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MMA CUTMAN - THE NEXT 26 HOURS (by David Maldonado © MMA SPORTS®)
The life and role of a cutman is often overlooked and shrouded behind the more noteworthy attention deserved by fighters, title belts, celebrities, and media. They are seen briefly but their complete list of activities is largely unknown. Due to the extreme shortage of qualified cutmen worthy of claiming such a title, most promotions in the U.S. and beyond do not use someone in that role. Corners in those situations are left doing their best to salvage a fight and a show that invests a great deal of time, energy, and money into an evening of entertainment for excited fans.

As a formally trained cutman in MMA, I combine my expertise as an athletic trainer and board certified sports physical therapist to bring a level of support to shows and fighters not yet seen by the sport. Grateful to be active throughout the country, questions often come wondering about my schedule and responsibilities. The job varies based on the size of show, the flexibility of the governing commission, and the location of the event. Follow along as I take you through a typical schedule of activities that I follow to ensure a quality delivery of my skills to a high level MMA show:

Showtime: 7pm first bell, live television main card beginning at 9pm

26 hours out: Having arrived in town to get settled, I formally greet the commission and inspectors at the weigh ins. Saying hello to fighters and confirming duties for the next day, the goal is to make the next night a comfortable time without any surprises. It's never that smooth but one can at least try...

9am: Happy to have no alarm clock set, I consider the higher priority amongst breakfast, exercise, and mentally recharging to get myself right for an important day.

Noon: Double check my materials and clothing needed to be ready to leave in a few hours for the venue.

1pm: Clean up and organize my to do list for the evening, having already calculated the volume of fighters needing to be taped for battle yet expected a few stragglers to pop up last minute.

2pm: Find food, including a late night snack if needed. This will be the last chance I have to eat for the next 7-8 hours.

3pm: Gather up my outfit, touching up anything necessary to look professional and represent properly.

4pm: After a brief nap or time of relaxation, head down to an awaiting shuttle or personal car to head to the venue.

4:30pm: Get familiar with the venue, looking for needed resources and personnel who can help me succeed tonight including security members or facility staff. If possible, claim a spot cageside to call home for the evening once the lights go bright.

5pm: Confirm my list of fighters needing my assistance, set up my station cageside. Introductions with referee’s and other cage personnel including ringside physician.

5:30pm: Fighter's meeting; clarify my role to the fighters and corners. I need to be a familiar face to them so it's not confusing when it's crunch time.

5:45pm: Change clothes, tape needed fighters, mentally prepare final checklist.

6:50pm: Make my way cageside and get ready to begin. Confirm needs of camera and production people. Finalize expectations with referee’s, commission, and physician.

7pm: Lights up, fists up!

8:30pm: Break in the action from the undercard, but no break for me. Immediately I go backstage to get the final main card fighters ready that scheduled with me.

9pm: Main card begins, live TV starts and it's time for everyone to prove themselves!

11:30pm: A great night ends; I clean up the mess, tend to injuries needing my attention, and say my goodbyes to new friends made. Retreat to a much awaited cozy room and late night food to enjoy on my lap. In some cases prepare for an early departure, but in every case, reminisce on an evening that I'm appreciative to be a part of.

My goal is always to improve the sport and raise the level of expectations of all involved. I look forward to bringing injury prevention and treatment insights as well as discussing behind the scenes observations and opinions from an expert viewpoint.
 
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