Thursday, September 24, 2009
It was nice knowing Herschel Walker
Former NFL star Herschel Walker, 47, has signed with MMA organization Strikeforce. I always thought that Ric Flair would be the first man I ever saw die in the ring, but it looks like it'll actually be Herschel Walker. Apollo Creed didn't learn his lesson, either.
Herschel Walker, who retired in 1997 because he was beat the fuck up, didn't catch on when Charles Barkley said that "you don't get better when you're retired." Maybe one of Herschel's other personalities heard Charles and neglected to tell him. But he'd have to be crazy to consider this move, because who retires from a violent contact sport after a long and injury-filled career, waits 13 years, then starts a career in a more violent sport? He's not putting on the pads again to get tackled, he's stepping into the ring with people who are going to actually punch him. In the face. Hard.
Sure, he's into martial arts (he competed in tournaments in college and is currently a fifth-degree black belt in tae kwon d0), but I wouldn't have recommended this to him while he was in his prime. I don't even watch MMA all that often and I can tell you that guys with that kind of fighting background don't do all that well in MMA. It's all about wrestlers, because all those jump kicks don't mean shit when a guy is on your back.
Speaking of wrestlers, people instantly started comparing the whole thing to Randy Couture, because he happens to be 46. Some key points, though: Randy Couture also happens to be getting his ass kicked a lot more (lost 5 of his last 9 fights), Randy Couture is a wrestler, which has allowed him to last this long, and Randy Couture isn't in his first fight. People were critical of Kurt Angle's rumored move into MMA at 37, and he's an Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler. And Herschel thinks he's gonna take the MMA world by storm? Get the fuck outta here. It doesn't take long to get exposed as a joke in MMA. Just ask Kimbo Slice.
Chuck Liddell is 40. He's lost four of his last five. Ken Shamrock is 45 and has lost eight of his last 11. Tank Abbott is 44 and lost 7 of 9. These are once great fighters, getting smacked the fuck up. Shamrock and Abbott aren't even fighting against top competitors anymore, although to be fair, did Tank Abbott ever count as "great?"
People used to ask Goldberg about starting in MMA, too, and he was smart enough to give the following answer: "I'd love to, especially if I was 21 or even 29, but these guys are so far ahead of me in terms of experience." And that's not saying Goldberg can't fight, but Goldberg knows his limits. Bill, talk sense to your Bulldog Brethren. It's easy for tough guys to think that they can do it until you realize that a highly trained fighter is about to blast them in the face with the meathook attached to their wrist. They're not fighting crazy drunks anymore, although I'm sure Tank is willing to sign on the dotted line.
Then again, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because this is a sport that put a limbless man in the cage just a few months ago. For those wondering, he didn't win.
Some might say that Herschel is being brave by opening a new chapter of his life in this fashion; that it takes guts to do what he's doing. I don't know who those people are, but they probably all work for Strikeforce. They'll wipe their tears with the proceeds of the DVD of his debut fight.
Is that why he's doing it? For the money? After all, people accused him of this when he wrote his book about having multiple people living in his head, while never showing any outward signs of multiple personality disorder. I'm not saying that everyone who has it turns into a screaming green giant, but come on. Someone should be backing up that story. But his "crazy" dovetails nicely into his joining a sport where you have to be no less than halfway out of your fucking mind to get into. Look, Herschel, if it's for the money, you don't have to do this. We can take up a collection or something. Times just can't be that hard.
Dana White, for all of his dickishness, is completely right to rip Strikeforce for this signing. People can say all they want about letting Couture or Liddell continue to fight, but those are experienced fighters, and he practically forced Liddell into retirement since he's gotten older (and started taking more beatings). They're not making their debuts. And to let Herschel Walker start fighting in their rings at 47 is a black eye for the sport. This isn't George Foreman winning the heavyweight title at 45. This isn't the event that's finally going to put Strikeforce on the map.
I mean, unless something goes really wrong. I'm sure their execs will be okay with that, too.