," Severn said. "Maybe he's got iron balls and it takes a while to register through his iron balls. As I look at it right now, are his injuries due to his balls or does he simply have no balls to step into the cage with me?"
In reality, Shamrock was suspended for 90 days by the TDLR after failing a drug test before the fight with Gracie. The Arizona Boxing and MMA Commission would not have licensed him to fight Severn anyway. That doesn't make Severn feel any better.
"Shame on him for going that route," Severn said of Shamrock's alleged drug use. "I've said it time and time again. I am very proud of the fact that I am lifetime chemical free."
Severn (101-19-7), a former UFC Superfight champion, said he hit the gym hard leading into this fight and was walking around at about 270 pounds, near the heavyweight cut-off of 265. He really wanted to have an impressive showing and facing Shamrock, who is 1-1 against in his career, was a major motivating factor.
"I'm coming out of retirement," Severn said. "This might be the last match people ever see of Dan Severn. I am not going to embarrass myself. I'm ging to unleash a product that will make people go, 'Holy hell, what does this 58-year-old guy eat that allows him to do what he does?'"
Abbott wasn't really a name that intrigued Severn as an opponent and neither did any of the other potential replacements when Abbott pulled out. He wanted Shamrock and was disappointed as soon as he found out it wouldn't happen.
"That's what pisses me off so much -- it's that I know how much that I've put into this," Severn said. "Really, I'm still going back to it that I'm more pissed at Ken than anything, because he's the primary reason I came out of retirement."
Shamrock is only suspended for three months and has now fought twice for Bellator in his comeback run, losing both. So maybe a fight between Severn and Shamrock could still happen in that promotion. Severn, though, is confident that, especially now, Shamrock won't accept the fight.
"I doubt if it will happen," Severn said. "I think once he finds out how hard I worked out with, what my weight was down to, he won't fight me."
Severn only wanted to return against Coleman, Shamrock or Gracie. Coleman has been checked off the Michigan native's list because of his physical issues and multiple hip surgeries. Gracie is still out there, competing for Bellator as well, but the difference in weight would be vast. Shamrock seemed to be the one that made the most sense for Severn. And it almost happened. Maybe.
"I call it the Shamrock sham," Severn said. "I don't think he really had any true intentions [of fighting] and he strung a bunch of people along. He won't be getting a Christmas card from me this year. He's been a bad boy.
"If I had a chance to have him in the cage right now, I think everyone would be throwing the towel in for Ken because of what I would want to do to him."