This Ain’t Bobsleddin’

Hershel Walker will try his hand at MMA on Saturday Night.

Hershel Walker, one of the greatest college running backs ever, is probably largely unknown to the newest generation of sports fans.  At 47, his best days on the football field happened over 20 years ago.  Walker has never shied away from athletic challenge, though.  You may remember his foray into Olympic bobsledding (that was a long time ago too).   Saturday night on Showtime, Hershel will up the stakes by making his MMA debut with the Strikeforce promotion.  Walker’s physical conditioning has been the stuff of legend for years.  2,500 sit-ups and 1,500 push-ups a morning.  Or vice-versa?  Either way it’s mind-boggling.  He has also some martial arts background, but the jump to MMA seems risky, especially when he’ll be facing a fighter half his age.

It seems that MMA has become a popular thing to try for some athletes.  You can’t deny that it satisfies a need for competition, but the results have been mixed at best.  Putting aside the embarrassing performances of people like Jose Canseco, a few ex-athletes have taken serious runs at boxing and MMA.  Kendall Gill comes to mind, and of course Johnnie Morton’s MMA debut lasted all of 40 seconds until he was brutally knocked out.  You can check youtube for the video.  I think the “competitive juices” that Morton felt after football were extinguished in the ring that night.  So, this is going to be serious business for Walker who takes on Greg Nagy Saturday night.

Walker should be better prepared than Morton, and I’m sure Strikeforce went out of their way to set a fight that Hershel had a good chance to win, but you can’t always script the outcome you want in this sport.  Look at the career of Kimbo Slice.  As much as the promotions want him to be a phenomenon, he just hasn’t showed the goods in the ring.  I’m not sure how much star power Walker has left, but he certainly will bring in some new fans, something that MMA seems to excel at, and while watching Hershel make his debut they get to see a decent card as well.

The devastating queen of women’s MMA, Chris Cyborg, will fight for the first time since knocking out Gina Carano.  Also on the card is former professional wrestler Bobby Lashley, and a match-up between Robbie Lawler and Melvin Manhoef promises to bring fireworks.  Manhoef is said to possess Anderson Silva like striking ability, and anyone who has seen one of Anderson’s fights knows that can make for good television.

Overall, it’s a nice card for Strikeforce in a down period for MMA and specifically the UFC.  The extended absence of Brock Lesner, and the lack of marquee championship fight has left the last few UFC cards lacking.  This event, which is free if you have Showtime, could be worth a look on Saturday night.

I don’t know enough about Hershel or his opponent to make any kind of prediction, but let’s hope the Heisman trophy winner knows what he was getting into.  Win or lose, I don’t see much of a career in MMA for Hershel.  I think he’s just doing it as a new challenge, but if he continues to pursue it, he’s eventually going to run into someone he can’t handle.

Carano vs. “Cyborg” Santos Preview.

Vegas Says Cyborg -200.

Vegas Says Cyborg -200.

Few weeks, maybe a month back I wrote about women’s MMA.  Much to my surprise, no one seemed to care.  So, it seemed like the women were just like the men in that regard.  However, in the last day or two the buzz surrounding the Carano/Cyborg fight has brought a lot of people to the blog looking for information, news, or at the very least pictures of Carano and Cyborg.  So while my most loyal readers may be more concerned with, well just about anything this Saturday, we’re going to take a look at this fight.  For a preview written by someone with MMA credentials, go read an article over at Sherdog.

I’d say the entire future of women’s MMA rests on the outcome of this fight.  Meaning it’s future as a big draw, a potential pay-per-view attraction, etc.  You have two drastically different fighters and depending on who wins and how we might be seeing the ladies more regularly, or perhaps they fade back into the background. 

Carano:  Gina Carano is the face of women’s MMA.  She’s attractive, plays to an all-american storyline, and up to this point in her career she’s never been beaten.  She’s been shepherded through the ranks by her promotions, hyped as a great fighter, but never necessarily challenged.  She’s considered a strong technical striker with a Muay Thai background.  She’s shown the power to stop a fight, and also the skills on the ground to get a submission.  Corporate America will be strongly behind Carano in this fight.  The, “Look at this hot chick kick ass” storyline is one for the ages, no doubt.  If she loses badly, or gets hurt?  It could really tarnish the sport.  A lot of fans might feel like they’re watching their sister (or pretend girlfriend) get her teeth knocked in. 

Cris “Cyborg” Santos:  Cyborg is a Brazilian wrecking ball.  She’s a brutal, fierce competitor with a legitimate pedigree.  She trains out of the famed Chute Box Academy which has helped produced some of Brazil’s most famous male martial artists.  Guys like Wanderlei Silva and Shogun Rua.  Santos is the most powerful fighter in women’s MMA, considered a rare woman with one-punch knockout capability.  She compliments her technical striking skills with unparalled aggression, often overwhelming her opponents.  Santos is also a fighter who has rarely been tested.  Her one loss came in her MMA debut via submission.   Depending on how Santos wins the results will be different.  A close fight, one that warrants a rematch would be ideal.  If Cyborg crushes Carano it raises the questions of who she fights next, and do MMA fans really like seeing women get knocked out? 

I don’t think I can pick against Santos.  I’m all for the American girl plotline, but Santos is a monster…and the line to me is very interesting.  With all the hype surrounding Carano, the media machine at work, you would think you would get a decent price on Cyborg…and she’s still -200.  Maybe that’s the effect of how scary she looks in pictures.  I think the Brazilian busts up the MMA fairytale, and TKO’s Carano. 

A shot of Carano to help supress the Cyborg Nightmares.

A shot of Carano to help supress the Cyborg Nightmares.

UFC 100.

Georges St. Pierre, the UFC's Welterweight King.

Georges St. Pierre, the UFC's Welterweight King.

Mixed Martial Arts hasn’t really moved the needle here, but tomorrow night in Vegas the UFC is putting on, what on paper,  should be their best promotions ever.  UFC 100 is a loaded card that is a celebration of the fact that UFC not only still exists, but is flourishing.  The sport still seems to be on the fringes of main stream culture.  I think everyday sports fans are a little put off by the UFC die-hards.  They don’t want people to think they walk around in TAPOUT t-shirts and scour youtube for old footage just because they catch an occasional pay-per-view. 

If you ever wanted to give the UFC a chance, Saturday is probably the night to watch.  At the top of the card are two title matches.  A heavyweight unification rematch between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, and also Georges St. Pierre will take on Thiago Alves for the welterweight title.  Every type of fighter will be on display.  The sheer power of Lesnar, the ju-jitsu of Frank Mir, the wrestling skills of St.Pierre, the striking of Alves, and the all-around show that is prospect Jon “Bones” Jones.  The best thing about the UFC is they almost never go through a whole card without a good fight, and you’re never forced to sit through an hour of boredom, which seems to happen more often than not in boxing.  

I’m not saying drop the huge chunk of change on the pay-per-view, but maybe you have your one secret MMA fan friend who’s watching, or take a pass through a sports bar of some kind on Saturday, and it is likely to be playing.  If you give it a half hour, there’s a decent chance that you could see a pretty good fight.  The first promotion I ever saw was basically by accident at a sports bar.  So, yeah, open your mind, throw on an Affliction T, and get ready to listen to the greatest color man in sports…Joe Rogan.

What do we Think of Women’s MMA?

Gina Carano, the face of Women's MMA.

Gina Carano, the face of Women's MMA.

I don’t know exactly what to make of women’s MMA.  It seems that a lot of fans don’t get on board with the sport because they either don’t enjoy watching women fight, or they believe the ladies don’t produce the exciting finishes that the men do.  The most recognizable name in women’s MMA is Gina Carano.  She is an undefeated fighter who also appeared on the American Gladiators revival as “Crush”.  A lot of insiders believe that Carano is not at the top of the sport, but simply is marketed in such a way because of her appearance.   Carano’s skills in the ring will be tested in her next fight on August 11th against Chris “Cyborg” Santos.  Cyborg is considered the most powerful striker in women’s MMA.

The fight will air on Showtime under the Strikeforce promotion.  UFC President Dana White had expressed some interest in bringing Carano to the UFC, but she ultimately went with Strikeforce to set up the fight with Cyborg.  It will certainly be the most high profile women’s MMA fight of all-time, and the hype surrounding it has started to heat up.  Last week, in an effort to display how dangerous she is, Cyborg choked out a reporter from  Perhaps in response to this a video has surfaced of Gina Carano doing the same.  Clearly, both these women have the skills to end the fight in dramatic fashion.  The question is whether or not we’ll be watching. 

I’ll admit I have some interest in the fight, and have watched some of Carano and Cyborg’s other contests.  The opponents I’ve seen to this point have been overmatched, but facing off against each other should provide a pretty dramatic show.  Both fighters will be looking to take the crown of women’s MMA, and all the spoils that will come with it.  It’ll be one intense cat fight.  I’m joking of course, I would never want to anger either of these animals who would beat the bag out of me in seconds.

Kimbo’s Back

Kimbo Slice Ladies and Gentlemen.

Kimbo Slice Ladies and Gentlemen.

I’m not a die-hard fan of MMA.  I watch it, but I don’t have any Tapout T-shirts.  I guess that’s the best way you could describe my interest level.  I have always been slightly intrigued, however, by Kevin Ferguson.  The fighter who is known as Kimbo Slice.  I first saw Kimbo on poor quality internet videos.  He was a street fighting, bare knuckle legend.  When word got out that he was joing the Elite XC promotion I was interested to see how he’d fair against trained fighters. 

Kimbo won his first few fights, but then lost his fourth to unheralded Seth Petruzelli.  Adding to the loss was that it came in 14 seconds, and there were some rumors of the fight being fixed, and not long afterwards Elite XC went out of business.  Kimbo had lost a lot of his intimidation, people believed he was a fluke, a gimmick to attract ratings, and UFC President Dana White was a big detractor.   There didn’t seem to be any chance that Kimbo would ever fight in the UFC, but then came the news yesterday that he will be in the next cast of the Ultimate Fighter. 

The Ultimate Fighter is a reality show on Spike that awards an UFC contract to its winner.  It will be the moment of truth for Kimbo.  He can either fight at the professional level or he can’t, and the show will prove it.  I don’t doubt Kimbo’s dedication to MMA, but I’m not sure he has the training background to be able to pull something like this off.  Either way, he will provide for good TV while he lasts on the series, and if he happens to be good enough, then he can prove it by winning the competition. 

If you’ve never heard of or seen Kimbo, he’s definitely worth a quick peek. 

**Completely unrelated.  I have a few cents on Gael Monflis to beat Roger Federer over at, it’s my upset pick of the day.  The match already started, so I can’t be responsible for your lost cents when Rodge pummels him.

**Monflis gets smoked in straight sets.  Taking floaters on those +350 shots can be costly.  Hey, he pushed the first set to a tie-breaker. 


The "Spider" is a Bad Man.

The "Spider" is a Bad Man.

Anderson “The Spider” Silva will make his Philadelphia debut at UFC 101 on August, 8th.  Silva is considered the best pound for pound fighter in MMA, and despite a recent lackluster title defense against Thales Leites, he possesses scary knockout skills.  The video below attests to that.  Silva is going up in weight to face Forrest Griffin in a non-title bout at 205 lbs.  Griffin is a fearless fighter, and skilled striker who should stand in front of Silva, and give the fans an epic showdown.  Silva’s last venture to 205 netted an easy win over James Irvin, but Griffin is the former champ at light heavyweight, and will provide a much sterner test.  For anyone interested in checking out some UFC action, this is a golden opportunity.

UFC’s card of the year will come one month earlier in Vegas at UFC 100.  The night will feature dual main events.  A title defense by Georges St. Pierre, and a heavyweight title unification rematch between Frank Mir, and Brock Lesnar.  The rest of the night is full of big names, and rising starts as the UFC is trying to make its 100th promotion its best ever.  Information on Tickets and both of these events can be found at

In humorous MMA news its being reported that Jose Canseco is preparing for his mixed martial arts debut.  Canseco is just recently removed from a quasi-celebrity boxing match up with Vai Sikahema.  Vai, who has extensive boxing experience, knocked the former AL MVP out.  Canseco is scheduled to face Hong Man Choi at DREAM 9 on May, 26th.  DREAM is a Japanese promotion, but if there is a way to catch this action in the states it might be worth a look.  I don’t know a thing about Choi, but Canseco should get pummeled.