The MMA world has been abuzz this week after long-time cut man 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 cut men 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.
In years past, companies paid cut men 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 they were 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 Schaub, and his co-host Bryan Callen discussed the development with amazement on the latest episode of The Fighter and The Kid podcast.
"Who wins in this? Who f****** 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 fallout and negative attention the UFC and Reebok received 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. Schaub emphasized that the Duran situation needn't have created bad press for the UFC and Reebok.
"You need all the PR you can handle [if you 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 and writer Michael Rapaport, above or listen to it below!
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