MMA as a sport (already a topic of argument for some, but I leave that for another day) is an industry without much legislation, enforcement, expectation and requirement as seen through my vantage point. In the course of a week multiple things could have been seen.
1. A UFC event where roughly five people work the event claiming the title “cutman”. No formal training or prerequisites to hold such a position, simply knowing the right guy and you are handed a vest and a pair of gloves. Some of them are skilled, others, well… Mostly a dog and pony show with no regulation or criteria for inclusion.
2. A highly successful show with excellent talent, a television contract and plenty at stake. No interest in having a cutman present and corners without preparation or any idea of how to help their fighter are forced to do their best and if they fail, fighter loses and fight is stopped. Promotion, television channel, fans and fighter all “bleed” as a result.
3. Countless shows around the country throwing fighters in the cage, now with less talent and tools to protect themselves but even less support for the likely injuries and damage about to occur. Girlfriends, family members, or coaches with the best intentions are put in the position of trying their best to help a fighter. Sometimes that fighter is an amateur and is dismissed as less important to protect with skilled professional cutman.
Shows are usually required to have EMT/ambulance present, a physician (usually no criteria beyond possessing their MD), and that is all. Insurance costs rise in MMA as they do elsewhere, and yet available options exist that could reduce ER visits, ambulance transport, injury complication costs and disappointing and early ends to contests.
Proper greasing, skilled management of fight damage, educated management of injuries and early treatment on site are just a few of the ways a trained cutman with advanced education can help a show succeed and make more money instead of spend more. As they say, pay a little before, or a lot later. Improved reputation, increased show excitement, more peace of mind, the benefits are many.
“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.