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SUNRISE, Fla. — Herschel Walker, the Heisman Trophy winner and longtime NFL running back, decided, at age 47, to give the brutal sport of mixed martial arts a try.

It seemed like a crazy idea, but when he stepped into the cage for the first time on Saturday night, it was just crazy enough to work: Walker won his MMA debut at Saturday night’s Strikeforce: Miami event in a fight that left some fans cheering and others booing.

“The experience was exciting,” Walker said afterward. “First, let me thank my opponent for giving me the opportunity to fight him because it’s tough to fight an old man.”

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