You might recall last week, when Herschel Walker was signed to Strikeforce among giggles and wide-eyed stares. Yes, he’s one of the most athletic men of his generation and he’s well-trained in martial arts… but he’s 47 and hasn’t even played in the NFL since 1997, nor is he trained in MMA yet. The three words running through most peoples’ minds were “what,” “the,” and “hell,” usually in that order.
As you might imagine, Dana White caught wind of the news, and when pressed for comment, laughed for 45 minutes straight. Okay, that’s not true, but White ridiculed the signing and called it “dumb competition.” Typical White, really. Walker, upon catching wind of the news, decided the right thing to do was challenge White to a duel of fisticuffs. This should end well.
Remember that it was just a month ago or so that Strikeforce stunned the world of MMA by landing the services of Fedor Emelianenko, whose name I almost spelled correctly on my first try. Fedor is generally considered the last, best contender to Brock Lesnar, who’s currently chewing up UFC and spitting it out. That Emelianenko opted for Strikeforce and the EA MMA game instead was, to say the least, a shock.
(He’d rather have been beating these people’s faces in. Not because he likes fighting, but as punishment for the outfits involved.)
So with that head of steam and UFC still reeling from Rampage Jackson eschewing a fight for a role in the A*Team movie, Strikeforce is set for the ol’ kill shot here, right? Like, here’s where they sign another big name and really establish themselves as equals, right? So… how about a retired football player in his late 40s, a full 12 years after his last game in the NFL? Wait, wait, there’s more. Let’s give him a history of mental illness. Perfect! Yes, Strikeforce have signed the Herschel Walker… and they’re so serious about this.
Gina Carano will finally return to the activity that earned her initial fame now that she’s been able to find a new home to ply her craft in. (No, her craft isn’t Gladiating.) (No, it’s not nude weigh-ins.) (No, it’s not drinking and rolling around with other girls. You’re not even trying now.)
(Remember when she did this professionally?)
No, she’ll finally climb back into the arena and fight another woman for cash and prizes. Carano, who has fought only once in the last year, has been biding her time while looking for another MMA organization once EliteXC couldn’t choke down a Slice of profits big enough to stay in business. Now she’s found a new company (Strikeforce) and a new opponent that has the best chance of anyone to mar Carano’s perfect MMA record.
Last year when EliteXC hit network television on CBS there was a lot of hope that the primetime shows would help make MMA a more mainstream sport. With fights featuring Gina Carano, they were also hoping that they could advance women’s MMA in the process. Well, MMA keeps growing in popularity but the primetime show took a hit when EliteXC went under. EliteXC’s failure also set back the women’s cards because it put the future of any fight between Carano & Cris Santos — who was very impressive in her EliteXC bout — in limbo.
Santos has moved on to Strikeforce, who have bought most of EliteXC’s assets, and now Strikeforce is hoping to sign Carano as well so that the two ladies can finally get it on. Of course, if Strikeforce does sign Carano, they may want to check with Santos before they schedule the event. They’re probably going to want to make sure Aunt Flo has left town before making Cris take on Gina.
It’s already time for this week’s installment of “This Is Why No One Takes MMA Seriously.” My, how time flies. It seems like just yesterday we were excoriating a fighter for assaulting a restaurant critic over a negative review. Now we have a main event fighter openly bragging about smoking marijuana before bouts.
(Does this look like the face of a man who smokes pot regularly?)
“I got high in my [hotel] room the night before every [UFC] fight,” said Nick Diaz, will be taking on Frank Shamrock on Saturday. The 25-year-old is 18-7 in his career, with one very glaring no contest, which we’ll get to later. You’d think that just two days away from stepping into a fight with one of the most dangerous men in the world, he’d want his head to be clear to concentrate. But that’s not how Diaz rolls.