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UFC continues brain study work with Cleveland Clinic

UFC contributes $1 million to Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

UFC & Cleveland Clinic Professional Fighters Brain Health Study Media Tour Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The UFC’s long-running partnership with the Cleveland Clinic will grow longer.

On Thursday, the UFC announced it will continue its partnership with the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas for at least five more years with a $1 million donation. The UFC began working with the Cleveland Clinic in 2011 and had previously donated $2 million to what is now know as the Professional Athletes Brain Health Study.

When the UFC joined the study in 2011, it was known as Professional Fighters Brain Health Study. Since then the study has expanded its scope, hence the updated name.

“UFC is proud to continue its support of both Cleveland Clinic and the Professional Athletes Brain Health Study,” UFC Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein said. “UFC has supported this study since its inception, and we take pride in standing at the forefront of helping set new standards for athlete health and safety in all sports. Dr. Bernick and Dr. Ritter are doing an amazing job, and we look forward to helping them advance their research.”

The Professional Athletes Brain Health Study examines the cumulative effects of repetitive concussive and sub-concussive impacts to the brains of the athletes. Over 800 active and retired athletes have taken part in the study since its founding.

Athletes who volunteer for the study receive free, ongoing assessments of brain health and function, including MRI scans. The Cleveland Clinic gathers information on athletes for a minimum of four years before they include it in the study, but the longer the athlete takes part in the study, the more valuable the information becomes.

“The support provided by UFC has been fundamental to the success of the study, allowing us to reach this 10-year milestone in our research,” said Dr. Bernick, founder and primary investigator of the Professional Athletes Brain Health Study. “Not only has their financial commitment helped to sustain the infrastructure needed for this ongoing project, the encouragement they have given fighters to participate and the expertise they have offered in regards to mixed martial arts has been invaluable.”