The Herschel Walker Experiment

By Jake Rossen Oct 13, 2010

Herschel Walker file photo: Dave Mandel |

Whether it’s been by design or not, Herschel Walker is exactly the kind of story that press will eat with a bib on: the ex-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.

While most nutritionists would recommend 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 used to 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, he’s displayed a lot of humility and respect for a grueling sport. The biggest disappointment in his story is his 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 his second fight -- Nagy, while appropriately inexperienced for someone making his debut, was physically outclassed. “Tank” Abbott, while 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 the polite Walker.

Plus, something tells me “Tank” is getting in more than one meal a day, so there’s one thing for them to argue about.
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