Between Rounds: Earning Your Keep

MMA cutman David Maldonado
MMA cutman David Maldonado greasing a fighter

Fighters earn their reputation by the actions in the cage and sometimes by their words outside the cage. We all have names that come to mind for various reasons, Chael Sonnen, Clay Guida, the Korean Zombie, Lyoto Machida and many more. They have a win-loss record and videotape that shows their past skills.

Unfortunately that is not the case for other areas of MMA, and the cutman world is one of those areas. Few pay attention to us, and even fewer have any objective knowledge of what makes one good or less than good.

Those that hire us certainly do not take the time to compile any facts. In fact, more than once I have been directly asked, “Well, are you any good?” What is frightening to me is that allows those who have no right to say “yes” to give certain individuals a free pass to work shows they aren’t qualified, therefore putting fighters and shows at risk with less than adequate cutman representation.

Similarly, those without clear standards for assessing others can boast about the skills of others as easily as passing any other rumor. I recently learned that a well known cutman admittedly vouched for another who had virtually no MMA experience, admitting “well I’ve never met them in person” (nor had he actually seen any of their work obviously).

In addition, I can’t tell you how often I see online posts of cutmen who pat themselves on the back about their status. The longtime truth about the value of knowing people in the right places not only opens doors but also unfairly creates false credentials.

I would welcome the chance to simply have open tryouts for cutmen at shows. Let the real experts prove themselves and earn their place. Fighters have to do it, just ask anyone who has tried out for TUF, XFC, or any other reputable place on an MMA stage. Education and an expectation for higher standards will be the only way to keep the true talent where it belongs. If only in my dreams…

In his column “Between Rounds” MMA cutman David Maldonado shares with readers his experiences and thoughts from inside the world of MMA. 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.

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