Despite a past mistake that was paid in full, Steven Walker still faced an uncertain future until he put an end to the cycle with volunteer work and martial arts.
At the age of 17, Walker was convicted for his first and last crime on the streets of Boston.
“My community was a very high crime area where to get drugs was basically easy,” Walker said. “My community had influence on me. Around that time, I basically wanted to fit in. I started doing activities that your normal 17-year-old shouldn’t be doing. I ended up getting a drug charge for distribution, serving an undercover officer. They waited until I was 18 and tried me as an adult.”
The Jamaica native knew he was fighting an uphill battle from a young age. Whether it was the struggle to fit into a new country at a young age or looking over his shoulder in his teens, Walker was accustomed to defending himself and dwelling on the wrong side of the tracks. After his run-in with the undercover officer, Walker found out just how little he knew about the world of law and order.
While most 18-year-olds are gearing up for college and coming to the bittersweet realizations that life is about to change permanently, Walker found himself with the same realizations but there was nothing sweet about it. With four-and-a-half-years to look over his shoulder and think about his mistakes, Walker saw the light that put him on a path that led him to a life of complete rehabilitation from crime.
“I had one of them moments where a light switch clicked in my mind, like, this ain’t for you,” Walker recalled. “You ain’t an animal. People would tell you it’s cool to go to jail but when you live that lifestyle in that moment, you’re kind of like, ‘This is not life.’ I think I had one of them rude awakenings like, I don’t want this to be a revolving door.”
In an update to the Lion Fight 64 main event, Steve "Put Em To Sleep" Walker will now defend his belt against Brian "The Lion" Collette. Catch it all live on @UFCFightPass! Stay tuned for much more. #LionFight64 #LionFightonUFCFightPass pic.twitter.com/WyMBtukeab— Lion Fight (@LionFight) February 24, 2021
After his release in 2010, Walker immediately began giving back. Whether it was workshops on cyberbullying, toxic vs healthy relationships, HIV, helping with job interview etiquette and many more, his hand was in almost every issue that plagued the community that he grew up in.
As if things weren’t already in the right direction, Walker would stumble across another major life change three years later. After coming across MMA through a friend from work, the now double-champ in kickboxing dabbled in the world of combat sports for the very first time.
Walker fell in love with combat sports and immediately burnt through his three-week free trial punch card. After hearing the monthly price for a full membership, he was worried the hobby that happily consumed his last three weeks would be a brief encounter until a search on Groupon gave him exactly what he was searching for.
“I found this gym called Hard Knocks. At the time it was $80 for unlimited training,” Walker said. “When I walked into the gym it just felt like home to me. Everybody said hi to me, even the instructor, which was Kru Bill Newcomb at the time. He basically stopped what he was doing to walk over to the desk and tell me about his gym and gave me a tour of his gym while practice was still going on. I’d say Hard Knocks saved my life. I gave Hard Knocks my morning, noon and night. I didn’t miss no days, really.”
Whether Kru Bill picked his words carefully or even remembers the comment, words he spoke to Walker that day have stayed with him.
🎙 We’re just days away from Lion Fight’s first venture into Kansas! — Lion Fight (@LionFight) March 5, 2021
It quite literally the “𝘉𝘐𝘎𝘎𝘌𝘚𝘛” event in company history! #LF64
𝐋𝐈𝐕𝐄 from Hutchison, KS
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“I’ll never forget the day I walked into the gym and Bill said to me, ‘Stick with me and I’ll make you a world champion,’” Walker said. “At first, I didn’t see that far because I didn’t know what the hell he saw in me, but he saw something and he made me a world champion.”
In a matter of three years, Walker had gone from down-and-out to a man with one of the most promising eye tests in combat sports. Walker is now a two-division Muay Thai champion who has devoted his time to the youth and combat sports.
It seemed like the high couldn’t get any better until Walker’s hard work had been given the ultimate blessing. The felony charge that lingered over his head the last decade was completely exonerated because of the changes he has demonstrated.
For years, Walker has known he was walking the right path, and although the label of “felon” was always there making life more difficult, he replaced excuses with hard work, and just like his hard work in the gym all these years, it paid off.
“When you accept your wrongs, can’t nobody use it against you,” Walker explained. “Nobody can say, ‘Oh, I’m going to say this in public to embarrass you.’ How can they if you accept your wrongs? Me being comfortable with who I am and know that I did wrong and I accept my wrongs and I’m trying to correct my wrongs; I believe that’s the best way to be. I’m open to it.”
Walker has made mistakes, rehabilitated himself, lived the ultimate dream of exoneration and saved many lives along the way. At only 34 years old, Walker is likely just getting started.
Steven Walker looks to build his resume further with the biggest bout of his career at Lion Fight 64 on March 12, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!