Whether or not it has been by design, Herschel Walker is exactly the kind of story the media will eat with a bib on: The former NFL star is an admitted dissociative personality who sometimes goes days without eating, does hundreds of sit-ups and push-ups every morning, and plans for his second cage fight to be in December at age 48. This is what you want out of profile subjects. The problem is deciding whether you're being fed a line of bull.
[+] EnlargeDave Mandel/Sherdog.com
C'mon, Herschel Walker -- you don't even sneak the occasional bag of Skittles?
While most nutritionists would recommend that athletes eat five or six smaller portions a day to keep their metabolism and energy consistent, Walker says he eats only once a day: salad and bread, regardless of how demanding the training has been. "I don't worry about protein," he told CNN. "I don't worry about all that. I'm from old school. I grew up in south Georgia. They didn't worry about cholesterol or protein." Oh, good for you.
Is that even possible? Ask a physiologist. The human body is a pretty remarkable machine, though, and it's not impossible to believe that Walker has gotten his body accustomed to subsisting on single servings and using calories judiciously. The rest of us could drown in protein shakes and still not possess his physical ability. Depressing but true.
I like Walker. Rather than enter as an athlete with a chip on his shoulder, he has displayed a lot of humility and respect for a grueling sport. The biggest disappointment in his story is the inactivity: After a January fight with Greg Nagy, Walker more or less sat out 2010, idling while Strikeforce and CBS pouted at one another over a cage brawl on the network in the spring. For a guy flirting with 50, sitting on a bench is not the best use of his time.
Strikeforce would be wise to consider a more colorful opponent for Walker's second fight. Nagy, while appropriately inexperienced for the task of facing a high-profile athlete making his MMA debut, was physically outclassed. David "Tank" Abbott, although dusty, at least poses an element of danger for the couple of minutes he's awake in the cage -- and his personality would be a nice clash against that of the polite Walker.
Plus, something tells me "Tank" is taking in more than one meal a day, so there's at least one thing for them to argue about.