Sanford Health to sponsor, support mixed martial arts team

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Sanford Health is sponsoring and supporting a new team of mixed martial artists composed 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

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 44 hospitals, 1,400 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries. Nearly $1 billion in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford have transformed how Sanford Health improves the human condition. For information, visit

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