Between Rounds: Self Destruction

MMA cutman David Maldonado
MMA cutman David Maldonado greasing a fighter
It doesn’t take long knowing me to realize that I pay attention to details and have a taste of OCD in how I see life. I believe there is a reason for things we are taught or methodologies deemed as best practice. Turn signals are meant to be used every time, seat belts are meant to be worn, and looking both ways is wise before crossing a street. Anyone that departs from those rules and instructions have put themselves and others in great danger due to oblivious approaches to living life.

In my world as a cutman, there are proper procedures and simple expressions of respect for anatomy and my education that has me tape a certain way, grease a fighter properly, or approach swelling on a fighter. Those that say it doesn’t matter are speaking out of ignorance and the results are obvious.

The same is true with how the expectations of a cutman are viewed. Proper attire, appropriate tools, accurate usage of terms, and professional behavior are not to be reserved for other trades alone. Every time I see someone with jeans and a T shirt, holding nothing but a towel and swabs from the local pharmacy, and use the terms trainer or wraps tell me quickly that they aren’t serious about what they do as a cutman. Correction, they may be serious but they aren’t worthy of being called a professional cutman in today’s world.

I saw one this past week proclaim that “I think it’s time to call myself an official cutman”. He was going to get licensed in multiple states and give it a go. Apparently he had a good weekend to suddenly feel they were more qualified than the week prior. In the same commentary he called himself a “greaseman” and when I called him that later he was offended that his own term was used towards him. Rightfully so, for that should be as offensive as calling GSP a bar room brawler.

There are no regulations, anyone can get a license. Nobody is challenged to actually be evaluated for what skills they possess or lack. No test of knowledge, only an unfounded reputation precedes them, one gained by time spent near the sport and some interaction with others equally untrained. I recently shocked an MMA radio host with these facts, he (like most of the fans) just assumed there was some formal medical training required of a cutman.

I don’t mind being the one to stand upon higher expectations and demands for the field. Not everyone can be accepting and condone subpar performances and skills or it will continue to be the sport, the fighters, and the promotions that are hurt as a result. My march continues…

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.