The MMA world has been abuzz this week after long-time cutman Jacob "Stitch" Duran said he was fired for comments he made during a recent interview where he explained how he and other UFC cut-men were losing money under the new Reebok apparel deal. Starting earlier this month UFC cut-men and women, like fighters, were no longer allowed to represent sponsors on their fight-week and night clothing.
Unlike fighters, however, Duran said that the cutmen and women were not getting any money from the deal. Duran explained how, in his view, he and other professionals who tend to the cuts and wrap the hands of UFC fighters were unintentionally cut out of the Reebok deal, and that it affected them a great deal, financially.
Duran worked for the UFC for nearly 15 years, and has also worked with top boxers like heavyweight champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.
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In years past, companies paid cutmen like Duran to wear their logo on his vest while he worked on fighters during UFC events. Starting at UFC 189, those logos were gone, but also not replaced with Reebok branding and pay.
"I don't think they did this out of malice," Duran said.
"Not at all. Really, what I think is we might be doing too good of job where they just maybe forgot about us. I also don't think they thought about or understood what kind of value we could give them."
After the interview Duran said he was fired for his comments. UFC heavyweight Brendan Schuaub, his co-host Bryan Callen, and producer Evan The Beard discussed the development with amazement on the latest episode of The Fighter and The Kid podcast.
"Who wins in this? Who fu----- wins in this game?" Schaub wondered out loud.
"You cannot run corporations like this."
Fan-reaction on Twitter earlier this week was part of the fall-out and negative attention the UFC and Reebok got after Duran's firing. Reebok issued a statement saying that they have nothing to do with UFC personnel decisions, and UFC president Dana White lashed out at fans through his Twitter account.
the FATK crew said that the negative public relations in this case seemed completely avoidable. "Instead of firing him, wouldn't it have been a little easier to pay him a little bit?" Evan asked.
"Because there's only a couple cut-men. It's not like if all of the fighters got pissed off and wanted to be compensated for their loss of wages...that's 500-plus guys on their roster. You have, what, five cut-men? Just pay 'em. Why [fire] the guy and get the bad PR?"
Schaub agreed that the Duran situation needn't have created bad press for the UFC and Reebok. "You need all the PR you can handle [if ou are Reebok]," he said.
"Guess what PR you're getting from the UFC so far? All negative...if Reebok just would have said, 'hey Stitch, we're going to give you this just to wear a Reebok vest, it would go so far."
Watch the entire episode of FATK, with guest, actor, director, writer Michael Rapaport, above or listen to it below!
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