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Herschel Talks Up MMA on 'Pardon the Interruption'

Herschel WalkerMixed martial arts has many opponents in the mainstream media, but few are as vocal or high-profile as Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, the hosts of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption.

So Herschel Walker accomplished something extraordinary in an appearance on PTI Wednesday by convincing both Kornheiser and Wilbon that they should check out his fight on Saturday night at Strikeforce Miami.

Knowing that Kornheiser and Wilbon were skeptical about MMA, Walker patiently explained to them why they shouldn't view MMA as a brutal endeavor.

"This sport has been cleaned up," Walker said. "I think football and boxing is worse. In boxing you get knocked down, they give you a standing eight count, you're still woozy and then you get back in there and fight. In football you've got all the concussions. Years ago this was a brutal sport, years ago there's no way I would have gotten involved in it, but it has become a sport, it has become an art."

Both Kornheiser and Wilbon have a long history of saying they find MMA abhorrent, but they obviously respect Walker.

"Herschel, what you're doing sounds insane to me, but I know you're very serious about it," Kornheiser said, adding that Walker seems like too sweet a person to hurt anyone,

Walker responded, "I don't know that I'm stepping in the cage to hurt anyone. I'm stepping in the cage to compete."

Strikeforce signed Walker for exactly the kind of publicity that he got in his Pardon the Interruption appearance, during which he was sure to promote Strikeforce and Showtime and to note that there are better fighters than him on Saturday night's card.

At the end of the interview, Walker had converted two MMA haters into people willing to give the sport a shot.

"I'm going to watch it now," Wilbon said. "I would not have watched otherwise, but I'm checking it out now."

Kornheiser added, "I'm going to watch with one eye."

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