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Herschel Walker Launches Mixed Martial Arts Career on Saturday Night

You know, I know, and the American people know Bulldog Nation knows that the main event is this weekend. No, I’m not talking about Friday’s gymnastics meet. No, I’m not talking about Saturday’s basketball game. Yes, the Super Bowl is next weekend.

I’m talking about Herschel Walker’s mixed martial arts debut.

This Saturday night, Walker will step into the . . . um, ring, I’m guessing? All right, evidently, it’s an octagon. Anyway, he’ll enter whatever space is set up for such competitions and take on someone named Greg Nagy in something called "Strikeforce: Miami." Had you asked me beforehand what "Strikeforce: Miami" was, I’d have told you it was a new "CSI" spinoff on CBS starring Emily Procter as the leader of an elite Navy Seal-style commando unit, so I decided to gauge the opinion of folks who actually are knowledgeable about mixed martial arts to see what they thought about the three-time all-American’s entry into the sport at age 47.

Sentiments are mixed among the MMA crowd. Donna conducted a poll which found that 53 per cent favored leaving the Goal Line Stalker alone, while the rest panned it as a stunt fight. Zak Woods is self-confessedly "bitter" about the media attention Herschel has received, but he credits Walker with humility and with representing the sport well. Kelvin Hunt isn’t expecting much from Herschel’s first fight, and, in an interview with Derek Bolender, Robbie Lawler dubbed the former Heisman Trophy winner "a really nice guy" but deemed it "just weird" that Walker was starting at such a lofty level. In the poll following Leland Roling’s preview, two-thirds of voters predicted a Herschel Walker victory.

It would be hard to see this as anything other than a publicity stunt if it were being attempted by any other former Georgia athlete, but Herschel has a long history of challenging himself athletically, and this certainly isn’t any stranger than his decision to seek a spot on the U.S. Olympic bobsled team. While I wish he wasn’t doing this, I certainly will be rooting for him and I hope he does well. Walker has never been anything other than a first-class ambassador for Georgia---the state, the university, and the athletics program---and there’s no former Bulldog I’d rather see do well than Herschel.

Do any of you plan to watch the fight on Saturday night? Do you believe it’s an effort to grab headlines or something more genuine? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Go ‘Dawgs!