BGSU Magazine Spring 2010

Cage fighter and counselor

The "absolute connection" may surprise you


Brandon Hance

At times, Brandon Hance comes into work sporting a black eye, abrasions and a contusion or two. He then sits down at his job as a behavioral counselor assistant and offers advice on shaking the evils of chemical dependency, which can often spiral into violent confrontations.

Hance sees no incongruity in his world, where he is a professional cage fighter on the weekends and a passionate, promising young counselor assistant during the week.

"At first, a lot of people think the combination is weird–that the two don’t mesh well together–but I guess I’m the ultimate case of don’t judge a book by its cover," Hance says.

Hance, who expects to earn his degree in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) in May, has been working at a Bowling Green area counseling center for two years. Graduate school is likely in his future, with the goal of earning licensure to work with military veterans and specializing in chemical dependency counseling.

An accomplished soccer player in high school, Hance thought cage fighting was fake when he first watched the relatively new, mixed martial arts sport that places two combatants inside a metal-fenced ring.

"You have to go through the pain, fight and scrap to prevail," says Hance. "There is an absolute connection with my work, because at the end of the day, all addictions require you to go through some pain and really fight before you’re able to kick it."

Hance says his battles in the cage give him a lot of credibility with his clients, many of whom are in a daily, bare-knuckled brawl with drugs and alcohol.

"They see I’m not an aggressive guy, and that I can fight when I have a match, but be disciplined with my life," he concludes.