Going Ringside Ep. 18: Butterbean, Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn

Three legendary fighters discuss careers plus a legendary challenge is made

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On this episode of “Going Ringside” three legendary fighters who performed in UFC, MMA and pro wrestling sit down to discuss their careers. Butterbean (real name Eric Esch), Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn join host Scott Johnson.

Butterbean wants Mike Tyson in retirement fight

Eric Esch aka “Butterbean” became known as a dominant boxer, kickboxer and mixed martial artist. But he also became memorable in pro wrestling during the famed “Attitude Era.”

Esch had some on camera time with Sable but he’s most memorable moment was a Wrestlemania XV in 1999. The World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) tried a tournament called “Brawl For All.” In that tournament they removed all the pre-scripted aspects of wrestling and had their fighters legitimately fight to see who the toughest man in the company really was. The move was widely criticized in the industry for exposing vulnerabilities of wrestlers in an industry that’s as much scripted entertainment as it is pro sport. One of the competitors, Marc Mero, spoke about it on Episode 10 of “Going Ringside”.

The winner of the tournament was a wrestler named Bart Gunn. After winning the tournament it was widely believed that Gunn was a dominant fighter. So WWF brought in Butterbean to face him. Butterbean was a world-renowned fighter at that time and knocked Gunn out in less than a minute. “Bart, he actually thought he was going to win,” said Butterbean. “It might have been eight, but it was pretty close to that 10-second mark.” The actual time of the fight was closer to 35 seconds. Still, a very quick KO.

During the interview Butterbean said he wants to have a very high profile retirement fight with “The Baddest Man on the Planet” Mike Tyson. “I’d love to fight Tyson still,” said Butterbean. “I’m hoping because when Tyson and Roy Jones fought, Roy Jones was having trouble passing a physical. So they called me. But my big butt was in a wheelchair. Two hundred pounds heavier. And I couldn’t do it. So now I’m ready to go.” But Butterbean has since lost the weight and gotten in much better shape.

Ken Shamrock

Ken Shamrock a.k.a. “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” rejoined the podcast. You can hear Shamrock’s story on Episode 8 of “Going Ringside”.

Shamrock is currently developing a new fighting league. It’s called Valor BK. It removed gloves as “BK” stands for bare knuckle. Shamrock plans to make an announcement on a likely fight in Jacksonville in the fourth quarter of this year.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry detailed a meeting he had with Shamrock on getting that type of fighting authorized in Jacksonville during Episode 17 of “Going Ringside”.

Shamrock became known in the wrestling world in the late 90′s when he joined WWF. “It was a struggle at first,” said Shamrock. “Because even though I think Dan was doing it earlier and so was I. I went under a different name, Vince Torrelli. But with the stardom that I had captured in Japan and UFC becoming the face of the organization.”

“During that time people didn’t see wrestling and mixed martial arts even in the same sentence,” said Shamrock. He said he received heavy criticism from the fighting world when he first crossed over to face opponents like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock.

Dan “The Beast” Severn

The other member of the panel is someone Shamrock knew quite well. That was Dan “The Beast” Severn. Like Shamrock, Severn was one of the early pioneers of UFC. Both are considered some of the greatest UFC fighters of all time. Severn crossed over into mainstream popularity in the WWF shortly after Shamrock. He feuded with the likes of Shamrock, Owen Hart and Steve Blackmon.

Severn said he started wrestling in 1992. He said a new Olympic rule was passed down that allowed amateur wrestlers to also be pro wrestlers at the same time. When Severn arrived in WWF he said he was “their oldest rookie ever.”

During the podcast Severn speculated on what will happen with the new UFC/WWE merger. “Look at this recent merger with the UFC and now WWE coming together,” said Severn. “The very first thought is you will have a number of these fighters that will cross over and become professional wrestlers. But you will not see it go the other way. The last person that tried to do that was called CM Punk. And it kind of fell on flat ears with that one.”

Severn believes fighters will be willing to perform in wrestling storylines and matches but wrestlers would become vulnerable in real fights. Kind of like the lessons that were learned during that “Brawl For All” tournament mentioned above.

Severn said he now does a lot of speaking engagements for groups like law enforcement and military teaching people how to physically deal with violence.

About the Author:

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.