The role of a cutman, though still shrouded in mystery and some confusion, is gaining progressive interest from many out there who want to be involved in the great sport of MMA but avoid getting punched.
I must pause and say that last week I worked a show in Lexington, Ky. and almost did get punched trying to subdue a concussed and semi-conscious fighter who clocked the referee thinking he was his opponent. But I digress…
There are but a few states where a cutman license even exists. In most states it is simply a second corner license that a commission needs to allow a cutman to do his job.
In either case, it is unfortunate that a pulse, a check and a signature is about all that is required to call oneself a cutman. And that (as well as lack of assessment of skills using checks and balances to have the best people working with the best fighters) is what I feel is preventing a higher expectation of the trade.
Those considered the experts or legends of the field are those that have no formal education or training as the trade was simply originated as a grass roots development of coaches needing someone to fill the role. Now currently, the most common experience one has is simply a background as a former fighter or current coach.
That leaves the fighter without the expertise and medical training that could maximize what is offered them. There are a few that do a good job at most aspects of the cutman role but are left scratching their heads when they face a situation where a fighter has true injuries or damage sustained.
Thankfully there are physicians present that take over in those cases. My advantage is I didn’t require 20 years trying to figure out the trade, it comes naturally as I am formally trained to handle such athletes and I do it daily as my formal occupation.
That allows me to be an extra set of eyes on the fighter to recognize things before they become a bigger issue and can communicate with the physician accordingly.
The expectations are not likely to change anytime soon as formal tryouts or proof of skills would remove many of the popular names in the field. Thankfully the physicians must prove their knowledge before being given their title; one day fighters will realize the same demands can and should be made of the ones controlling their success in the cage when the blood flows.
“Between Rounds” is a weekly column written by MMA cutman David Maldonado where he shares with readers his experiences and the intricate details and processes involved in his specialized field of training. Readers are encouraged to respond, interact and ask questions about the life and work of the MMA cutman. “Between Rounds” is part of ProMMAnow.com‘s ongoing series of exclusive content written by individuals involved in the mixed martial arts industry.