Thursday, December 23, 2010

Herschel Walker's Mark to Be Made Outside the Cage with Fighter's Union

Herschel Walker's entrance into mixed martial arts isn't just another notch on the former professional football player's accomplishment-laden sports belt. Yes, he was a Heisman Trophy winner. Yes, he was a word class sprinter. Yes, he was a member of the 1992 Winter Olympics bobsled team. However, when you mention his mixed martial arts career, Herschel Walker seems more like a ploy to pull views -- a "sideshow" as some would call it.

But Herschel Walker has expressed his seriousness and loyalty to the sport on several occasions, and now we have every reason to believe him, if we didn't before. MMA Junkie and Bloody Elbow recently covered Walker's interest in creating a fighter's union. The multi-time pro bowler's latest endeavor follows several failed attempts by others with similar goals in mind. You may recall WAMMA, a sanctioning body for mixed martial artists that offered insurance and other benefits to fighters. The most WAMMA ever really did was issue belts to Fedor Emelianenko and Shinya Aoki. Since the Brett Rogers vs. Fedor fight back in late 2009, WAMMA has been dead silent. Also, as Bloody Elbow points out, Matt Lindland has been for long a vocal supporter of  the fighter's union, but his support has not been much more than words as he has been adamant that a fighter's union has not yet arrived "because fighters are whores and cowards." As of late, an organization called the Mixed Martial Arts Fighter's Association, or MMAFA, has come on the scene. According to the MMAFA's website their goal is to "maximize the influence and earning capacity of its members in the sport of mixed martial arts." Their tag has been seen on some fighter's trunks but the association has not made much noise yet.

Why is Herschel Walker's Pursuit of a Fighter's Union Different?
Well, what Herschel brings to this idea is the fact he has experience with professional athletic unions and support organizations. As Bloody Elbow pointed out, Herschel was a member of the NFL Player's Association (and probably still is). Even in his experiences with track and field and bobsledding (although considered amateur sports), we can safely assume that Herschel has some experience with organizations like USA Track & Field, the United States Olympic Committee, and USA Bobsled and Skeleton. Hershel Walker has participated at elite levels of competition in three sports. He is a well rounded businessman who heads Renaissance Man Food Services, a meat processing and retail supplier. If Herschel Walker is able to apply his various useful experiences to the creation of an official fighter's union for mixed martial artists, his legacy in MMA will be fulfilled not in the cage, but in the hearts and minds of those who fight in it.

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