Former MMA fighter in a personal health battle

Contributed photo
Frazee native Brian Heden was well known for his success as an MMA fighter, but is currently in a battle for his health after a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy that limits his mobility, along with a host of other negative symptoms.

By Robert Williams


Frazee native Brian Heden was frequently featured at the top of the main event card during his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. He now finds himself in a completely different battle, after being diagnosed with Peripheral Neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is a result of damage to the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves), often causing weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet. It can also affect other areas and body functions including digestion, urination and circulation.

A fundraiser has been set up by Brian’s father Ernie Heden at to help Brian with multiple expenses. Users may also search Brian Heden at the homepage to locate the fundraiser. 

“Prayers are also welcomed as we pray for his healing daily and also that nobody else has to endure what he is going through,” Ernie said. “Times for him have been really hard the past few years and any donations, and I mean anything, no matter the size will be greatly appreciated more than you will ever know.”

The funds raised will be used to help get Brian to and from medical appointments in Fargo, N.D., along with helping to catch up on basic bills, pay for medical prescriptions and basically survive until such a time as his disability gets approved by social security, according to the fundraiser post. 

Brian is currently suffering numbness in his legs and can only walk short distances with the aid of a walker or the use of a wheelchair. He also has diabetes, along with heart palpitations, thyroid issues and pressure on his spinal cord as a result of five bulging discs in his lower back. 

As a result, his legs are numb all the time, turn blue and he has no feeling in his feet. 

The nerve damage has been diagnosed as incurable and Heden runs the risk of having his legs amputated and could possibly go blind. 

Brian is unable to work for at least six months and much of his future rides on determinations and diagnoses made at upcoming medical appointments.

“We will take it one day at a time and  be there for him to stay strong while going through all of this,” Brian’s mother Carla Brown said. “All we can do is pray and keep him strong and the best healthcare to support  him through all this.”

According to Ernie, a few years ago Brian was a healthy young man. Being in the MMA was hard on him. He also was active in amateur baseball, softball, fishing and spending time with his two sons.