Where Are They Now? Dave “Dangerous” Beneteau
By Kelsey Mowatt
It’s been ten years since Dave “Dangerous” Beneteau last competed, over fifteen since he made his Octagon debut at UFC 5, and the 44 year-old Canadian is the first to admit that he still isn’t completely over fighting. While Beneteau has successfully transitioned into a career in law, first practicing as a criminal defense lawyer and now as a corporate attorney, the retired fighter continues to turn to MMA for his competitive fix.
“I think I probably speak for a lot of guys in many sports, you don’t ever willingly accept retirement,” said Beneteau, who stopped Todd Medina and Asbel Cancio at UFC 5 in April, 1995, before being submitted by Dan Severn. “I think it’s something where common sense at some point has to prevail over the reality that your body isn’t what it used to be…You have to think realistically whether you can beat some of the better guys in the world, and if the answer is questionable, you have to start thinking about plan B.”
“I still roll three times a week with some of the up-and-comers here in Toronto,” Beneteau added. “I think on some level that satisfies my craving.”
After scoring a 3-4 record in his first seven pro bouts, Beneteau closed out his career by going 3-1-1, earning victories over Carlos Barreto, Patrick Smith and Joe Campanella, before losing to Tim Catalfo in his final fight.
“I enjoyed every fight,” Beneteu told FCF while discussing the highlights of his career. “When you’re a fighter you never really think back about the fights you won, you think about the fights you lost. I’m haunted by my losses to Oleg Taktarov.”
“As far as stats are concerned, my best victory might have been the win over Carlos Barreto at UFC 15,” the accomplished freestyle wrestler added. “He was undefeated at the time and had pretty much beaten anybody that I had lost to at that point…that was a memorable moment for me. Obviously my first UFC, fighting as an alternate, and making it to the finals was special too.”
Of course, mixed-martial-arts was a much different sport when Beneteau was competing, as not only were the rules much less restrictive, but many competitors at the time had only just begun to train in various disciplines.
“In my view, it is a completely different game,” said Beneteau while discussing the sport then and now. “Are they more well rounded today? There is no style today other than MMA….There are no more guys that come to the UFC without a core style of MMA. It’s punching, kicking and ground. What amazes me is that it’s evolved into more of a stand-up game, and I think it’s evolved that way because a lot of guys are generally speaking weak in takedowns and wrestling. It’s much more exciting today though, don’t get me wrong.”
“I think in the 90’s it was much more of a human cock fight, much bloodier, much more of a blood sport then it is today,” Beneteau noted. “You have rounds, you have rules, you have weight classes; it is a distant cousin of what the original UFC was.”
In addition, the popularity of the sport has exploded, and many fighters today no longer hold down ‘day jobs’ to support their fighting careers.
“I’m assuming they make more money today; I’m not certain what they make, but I can say that back in the 90’s we made nothing and I kept fighting,” said Beneteau. “I will say that we all should have been paid a lot more money….I think the time and commitment it takes to make it in the UFC is a full time commitment, and I hope that if they are making more money today it’s not just the top tier guys.”
While many observers would likely agree that MMA’s top stars are far better off financially today than they were ten, or even five years ago, in comparison to many other sports, however, there remains speculation as to what fighters actually earn.
“There’s no collective bargaining in place,” said Beneteau. “I’m an old school union guy. I used to be a negotiator for the public service when I was a paramedic, I also was a union president for years, and to be honest the process on how they get compensated and the merit of compensation, as to who gets what and why, is cloaked in secrecy.”
“I think there should be more transparency,” the Universal Vale Tudo vet furthered. “Just to ensure that the fighters are getting paid fairly. I know the UFC is not hurting for money, there is no lack of success there, so I would like to see, just to make sure, that the success follows through for the fighter’s pay days.”
Of course, with news recently that the UFC has signed a long term, broadcasting deal with Fox, MMA continue to make serious inroads into mainstream society. Beneteau believes, however, that there is one more significant hurdle for the sport to overcome.
“I don’t think it ever can be considered a cornerstone of the mainstream until it becomes an Olympic sport,” said Beneteau, who recently was certified to become a MMA official in the Province of Ontario. “I think if it was an Olympic sport, it would impress upon it the credentials and noteworthiness that it needs to be a first class sport. In my mind and heart it already is.”