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Thursday, September 24, 2009
Herschel Walker talks MMA aspirations


Herschel Walker
Another down: Looks like the MMA bug has bitten 47-year-old Herschel Walker.

I didn't grow up a Herschel Walker fan. (Or a football fan. Or a sports fan. I read a lot of books, and I have the athletic talent to show for it.)

I asked a friend to summarize Walker, and I was told he was maybe the greatest running back in college history. He had a couple of good years as a pro and the Vikings once traded nearly a dozen men for him. It sounds like his poster occupied a lot of walls.

Maybe that ignorance colors my perceptions a bit when I see that the 47-year-old Walker has announced his intentions to enter mixed martial arts: It doesn't do much for me. He's training at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, which is smart, and he thinks he might be ready to step into a Strikeforce arena by November or December, which is OK. All proceeds from the fight, he told Fox Sports Radio's Tony Bruno, will go to charity. That's one way of countering criticism.

But all I'm seeing is a man approaching 50 who may or may not still have an athletic gift. Forty-seven is a hell of a time to be starting any career: The people that tell you you're never too old to learn something new weren't thinking of getting punched in the mouth. If Strikeforce is looking to be taken seriously as a legitimate contender in this industry, employing a slightly more capable version of Jose Canseco for ratings and attention isn't the best way to go about it.