Tuesday October 27, 2015– When you think of MMA the first thing that comes to your mind is fighting, Ronda Rousey, Octagon, UFC, Bellator and many of other choices. For a live event in any kind of promotion it all has to be a well-oiled machine for it all to work. From the promoters doing their job and selling the event, to the fighters training hard and making weight, to all the media doing their homework and being prepared to cover the event to the best of their abilities.
Then enter the cutman, the men and women who bust their tails off to make sure that every fighter is taped, relaxed and ready to go for their bout. Every cutman is special in their own right, everyone will have their own techniques and styles of how they handled the fighters. The main goal of a cutman is to keep the fighter safe by any means, from patching cuts, to cleaning scrapes or even closing open gashes. Being a cutman is performed in an art form, as your job needs to be at 100% at all times your focus and motivation is always needed to master your craft. They are the first ones in the building as they get to the event early to set up their tools and do their pre fight work. When the fighters arrive and depending on how many cutman are on duty for the event the work is nonstop. It starts with wrapping fighter’s hands and giving a hand in the prefight physical, next up is being around octagon side to assist and clean all sorts of cuts and gashes no matter what the size is. After the fights are over they are in the back cleaning, and closing cuts, gashes and doing the best they can to keep the fighter from having to make a trip to the hospital. As the event finishes and fans hit the door and leave, the cutman are the last to leave the building. After working all day and taking care of the fighters, their day comes to an end.
To become a cutman there are a lot of things that need to fall into place. First you need to know your way around MMA. After taking the time to interview some of the best cutman in the business I learned that taking the time to learn the craft is the best way to gain experience. Some have a medical background which will help you even more along the way, as I learned from the two top cutman for Bellator MMA Dean Lassiter and Sid Gee. Both men are well-known around the sport and have been around for many years gaining experience along the way.
Sid Gee has been around MMA for 42 years coming from St. Louis. Sid has a black belt in Chinese Kempo and teaches to the youth in his spare time. Along the way Mr. Gee has learned all sorts of tricks and skills like starting from the basics fixing cuts, broken noses and wrapping hands. When I asked Sid about wrapping hands he told me something I really didn’t know and didn’t take the time to think about. How important the wrapping of a fighters hands are. The art of wrapping hands is the most important thing before a fight that needs to be done. If anything goes wrong in the hand wrap a broken bone or even a worse injury can occur.
When I spoke to head cutman of Bellator the great Dean Lassiter he designed the glove for Bellator. Some say around the MMA community that the glove that Lassiter created is the best glove around, due to the fact that it was designed and formed to not break bones in hands during the fight. A genius invention if you ask me a fighter can’t fight if his hands are broken or injured and in the long run it saves the organization money. These hard-working men and women main objective is to protect the fighters before and after fights. I also spoke to one of the most respected cutman around the business, Ms. Temre Morgan, who not only has a background in medicine but has also earned the name “The Cut Master”. Not only was she the 2nd women to be inducted into the ICA but she has also made her way around the MMA circuit. Working for FCF, Rumble By The River, XFL, and Xtreme Fighting, she is also a highly requested private higher from fighters. Having the privilege to interview a women in the industry really gave me a chance to see it from another angle. When talking to her we both agreed that she is just as good as any of the other cutman in the business and she wants to be judged by her work and not by her sex.
I talked to cutman Rod Wingrove, and he couldn’t say enough just how important it is to make sure that you know what you’re doing. That the smallest mistake can ruin a fighter. One thing that I could put together from all the cutman is not only the fact that they are so close and like a big family but they always know what needs to be done and that you need to know your craft, always come prepared and take care of the fighter.
As I closed out each interview with all of these cutman, I asked them what would you want the world to know about the cutman? I was so amazed to hear all of their answers, as each one couldn’t express enough how important it is to make sure that the right man or women is there to do their job. A cutman needs to be focused 100% of the time, they can never lose focus or take a broken bone or injury to heart. If there are short staffed for a big card, the focus needs to be on point from start to finish. Another point they said was how they are all like a big family, how they all reach out to each other and always try to help each other out. From skills to techniques or even tools. The best insurance policy in the business is a good cutman or cut woman. When you go through the process of hiring a cutman judge them on their craft not on their name or were they worked. The passion that these men and women have for the sport is incredible, all of them know that it might not be the highest paying job in the business but their passion for the sport and for the fighters thrives them and makes them want to keep going. Lastly if you really want to be the best cutman you can be, just do work like at gyms, training camps, local events. When you build up the skill you can be flown in from all over the world for events, if you’re the best you will be hired.
I can’t express enough how much of an honor it was to talk to these men and women. I really got to learn something that I knew little about, and to learn the business from the hardest working men and women. I feel that through these conversations I felt that I have gained some new friendships and hopefully one day get to shake their hands in person. I would like to thank Bellator MMA and their amazing cutman Sid Gee and all of his sponsors Headrush, GPS, Wild About Shooting, Azad Watches, Sub Zero Cryotherapy, War Brand Tape. The big guy himself Dean lassiter, the lovely “Cut Master” Temre Morgan, and of corse last but not least the great Rod “Zilla” Wingrove. I have the upmost respect for these men and women and can’t wait to see them in action. I hope that whoever read this learns that there are so much more to MMA than the fights, and to find the respect that these men and women deserve.
Temre Morgan“The Cut Master”
Rod “Zilla” Wingrove
(All Photos are From Facebook and Courtesy of their respective owners)
By: Rick San Bartolome