Walker uses star power to hype fight


Herschel Walker is far from the biggest star in mixed martial arts. He is, however, one of the most famous people to legitimately attempt to compete in the sport.

Walker is making the most of that star power to hype his Jan. 30 Strikeforce debut against Greg Nagy in suburban Miami.

The former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner spent two days in New York last week talking to just about every form of media and holding a news conference with his trainer.

Walker's publicity tour included stops on "The Howard Stern Show," "Fox and Friends" on Fox News, and several of ESPN's shows.

Still, he insists his MMA career is not about publicity.

"People that talk about (this is a publicity stunt) don't even know me. That's why I always tell people to come and join me or come and work out with me. Then you'll see who I really am," Walker told The Associated Press.

He was quick to point out another former athlete who gave less than his all in an ill-fated attempt at MMA.

"There have been some athletes that have been totally an embarrassment. Jose Canseco, it's insulting, the guy never trained," Walker said of the former baseball star, who lost a farcical bout in Japan in July. "I'm a guy that's serious about this. This is fighting; you get hurt."

Walker has made one concession to his age at 47, though he says it's more about the sport's demands than his age.

"I used to come home and my mom was always wanting me to take a nap, but I thought naps were for little babies. I never took a nap after football practice," he said at the New York news conference. "When I come home after MMA practice, I'm taking a nap.

''(Training) is very demanding. From the time you hit the gym until the time you leave is very stressful. You're using every muscle in your body," Walker said.

NO CHANGE -- Lyoto Machida set off an Internet frenzy Monday when he posted on Twitter that his May 1 Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title defense against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in Montreal might be moved to a new date.

The common thought was that the UFC would not want to compete with a potential Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Shane Mosley fight that might be scheduled for May 1.

UFC president Dana White said via text message Monday night that UFC 113 will remain in its scheduled slot.

"We are going May 1st still," White wrote.

The UFC 113 lineup might get even better as welterweight Josh Koscheck tweeted Monday that he will fight Paul Daley on the card. The winner of that bout probably would be in line to face the winner of the March 27 welterweight title fight between Georges St. Pierre and Dan Hardy.

FRANKLIN SURGERY -- Rich Franklin will miss six to eight weeks after undergoing hernia surgery on Jan. 12.

The UFC star had put off the procedure because of a busy fight schedule, but he opted for surgery after headlining three cards in 2009.

The former middleweight champion, who went 1-2 last year, hopes to return to competition in early summer.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.

 

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