Tuesday, May 24, 2011 , Updated 12:00 a.m., June 17, 2011
Jack-of-all-trades Herschel Walker: Where is he now?
The esteemed footballer is now supporting Ultimate Fighting.
DALLAS In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Herschel Walker remains a household name. After winning the Heisman Trophy in the early '80s, Walker became a star running back in the currently-defunct United States Football League. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1985 where he rushed for 3,388 yards and was selected to two Pro-Bowls. However, Walker is perhaps most remembered for being the centerpiece of the largest player trade in NFL history. Following Jerry Jones’ acquisition of the Cowboys in 1989, Jones traded Walker for five players and a total of six draft picks (including two first round selections). This trade led to the prominence of the Cowboys in the coming decade.
While his success as a football player is well documented, Walker has pursued a number of other interests including Olympic bobsledding, performing with the Fort Worth Opera, and acting. Walker also appeared on the eighth season of Celebrity Apprentice, lasting nine rounds of elimination. He operates the aptly-named Renaissance Man Food Services, a minority-owned food supplier of poultry, pork, and bakery products.
Most recently, Walker has joined the world of professional mixed martial arts fighting and holds a 2-0 record, with two knockouts. He is currently in Dallas to observe the Strikeforce Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament Saturday, June 18 at the American Airlines Center. The quarterfinals of the tournament features champion Alistair Avereem vs Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett vs Brett Rogers.
Although he's a heavyweight fighter, Walker says he will not be scouting for his next opponent.
“I’m just going to enjoy the show. I always love Dallas, the warm weather, and the people,” he said. “I have a couple of the guys I train with fighting – Danny Cormier and Justin Wilcox.” He added, “Growing up in Georgia, I’m used to the warm weather. But in Texas it’s a different kind of heat.”
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Walker, known for his dedicated fitness regime even at the age of 49, has no current plans to fight in the immediate future and has not made a commitment to fight again. “I love the sport [of MMA] so I want to stay involved with it,” said Walker. “I want to really see the sport grow. So whether it’s in the promotional side or whatever I have to do bring a little more attention to it and the see athletes get a little more out of it than they do right now, I want to do that.”
In response to hall-of-fame fighter Mark Colman’s recently-expressed desire to make a fight, Walker indicated that he would follow the advice of his manager and promoter. Walker would only say, “I’m a competitor. I don’t back away from anything. I do what I’m told to do; I go out there and get it done.”
He remains optimistic about the future of Strikeforce, saying, “If you want to fight the best, you’ll have the opportunity to do it. It’s not like boxing. If you’re the best, you have to get in the octagon and show it.”
Although in the past Walker had been quoted as saying that he would consider a return to football, he quickly dismissed the possibility. “I’ve always joked around that when I’m 50, I’ll make a comeback. I enjoyed football, and it really has done so much for me. I love the sport. I still keep up with it, but I’ve really turned to MMA.”
When asked why he continues to push himself to pursue new endeavors, Walker answers, “I’m blessed. The Lord has blessed me and I love sports. I love athletics. I love the challenge of trying to make myself the best and putting myself to the test. You never know where you’re at until you put yourself to the test.”
Pegasus News Content partner - The Assignment Desk, DFW
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