Shelby Walker, Gone, but not Forgotten

Shelby Walker, Gone, but not Forgotten
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr., Doghouse Boxing (Nov 5, 2012) Doghouse Boxing

Shelby Walker
I find it a bit strange how a mind works, especially when it comes to certain memories of individuals that were in your life, in some shape, form or fashion. A certain smell, song, movie, or nothing really in particular can trigger a thought about a lost loved one, or deceased friend. And just a couple of days ago, I found myself in that position. I was sitting at the office going through paper work, and for no reason in particular; the late Shelby Walker came to mind, and a small wave of emotion came over me, and I thought to myself, “Damn, has it been that long?”
I came to know the multi-talented fighter in 2005, Boxing Insider’s Larry Goldberg introduced us, and from the first interview, I knew the young lady was more than just good looks; she was an extremely humble as well as entertaining soul.
Shelby was born in the Lone Star state and served in the US Army, out of the service Walker competed as a professional in women’s professional boxing as well as a combatant in the mixed martial arts. The little scrapper fought under the tutelage of Buddy Mcgirt, and blossomed under Howard Davis Jr. and was the first female of the American Top Team. In January of 2005, Walker commented on her experience with ATT, “I consider my self very, very lucky, I’m the first lady of the American Top Team and I feel really blessed to be able to be a part of such a great team and to be able to work with an Olympic Gold medalist as Howard Davis Jr. It is a dream come true for me”.
“Shelby Girl” made her debut in the  MMA in 2001, banging out a record of 3-3, earning herself a record with the fastest KO in the history of women's MMA with a five second knock out against Angela Wilson at Ring Of Fury 3. She also participated in professional boxing, and in her time she compiled a 7-6-1 (6) record, and fought the likes of Fujin Raika, Jaime Clampett, and the legendary Mia St. John.
I wondered why a woman with such beauty would lace up the gloves, or step in the cage, and when I asked Shelby, she boldly stated, “I have always been a fighter, I love the game!”
I met Shelby at UFC 51, prior to that night, it had been rumored that she may take part in the UFC, to be the first woman combatant under the banner, but that never materialized.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Walker a few times, and each time was a blast. She was always down to earth, would not dodge a question, answered everything with a shoot from the hip manner, and she knew the fight game. She lived it, and breathed it. Shelby did not shy away from the critics, she knew being a lady in the fight world was not an easy task, “the critics who think I can’t fight need to watch one of my fights”. And either in a win, a loss or a draw, Shelby fought, she fought her heart out, she gave her all, and all though her hand may not have been raised in every fight, with her drive and passion for the sport, she was a winner.
September 24, 2006, thirty-one year old Shelby Walker passed away from what was described as an apparent overdose on pain medication. She left behind a slew of family, fans a friends, including a son. I got the news a day or two after her death, and I was in complete shock, dismay, I could not believe that such a talented person, with so much time give was cut down in her prime.
The out pour of emotion from adoring friends, family and fans was breath taking, Larry Goldberg who managed Shelby at the time of her passing stated, “I lost a sister”, Maureen "Moe" Shea explained, “She was beautiful, kind, upbeat and warm, she will be missed but always remembered, much respect.”
It has been six years since the world lost such a great person, and for people who was not a close friend of hers or family member to still think about her as I do from time to time, I believe that speaks volume on how much if an impact Shelby had on this world. So to her family and friends, she may be gone, but she will never be forgotten.
I said this once, and I will say it again, I asked Shelby what was her main goal in the fight game, and she stated, “I want to leave my mark.” Well, she most certainly did leave a mark. Shelby, I do not know if you can read this, I am pretty sure you are busy up in the heavens, but I want to close by saying this, just the short time that I knew you, you left your mark in my life, it was a pleasure interviewing you, speaking with you, and just being able to say that we crossed paths brings me joy. I just want you to know, that all though you may not be a living being on this earth anymore, your spirit is with us all, and you will always be Shelby “Girl” walker to us, much love, much respect, and I hope you finally found peace.
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