(Hopefully Walker won’t be in Dallas trying to take some kicks and punches at the Carolina Panthers this coming Monday night.)
Yes, that headline is correct. 47 year old Herschel Walker, the former Heisman Trophy winner, College Football Hall of Famer and 11 year NFL veteran, will be making a move to MMA, and he’s signed on to do so in Strikeforce.
(Wasn’t Walker also in the USFL with the New Jersey Generals?????)
According to a report from Ariel Helwani at MMA FanHouse, Walker has signed with the organization but no date is set as of yet. He will be training with the American Kickboxing Academy for the next eight to twelve weeks, and he’s expected to debut in the heavyweight division sometime in 2010.
Strikeforce director of communications Mike Afromowitz told Helwani, “This isn’t a publicity stunt or a gimmick. Herschel Walker has tremendous athleticism, and he has always shown that off the gridiron. He’s accomplished a lot in his life and in the world of sports. His accomplishments speak for themselves, and we hope that his athleticism can transition into a successful MMA career.”
Walker does have a martial arts background, as he holds a sixth-degree black belt in taekwondo. He played in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, going to two pro bowls during his career.
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Jamie Penick from pwtorch with Analysis: Walker’s got a fascinating life story. He’s always been physically gifted, and used that to get to major heights early in his NFL career. He’s been absolutely vilified in Minnesota Vikings lore due to the trade with the Dallas Cowboys that brought him here, though much of his “failure” in Minnesota came due to a coaching staff that had either no idea or no interest in using him properly. One very interesting aspect about Walker’s life is the fact that he suffers from what is now called “dissociative identity disorder,” which used to be referred to as multiple personality disorder. He’s 47 years old, but has expressed his interest in mixed martial arts for some time, and in fact discussed getting into a celebrity reality show for the sport back in 2007. I have no idea how he’ll fare against heavyweight fighters up to half his age or younger, but I can’t say I’m not intrigued by this. It may end up being a completely ill fated idea, but I can’t begrudge a man who keeps himself in the shape Walker does a chance to at least try. This will certainly bring some eyes and publicity to Strikeforce, to say the least.