Stitch, MMA's Favorite Cutman Gives Insight into a Dream Job

Jacob "Stitch" Duran is a warm and friendly face
inside the octagon.  Why, because he is there to protect the fighters.
 Although he is not the only one, he has a calming presence and a trusting
smile that brings fighters a small amount of comfort if they think about the
potential injuries they may incur in the course of their evening.  Stitch
who is synonymous with the image of a cutman gave me an introduction to the
cutman's responsibilities and even a few trade secrets.

What does a cutman do?

Stitch:  We wrap
hands, take care of cuts and prevent swelling.  We do not determine the degree of a head injury or
concussion or a fighter's vision, that is the fight doc

How did you begin working with the UFC?

Stitch:  I have
been in Las Vegas for about 14 years. 
I used to sell equipment and train fighters.  I was selling equipment to Dana White.  Then when I was at a K-1 fight at the
Bellagio and simply gave him my card if he needed a cutman and he just called
me.  At first, I just wrapped
everyone's hands before the fight.

Who mentored you into the career path of a cutman?

Stitch:  Leon
Tabbs, the Godfather and original cutman from UFC 1.  Before Zuffa brought him in and Dana bought the UFC, he had
the foresight to know that it would be best for the fighters if they had a full
time professional cutman for both corner to reduce injuries.  But I learned so much from Tabbs.  Now, since Dana took over UFC, fighter
are guaranteed a cutman, although they have the choice of bringing in their own
guy.  But it has exploded as you
know and now Don House and Rudy Hernandez also with me.  We are all mentors to each other and
share out techniques which helps everyone because we are neutral.  We are assigned a corner for the fight,
it does not matter who we mend, as long as all the fighters that evening are
taken care of equally.

How does it work when you come into work - fight night?

Stitch: We just start wrapping hands - everyone and then
they assign us a corner for the night and we get a sheet with the line up which
gives us a chance to see if a fighter has anything that is on the mend - so we
are prepared if they were recently cut.

Do you just work for the UFC?

Stitch:  No, I
freelance.  I do everything.  It is super with the UFC because you
have so much guaranteed work, but I still work with professional boxers.  I travel to Germany and Russia and
Japan.

How can someone pursue a career as a cutman?

Stitch:  You
have start out doing it for the love of the sport.  There are limited professionals even today.    You have to study the art
of it.  Find out one tip at a time
and work on using it.  You cannot
just do it in a week or a month. 
Experience in the ring, seeing what happens will teach you a lot.

Can you give some specific advise on becoming a cutman?

Make yourself present at a local gym.  Watch the fighters train and first
start offering to wrap their hands during sparring sessions.  Start researching the different tools
we use and medications we rely on. 
Then find a few fighters and accompany them to their fight, there you
will always find guys who are solo that need someone to look out for them.  Remember cutman protect fighters, which
protects the sport.

What are some of these tools and medications?

Adidas-End-Swell-2T.jpgStitch: You need end swells, which are the iron bars used
on cheek bones as a c old compress, You need lots of tape, long q-tips, gauze,
compresses.    The medications that we use are
adreline chloride, which applied to a swab.  It closes up the blood vessels after directly applied to a
cut.  Avitine is a coagulate, which
is very hard to work with and expensive. 
But if you do not have the medications then you can not go wrong with
direct pressure and good common sense.

http://www.performancemma.com  or http://www.ringside.com

How do you get these medications?

Stitch:  You
need a prescription, so it is difficult if you are not considered qualified.

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