In case you missed it -- Herschel can fight
So 47-year-old Herschel Walker's mixed martial arts debut at Strikeforce Miami went down the way we thought it would -- with the former NFL star overwhelming a young and eager but ultimately limited Greg Nagy.
Anybody here surprised at Walker's strength, conditioning and explosiveness?
Well you shouldn't have been. As an NFLer his training regimen was legendary, and clearly he hasn't scaled back his training since retiring from pro football in 1997. Medical tests before this fight revealed he's fitter at 47 than most pro athletes are in their primes.
He also chose his parents very wisely.
The man was born with world-class athletic talent, which includes the ability to learn new skills, and while he has slowed some since the Minnesota Vikings mortgaged their future to acquire him, world class at 47 still beats mediocre at 25.
What actually did surprise me was how well Walker fought on the ground.
Who would have thought that after a lifetime spent breaking tackles Walker would be so adept at taking people down? And who knew that a lifelong striker -- Walker has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do -- would escape submission attempts so calmly. Granted, he wasn't facing Frank Mir, but guys do get caught in submissions, and Walker managed not to.
So what's next for the fighter who won a Heisman Trophy even before his opponent was born?
Hopefully not many more fights.
Understand that Saturday's bout thoroughly entertained me, and I don't think I'd tire of watching Walker wallop softies like Nagy.
But the prospect of matching Walker with another such opponent puts Strikeforce in an awkward position.
The can line up a few more stiffs for Walker to dominate, drawing big ratings but risking the organization's credibility.
Or they can treat him like any other contender, progressively moving him into tougher bouts, maintaining their matchmaking integrity but risking an NFL legend's health.
Now I realize Walker has a right to make a living, and that if doctors pronounce him fit to fight we can't tell him he shouldn't.
But I also realize that he's not Brock Lesnar or even Bobby Lashley. I don't know how he'd react to a muay thai kick to the forehead and, honestly, I don't want to know. But I do know I don't want to see him looking like Diego Sanchez did after his bout with B.J. Penn.
Walker is a tremendous athlete who is clearly learning in a hurry, but the truth is at 47 his upside is limited and so is his future in a sport that, aside from UFC's upcoming Battle of the Aged, has no room for a seniors' tour.