UFC extends partnership with Cleveland Clinic and Professional Fighters Brain Health Study

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

The UFC is extending their partnership with the Cleveland Clinic and the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study. In a press release issued on Friday, the UFC revealed a $1 million contribution to the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, which is conducting the ongoing study being used to improve detection of brain trauma in professional athletes.

“Research and awareness are key in setting new standards for athlete health and safety,” UFC Chief Operating Officer Ike Lawrence Epstein said in the release. “UFC is always looking for opportunities to invest in industry-leading health and wellness programs and providing resources to develop its athletes inside and outside the Octagon.”

Charles Bernick, M.D., the Associate Medical Director at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, added, “We have learned quite a bit in the first four years of the study about how repetitive head trauma affects the brain and how we can detect accumulating injury. The involvement of the fighting community and organizations like UFC will only help us better understand the field and protect our athletes. Their support has helped sustain the infrastructure of this very large study and will allow us to follow the participants over longer periods of time and develop ways to improve safety in combat sports, along with others exposed to repetitive head trauma.”

Penick’s Analysis: It’s an important area of research for professional sports, and it’s one of the good things the UFC is involved with. Given the nature of MMA, brain issues are a serious concern, and the more they can contribute to advanced knowledge in this area the better. This is absolutely a positive for the sport, for the UFC, and for the continued advancement of the study.

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