Professional Fighters Brain Health Study

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada, is recruiting both active and retired professional fighters (boxers and MMA) for a study that will help determine whether MRI or other tests can detect subtle changes in brain health due to repeated blows to the head. Researchers hope to identify if and when changes occur that may result in impaired thinking and function. Together we can improve brain health awareness within the fighting community.

The Study

Fighters will be asked to participate in the study once a year for at least four years so that any changes to their brain function can be noted and monitored. Each year, the fighter’s visit will last about two hours.

Study participants will:

  • Answer basic questions about their background, medical history, and sports experience.
  • Undergo a noninvasive and painless MRI scan of the brain and a neurological examination, including measurement of balance and eye movement.
  • Participate in brief computerized and verbal tests to measure memory and other aspects of mental functioning.
  • Have a blood test for genes and other tests required for licensing, including HIV and Hepatitis B and C.

There is no cost for participation. Participants will be compensated for their time and travel expenses once enrolled in the study.


Any abnormal findings will be discussed privately with the fighter. No information will be released to any other person, agency without the participant’s written permission. If the MRI shows an abnormality, we will discuss whether the fighter would like us to forward the information to his or her personal physician. If we believe the finding puts the athlete at risk for continued participation in the sport, we will inform the participant and it will be his or her responsibility to notify the licensing agency.

Contact Us

Visit to learn more about Cleveland Clinic's Professional Fighters Brain Health Study or download a brochure. To participate, please contact the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at 702.675.5237 or email