Boxing, MMA Meet to Support Head Injury Research

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US Republican Senator John McCain (L) of Arizona greets Jon Jones (R), UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) light heavyweight champion and Bernard Hopkins (C), International Boxing Federation (IBF) light heavyweight champion, following a press conference by professional boxing and fighting organizations in support of a study by the Cleveland Clinic to study brain health, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, February 4, 2014.        (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US Republican Senator John McCain (L) of Arizona greets Jon Jones (R), UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) light heavyweight champion and Bernard Hopkins (C), International Boxing Federation (IBF) light heavyweight champion, following a press conference by professional boxing and fighting organizations in support of a study by the Cleveland Clinic to study brain health, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, February 4, 2014. (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — Two former boxers, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.), welcomed representatives of the world’s boxing and mixed martial arts organizations on Tuesday to announce support for a study to understand the effects of repeated blows to the head.

Bringing together the rival bodies of combat sports is no small feat. But they’ve committed $600,000 to the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

“These athletes are here in support of their fellow athletes because they’ve seen the results,” McCain said. “If we don’t do this, I’m afraid that support for these incredible, entertaining sports will wane on the part of the American people.”

Former middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, who is still active at age 49, said his participation was important, “while I’ve got the voice, while I’ve got the knowledge of how important it is.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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