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By Mike Johnson on 1/18/2024 4:59 PM

Sacramento State and UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber announce Combat U

The Combat Sports and Martial Arts University – Combat U – is the first university-backed combat sports development program. It is spearheaded by UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber

Sacramento, CA (Jan. 18, 2024) – Sacramento State President Luke Wood and UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber on Thursday, Jan. 18, will announce the formation of the first-ever university-backed development program for combat sports. It will provide an entry point for students seeking a world-class education as well as high-level opportunities for combat sports training and competition. The program is a public-private partnership between Sacramento State and Urijah Faber’s Ultimate Fitness.

Combat U – officially Combat Sports and Martial Arts University – will provide a pathway to a university education for students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.  

The announcement will come during a news conference at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the Hinde Auditorium in Sacramento State’s University Union. The event, featuring Wood and Faber, will be streamed live at   

The program, open to women and men, is scheduled to fully launch in the Fall 2024 semester, with workouts beginning this February. Faber is Combat U’s program architect and executive coach. Current professional fighters, including those from the UFC, and former world champion kickboxers and professional boxers will serve as coaches. Combat U is intended for participants with all levels of experience, including those interested in working out for a healthy lifestyle or competing at amateur and professional levels. 

Combat U will provide professional-level instruction and competition opportunities in boxing, wrestling, muay thai, and jiu jitsu. In addition to creating an educational path, Combat U will be the first collegiate training ground for students who want to pursue a professional fight career in mixed martial arts (MMA) or in that sport’s individual components. The program is open to all who qualify to become Sac State students.

“Combat athletes are some of the most dedicated and focused on the planet, but until now, fighters seeking professional careers have had to put their education on hold to pursue their dreams,” Wood said.

“Sac State, in its effort to be at the forefront of creating academic opportunities for a diverse and engaged student body, will attract, develop, and mentor the brightest prospects from around the world, creating a legacy of champions and building on our legacy of educational accessibility. While students will be fighting for Sacramento State, we will be fighting for them to achieve their educational goals and to create a better life for themselves and their families.”

Faber and Wood developed the idea for Combat U based on students from countries throughout the world who study at Sacramento State and train at Ultimate Fitness. That facility is near the University and is one of the top MMA gyms in the world, serving as home to Team Alpha Male, Faber’s highly respected MMA training program. 

“Combat U participants will not only receive elite training, but will be on a strong educational path,” Faber said. “Whether they choose to pursue professional fighting careers or not, they will have the educational background to succeed.”

Combat U programs will be managed through the University’s Department of Athletics in collaboration with Ultimate Fitness. Athletes will receive the same level of safety and sports medicine support as all other University competitive athletes. All participants will be enrolled students pursuing degrees as they receive instruction and training from staff who are experts in their respective disciplines.

“We are thrilled to be offering Combat U to the students at Sacramento State,” said Mark Orr, director of Athletics. “This program reflects our commitment to supporting the holistic development of our students, shaping character, instilling discipline, and building skills that extend well beyond the classroom.”

In addition to utilizing Faber’s championship expertise and facilities, Combat U students will have the opportunity to participate in competitions on campus promoted by Faber’s A1 Combat and streamed worldwide on UFC’s Fight Pass. 

Orientation and workout opportunities for current and prospective Sac State students interested in joining Combat U are being scheduled.

Prospective students who are interested in learning more about Combat U can email Sacramento State’s Athletic department at