Cutman Maldonado prepping Luke Sanders
Cutman Maldonado prepping Luke Sanders

This year will be my busiest year to date, having the opportunity to work over 40 shows from coast to coast. Each and every time, my goal is to help fighters and educate whenever possible. The sport in many ways is growing and needs to raise the level of what it brings the fighter.

From the bottom to the top, it takes humility and effort. In my case, I am constantly reviewing fight footage, some including my own work and watching others in action as well. I try and improve what I see myself doing, and I see more errors than I should from those in high visibility situations.

I spent a weekend recently in east Tennessee where rumors of interest in educational coursework was mentioned. That coincided with previous observation of greatly lack taping skills by corners in the area. Two classes were made available after a month of advertisement.

The night before, the sanctioning body called out the coaches for their subpar taping and nearly demanded they attend my class. The response? Three in attendance including one who was nearly forced to attend, a judge who likely wouldn’t use the skills but simply wanted the information, and a seasoned veteran coach who thought he already knew plenty but couldn’t pass up the chance to see for sure. Each were enlightened and benefited from the class, but the disappointment was in how many passed up the opportunity.

Watching some recent televised fights, I saw a common sight which is observing fight staff not living up to the standard that they are there to represent; wrinkled, untucked shirts to go along with shabby bottoms being worn by referees, inspectors looking for TV cameras and sporting borrowed, aged shirts instead of dressing the part and looking sharp and professional like Gary Thomas and Sean Brockmole did during a recent UFC telecast.

Cutmen often are seen cutting corners as well (no pun intended) with their lazy attire, unfocused approach and substandard techniques. If those making the hiring decisions are those making the mistakes, it’s hard to imagine change will occur.

What is exciting is to see those that ignore those insurmountable factors and simply maintain their only standards and expectations, regardless of who is noticing. To those, thank you on behalf of the sport and fighters who are leading the way with their blood and sweat they leave on the mat and training floor every day.

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‘s ongoing series of exclusive content written by individuals involved in the mixed martial arts industry.

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