NEW YORK – STRIKEFORCE formally announced that legendary football superstar and unbeaten MMA fighter, Herschel Walker (1-0), of Wrightsville, Ga., will be opposed by Scott Carson (4-1), of Lake Forest, Calif., in a featured heavyweight matchup on Saturday, Dec. 4, at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
The 6-foot-1 inch Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and a 1999 College Hall of Fame inductee, holds a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and boasts additional training in the combat disciplines of Muay Thai and Kenpo. He has been honing his MMA skills at world-renowned American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, Calif., under head trainers Bob Cook and Javier Mendez.
The remarkable Walker, 48, will be making his first start since winning his pro debut with a unanimous three-round decision over Greg Nagy on Jan. 30, 2010, at STRIKEFORCE: Miami on SHOWTIME.
So, who is Scott Carson?
“I’ll tell you one thing. I’m a lot better fighter than the one I’ve been reading about on the Internet,’’ Carson said. “This is a huge deal for me, a tremendous opportunity, but you’d think I was nothing going off what has been written by some of these keyboard warriors, who I doubt have ever stepped in a cage. It’s a lot easier to sit in front of a computer and talk (stuff) than it is to actually fight.
“I am trying to take it all in stride, but I have no idea why some people are talking so negatively without ever having seen me. They don’t know me. I’m pretty well-rounded with good standup and wrestling.
“They say I’m old at 40 but I don’t feel 40 and I certainly don’t look 40. I think I look 30 and I’m in great shape. I’m ripped, just like Herschel.
“I’m going to be more ready for Dec. 4 than I have been for any other fight. I plan to shut up all the critics, each and every one of them. Let them write something factual after they’ve seen me on Dec. 4.
“I’m really excited about fighting a great athlete like Herschel. I’m training every day. But the fact that some people aren’t giving me a chance is only giving me extra motivation. This is going to be a great fight.’’
The 6-foot-2-inch Carson turned pro in September 1999 and won his initial four starts through June 2001. He is a former WEC veteran who scored a first-round submission victory over Bryson Haubrick at the very first WEC event.
After being sidelined with a back injury and due to several scheduled fights falling out, Carson didn’t return to the cage until last June 12 in Los Angeles. A member of Reign Training Center in Lake Forest, he got knocked out in the first round by undefeated Lorenz Martin (3-0 going in, 5-0 now).
“I was out a long time because of my back and I did rehab for a while,’’ said Carson, who trained for years with Chuck Liddell before he joined Reign Training Center in Lake Forest. “I never thought much about not fighting again; I always wanted to come back.
“But I couldn’t do anything until I was 100 percent. Once I got healthy again, I got better the more I trained. I’ve helped a lot of guys get ready for fights while waiting for my chance. I had a few fights lined up before my last fight, but they all fell out for one reason or another.’’
The comebacking Carson makes no excuses for his last start, his first in nine years.
“It got to the point for the longest time that all I did was train,’’ he said. “Then, the next thing we know, I’m fighting. I felt good going into that fight but just got caught. It can happen to anybody.’’
In the main event of a stacked card on STRIKEFORCEC’s return to Scottrade Center, MMA superstar Dan Henderson (25-8) of Temecula, Calif., faces former STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight world champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral (36-8) of Brazil in a collision of world-class 205-pounders.
Other televised fights: Former world heavyweight champion Antonio “Big Foot’’ Silva (14-2), of Coconut Creek, Fla., by way of Brazil, faces the older brother of STRIKEFORCE heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, Valentijn “The Python’’ Overeem (28-23), of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Paul “Semtex’’ Daley (25-9-2) of Nottingham, England, meets power puncher Scott “Hands Of Steel’ Smith (17-7, 1 NC), of Elk Grove, Calif., in a battle of explosive welterweights (170 pounds) and exciting local favorite “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (17-6, 1 NC), of Granite City, Ill., takes on 2000 Olympic Games silver medalist Matt “The Law” Lindland (22-7) of Oregon City, Ore., in a middleweight (185 pounds) scrap.
St. Louis native and promising welterweight, Jesse Finney, will take on a foe to be announced in the top non-televised undercard bout.
Tickets for the event are on sale at Scottrade Center, online at Ticketmaster.com and Strikeforce.com or by phone (800) 745-3000.
Doors at Scottrade Center will open for the event at 6 p.m. CT. The first preliminary bout will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the first SHOWTIME televised main card fight will begin at 9 p.m.