WARSAW – He’s been all around the world, cracking backs and getting minds right. In a couple weeks he’ll be in Sin City, standing in the corner of the octagon hoping his friend can inflict enough pain to be crowned the UFC Welterweight champion of the world.
Dr. Wayne Hogenson has a really interesting gig. He’s a full-time chiropractor based in Warsaw at the We Care Chiropractic facility. You might not be able to tell right away that Hogenson deals with some of the baddest fighters on the planet. A quick inventory on a Wednesday morning in his office had a full-term mother-to-be, a middle-aged man and a well-seasoned woman as well as high school interns among the clientele in the quaint office.
But a closer look around, from the UFC photos and memorabilia in one corner of the office to the war scars on Hogenson’s ears scream he’s not your run-of-the-mill chiropractor. And he doesn’t run with run-of-the-mill fighters, either.
Hogenson is the chiropractor, among family ties and personal history, with UFC Welterweight No. 1 contender “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. Going back to his wrestling coaching days in Bettendorf, Iowa, Hogenson and Lawler bonded and continued to stay in contact. So much so that both have children now and are God-parents for each other.
That relationship continued to build as Lawler worked his way off of the wrestling mats and into the cages of mixed martial arts. As Lawler’s ranking crawled into double digits, at one point 48th, then all the way up as a top-five contender, Hogenson was there all along.
“I was a chiropractor for seven world champions, and Herschel Walker, among the people I’ve worked with,” Hogenson stated. “We’ve been to some crazy places, like pool halls. Now UFC is on ESPN, at the MGM Grand in Vegas. To go from a sport that wasn’t regulated to what it is now is unreal. It’s crazy some of the celebrities and people you meet doing this.”
Hogenson’s service to the fighters, which has specifically narrowed of late to Lawler, includes spinal adjustments and some mental work. Most of the work is actually done weeks in advance to prepare the fighter for the week leading up to the bout. Hogenson claims a good portion of his clients don’t need a lot of work post-fight.
Locally, Hogenson has volunteered with several area schools and their wrestling clubs and teams. Hogenson, who wrestled at Luther College and later with the University of Iowa club team, has worked with Warsaw Community High School, Edgewood and Lakeview middle school teams, and the Tiger wrestling clubs. He has children in the clubs, and has also worked with a handful of wrestlers – including WCHS state champion Jarred Brooks – looking to transition into mixed martial arts.
“I used to worry so much about wrestling as my kids were getting older,” Hogenson said. “But now, it’s just about having fun and staying loose. Let the match be the moment, focus your energy on the moment.”
The next big moment for Hogenson will be Dec. 6 when Lawler will take on Johny Hendricks at UFC 181 for the Welterweight championship. Hendricks beat Lawler earlier this year, prompting a rematch. The changes in tones in Hogenson’s voice talking about the fight is enough get even a casual observer pumped. And it’s always good to have confidence in the corner.
“Robbie actually beat Johny earlier this year, but the fight was in Dallas and that’s Johny’s hometown,” Hogenson said, where Hendricks was awarded the match via unanimous decision. “(Hendricks) wasn’t going to lose that fight unless Robbie knocked him out. This time will be different. The fight is in Vegas and Robbie is ready. It’s going to be a great atmosphere and will be a lot of fun watching my brother win the title.”