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Sanford Health to sponsor, support mixed martial arts team

09/23/2019, 10:00am CDT
By Sanford Media Relations

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Sanford Health is sponsoring and supporting a new team of mixed martial artists comprised of world champions and up-and-coming fighters to provide the science, technology and training methods needed to maximize performance, as well as implement injury reduction and recovery methods.

Athletes involved with Sanford Mixed Martial Arts include current UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman, former Bellator Lightweight World Champion Michael Chandler, current Bellator Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader, former UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler, former UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold and South Dakota wrestling legend Logan Storley.

Sanford Health physician Brad Reeves, M.D., serves as the athletes’ exclusive medical director and physician. Reeves has worked with MMA athletes for years in addition to serving as team physician for the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University.

“Sanford Health is in a position to provide world-class athletes world-class health care in all phases of their careers,” said Reeves. “Working with these mixed martial artists will allow experts from Sanford Health to diagnose, treat and prevent injuries related to this sport and others.”

The Sanford Sports Science Institute has been actively involved in a mixed martial arts concussion study that aims to provide standardized protocol for fighters returning to competition following a concussion or brain injury. Additionally, the Sports Science Institute is exploring how the sport of mixed martial arts lends itself to further research projects related to performance, hydration, injury prevention and more.

“Having Dr. Reeves and Sanford Health in my corner makes me more confident when the bell sounds,” said Lawler. “The expertise and care they provide is world class and have made a huge difference in my preparation and recovery.”

Sanford Health is also collaborating with world-renowned strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis to help athletes optimize performance through training at the BARWIS Performance Center in Deerfield, Florida. Barwis has trained thousands of collegiate, Olympic and professional athletes in more than 40 sporting events and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS) and Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach Emeritus (RSCC*E).

Also involved with the team: brain-health group NeuroSport, veteran coach Henri Hooft and agent Dave Martin. 

The Sanford Pentagon has hosted various mixed martial arts events since 2014, including Bellator 204 in August 2018. Bader and Storley have participated in Hy-Vee/Sanford Legends hosting wrestling clinics.

Sanford Mixed Martial Arts Team

  • Vitor Belfort - One FC
  • Adam Borics - Bellator
  • Derek Brunson - UFC
  • Gilbert Burns - UFC
  • Herbert Burns - UFC
  • Michael Chandler - Bellator
  • Keeman Diop - Glory
  • Andre Fialho - PFL
  • Marcel Fortuna - Titan/BJJ Coach
  • Jason Jackson - Bellator
  • DeMarques Jackson - LFA
  • Michael Johnson - UFC
  • Aung La Nsang - One FC
  • Robbie Lawler - UFC
  • Nike Lentz - UFC
  • Ange Loosa - Titan
  • Vicente Luque - UFC
  • Matt Mittrione - Bellator
  • Omar Morales - UFC
  • Steve Mowry - Bellator
  • Martin Nguyen - One FC
  • Shamil Nikaev - UFC
  • Ismail Naurdiev - UFC
  • Tyler Ray - LFA
  • Danny Roberts - UFC
  • Luke Rockhold - UFC
  • Saul Rogers - Bellator
  • Takashi Sato - UFC
  • Chas Skelly - UFC
  • Logan Storley - Bellator
  • Geo Tokkos - Bellator
  • Christian Torres - Titan
  • Caio Uruguai - Titan
  • Kamaru Usman - UFC
  • Robin Van Roosmalen - Bellator
  • Linton Vassell - Bellator
  • Tial Zathang - One FC


  • Henri Hooft
  • Greg Jones
  • Kami Barzini

Sanford-sponsored fighters

  • Ryan Bader - Bellator
  • Darrion Caldwell - Bellator
  • Michael Chandler – Bellator
  • Logan Storley - Bellator
  • Luke Rockhold - UFC
  • Robbie Lawler - UFC

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