Jacob “Stitch” Duran is known for closing cuts, not teaching guys how to open them up. But on a recent visit to Xtreme Couture, Duran found himself holding pads for an assortment of fighters.
Martin Kampmann heard that Duran had experience – “Stitch” has held pads for Mike Tyson, among others – and asked, “When are we gonna do pads?”
Duran replied, “Shit, let’s do ‘em right now.” He got hand pads from his car and started working with Kampmann and Jay Hieron. Pretty soon other guys started asking for help and Duran decided to get out while the gettin’ was good. “I gotta go!,” he said.
Stories like this are rare. Duran deflects attention from himself, preferring to talk about the guys he works with, the fighters he works for. Tell him he’s the best known cutman in MMA and he’ll point out that Leon Tabbs is the UFC’s longest-tenured employee since he treated cuts at UFC 1. Only when pressed does he talk about “Stitch Gear,” his upcoming line of fighter and cutman products.
Duran is refreshingly old school, passing around the props and playing down his role in the grand scheme of things – he’s all about the work.
“People always ask me, ‘What are some of the bloodiest fights,’” Duran said. The cutman remembers working on five cuts on Evan Tanner’s face during a contender bout versus David Loiseau. Duran did his best, working on three cuts then, “like an angel from heaven, [Leon Tabbs] came in and automatically he saw that there was two open wounds on Evan Tanner and he started working them at the same time, so Leon and myself were giving Evan Tanner that 150-percent care,” he said.
Go here to read the first installment of “Keeping Fighters Out of the Red.”