‘More Financial Power’ – Top Sanford MMA Gym, Renamed Kill Cliff FC
LAS VEGAS – One of the best mixed martial arts gyms is getting a makeover.
Sanford MMA, home of UFC stars like Michael Chandler, Gilbert Burns and Robbie Lawler, will now be called Kill Cliff FC, sources told ESPN on Thursday. Kill Cliff, an energy drink and CBD company that also sponsors the Atlanta Braves, has taken over the naming rights for the South Florida team. An official announcement is expected on Friday.
The new Kill Cliff FC has over 80 professional fighters, including Lawler, a former UFC champion; former UFC title challengers to Chandler and Burns; current Bellator interim welterweight champion Logan Storley; former ONE Championship champion Aung La Nsang; UFC contenders like Vicente Luque; and top UFC prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov.
Longtime MMA and kickboxing mentor Henri Hooft is the head trainer and Greg Jones runs the wrestling program. Kamaru Usman, ESPN’s top pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world, is a veteran of the team and still trains with the team on occasion.
Per Hooft, Sanford Health will remain on the team as a co-sponsor. There is a Sanford clinic adjacent to the Deerfield Beach gymnasium, and Hooft said the team will open a small gymnasium within the grounds of Sanford in South Dakota. The Kill Cliff naming rights deal will allow for renovations to the Florida gym beginning in August, including the addition of more equipment and technology for fighters.
“The fighters, they will really benefit,” Hooft said. “More financial power. More things you can build.”
The now former Sanford MMA originated as the Blackzilians in 2011 under Hooft and late MMA manager Glenn Robinson. Hooft and many Blackzilian fighters parted ways to form Combat Club in 2017, a team later called Hard Knocks 365. In 2019, the team became Sanford MMA after negotiating a title sponsorship with Sanford Health.
Kill Cliff has previously been active in MMA, sponsoring UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and UFC color commentator Joe Rogan. Hooft said the deal was brokered between the team, Sanford and Kill Cliff through Kill Cliff’s partner Dave Martin, who is also a prominent MMA agent.