Paul Felder wants to give credit where credit is due.
The retired UFC lightweight can’t speak highly enough about the treatment and resources available to him as a UFC fighter at the Cleveland Clinic’s professional athlete’s brain study. Felder (17-6 MMA, 9-6 UFC) believes it’s extremely important to participate in the research and encourages fellow UFC fighters to do the same.
“Its super easy,” Felder told MMA Junkie Radio. “It’s in Vegas or Cleveland, obviously. They’re super nice. Everybody there is amazing, and they pay for everything that you need. But, yeah, if you have any issues as a UFC fighter, go get your head looked at. I’m good to go.”
Earlier this year, the UFC announced a five-year extension of its collaboration with Cleveland Clinic. The UFC has helped support their brain research to help determine the long-term effects of head trauma and factors that put certain individuals at higher risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Felder, who’s hasn’t competed in a year and is thinking of making a comeback, recently had his brain studied at the Cleveland Clinic and was given the green light – meaning no abnormalities or changes were detected in his brain. Felder is thankful to have those resources available to him.
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“There’s not enough UFC fighters and boxers involved in this study because the more people involved, the more they can understand different variables, and they can understand how genetic makeup and build can affect certain things,” Felder said.
“I’m one of the lucky ones, 100 percent. I was talking to the doctor, and he said it’s an extensive MRI, over an hour MRI on your brain, just to make sure your brain is good from a standpoint on how your brain is supposed to look.
“Then there’s all these neurological tests of speed, timing, coordination with both eyes, vision, and balance. Then a survey you have to fill out with honest questions like, ‘Have you ever been depressed? Do you ever feel suicidal thoughts?’ Because nobody wants to talk about it, but it’s a real situation, and the UFC is really trying to be at the forefront of it. I want to give them huge credit because they’re the ones setting us up for this stuff.”