The UFC joined forces with Bellator, Golden Boy Promotions, Top Rank Boxing and members of congress to show support for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health on Tuesday.
Along with GLORY kickboxing, the promotions have committed $600,000 to help continue the study of brain health by the hospital.
Standing alongside Senators Harry Reid of Nevada and John McCain of Arizona, the likes of UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, contender Glover Teixeira, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, boxing legend Bernard Hopkins, former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler and others all offered their thoughts.
“As a former boxer, I know first-hand the toll that a fighter’s body takes when he or she is in the ring,” Reid said. “I want to thank the Cleveland Clinic and the leaders of the four fighting organizations for bringing awareness to this important issue facing professional sports today.”
The four sporting powerhouses came together to assist in funding the study, which is now in its third year at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.
The study, which launched in April 2011, is focused on developing methods to detect the earliest and most subtle signs of brain injury in those exposed to head trauma, as well as determining which individuals may be more likely to develop chronic neurological disorders.
While it is still in the early stages, researchers are confident the findings will benefit the safety and health of professional fighters. This information could also be applied to other athletes, members of the military and civilians who may experience head trauma.
“I appreciate the fact that top boxing and mixed martial-arts (‘MMA’) organizations have joined together to directly support the Cleveland Clinic’s Professional Fighters Brain Health Study,” McCain said. “The willingness of these organizations to support research into the effects of contact sports on brain health indicates their willingness to take very seriously the welfare of their boxers and fighters and demonstrates that they recognize how crucial fighter-safety is to the long-term viability of their sports.
“I am hopeful that their funding for this study will advance our understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of brain trauma and support similar research efforts going well beyond the ring.”
Jones posted a picture of himself and McCain, a former foe of the UFC’s who fought to have the promotion banned before Dana White and the Fertitta brothers took control.
Jones added “How far we’ve come, to have Senator McCain 100% on board with me and the UFC.”
Chandler also took time to snap a picture with McCain. He is expected to face Eddie Alvarez for a third time later this year for the title.
— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) February 4, 2014