Herschel Walker will not fight on April 17 for Strikeforce’s sophomore effort on CBS, the promotion’s matchmaker Rich Chou confirmed with Sherdog.com on Tuesday.
Sirius satellite radio’s “The Fight Show with Mauro Ranallo” was the first outlet to report of Walker’s potential omission from the card, which will air live during its “Saturday Night Fights” slot on the major broadcast network.
Chou said the decision was made jointly on Monday between the promotion and network to allow Walker more time to train for his second career fight. Chou said Walker, who lives in Los Angeles, could return to the San Jose, Calif.-based American Kickboxing Academy within a few weeks to resume his training, but that no return date to the cage has been set for the 47-year-old athlete yet.
Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and 12-season NFL veteran, earned a third-round stoppage against Greg Nagy in his MMA debut at Strikeforce “Miami” on Jan. 30 in Sunrise, Fla. Walker’s performance, which was on par with the three-month crash course he got in the sport, garnered unprecedented media attention, including multiple mentions through ESPN’s platforms and a front-page story on CNN.com.
“Yes, I’d love to fight again,” Walker told Sherdog.com shortly after the bout. However, the 1992 U.S. Olympic bobsled team member said he’d defer to his coaches regarding his return.
“I’m going get back into the gym and say I’d love to have another fight, and I’m gonna work hard, but I’m leaving it my trainers and coaches’ hands and the fighters at the gym,” said Walker. “If they think I’m not ready, they gotta tell me, and I will swallow my pride and not do it.”
April 17’s event will host three five-round title bouts live from the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tenn. Middleweight champion Jake Shields will defend his title against top-5 ranked challenger Dan Henderson, while light heavyweight titleholder Gegard Mousasi will lock horns with undefeated Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. In a cross-promotional coup, Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will face Dream counterpart Shinya Aoki for the U.S. promotion’s championship.
Chou said a fourth “swing bout” entry could also be added to the telecast.