There were numerous members of the mixed martial arts (MMA) community who were upset when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fired renowned cutman Jacob Duran last week, just one day after "Stitch" spoke out against the promotion's partnership with Reebok.
In his comments -- which weren't derogatory or filled with ill intentions -- "Stitch" simply revealed that his sponsors were forced to drop him because he was prohibited from rocking their logos on his vest during events. That of course resulted in loss of income for him -- and the rest of the cut men -- that UFC claimed it was unable to replace.
Perhaps what bothered Duran the most was that Dana White "didn't have the balls" to call him up personally and break the bad news, especially since the company's president was the one who brought him into the mix years ago.
In response, White fired back in an interview with FOX Sports, revealing that he and Duran "were never friends" and that he is not involved with cutmen-related issues and/or concerns
Duran was unimpressed with the explanation, telling "Off The Ball" that, at the end of the day, White didn't fully appreciate what he and the rest of the cut men do, which is essentially in-cage triage to ensure his fighters compete to their maximum abilities.
"I don't know, maybe I'm jabbing a bit too hard and he has to come back with something. But, that's not much of a counter-punch. He says we have 10 cutmen (in UFC). But let me correct that. In the United States, we have 13 cutmen. In Europe there is four or five, in Brazil we have two and Canda has one. He says he never deals with cutmen. But, he's the one who started this program and as a general you always know who's in the frontlines and who's in the backlines. That's just good strategy. And if you get Dana to name three cutmen outside of myself and Don House, he has no clue. And he didn't really appreciate the things that we did."
Still, Duran is very appreciative that UFC gave him a platform to make money and show off his skills to change the game.
"I've been in the fight business for 30 years. I started in kickboxing, progressed into boxing and then Dana brought me in at UFC 33 and it's been a great ride ever since then. I thought it was tremendous, I had a great opportunity and, you know, the UFC kind of helped me, gave me platform to do what I wanted to do and that's being a cutman and helping fighters and trying to make the game a little bit different. It's been a whirlwind. It's been a ride."
Duran also went on to explain just how much of a financial hit he took, stating that the paycheck from UFC alone sans sponsors wasn't comparable to what he gets in boxing.
"That's what made it really impossible for me to continue working with the UFC because the majority of the money I was making was through my sponsors. In the event that I work with the UFC, the pay-scale was definitely not even close to what I was getting in boxing. So when they took the sponsors away that changed the whole landscape of what I have to do because I have a family to support. Even though I love working with UFC and the whole staff, everybody inside the UFC structure. The majority of these people gave me a call, some support; behind the scenes so-to-speak. Listen, I enjoyed working for UFC and I think I did a lot for them as a representative and spoke highly about them. I supported them when the boxing people would try to chastise them. I would put them in check. I did everything that a person that is dedicated to the UFC would do. But, yeah, that changed.
Thankfully, "Stich" is well known in the boxing world and he'll have plenty of work lined up now that he's no longer with UFC.
Plus, he'll also get to work other MMA promotions -- he'll work WSOF 22 this weekend (Sat., Aug. 1, 2015) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Duran will also return to his roots, working the kickboxing matches for GLORY 23 the following weekend.