Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran is the world’s most famous cutman in boxing and MMA – who counts everyone from Tyson Fury, Jake Paul and even Hollywood star Michael B Jordan as some of the luminaries he has worked with – not to mention all the biggest UFC fighters during his years in the sport before falling out with the organisation and leaving in 2015.
‘Stitch’ has been involved in Youtubers crossing over to the boxing ring since working the corner for KSI against Logan Paul in 2019 – and also oversaw Jake Paul’s first round stoppage of MMA fighter Ben Askren in early May.
In a recent interview with MyBettingSites, he thinks UFC fighters are getting ‘screwed’ by Dana White and that it’s time for fighters and cut men and women to unionise.
He believes even the ring girls get paid more than the cutmen – and the cutmen are the most important people in the fights. And referencing a recent story involving UFC fighter Diego Sanchez being denied access to his UFC medical records, Stitch believes if there was a union the fighter would win the battle for access.
STITCH DURAN: UFC FIGHTERS ARE GETTING ‘SCREWED’ BY DANA WHITE
“The UFC called us together, met with us and bought us lunch and they told us that because of the Reebok deal you couldn’t use any more sponsors. I was making more money from sponsors than what the UFC was paying me. When they took the sponsors away, I tried to negotiate for at least an increase in pay and I was told there’s no money in the kitty. I couldn’t stay with them anyway and that was when I spoke out.
“The people knew that we got paid more to work a boxing show than a whole event with the UFC. As a matter of fact one of Dana’s right hand people mentioned:” ‘we know we don’t pay you guys enough.’ And none of that has changed. It’s quite disappointing. These guys need to get paid more.
“The [UFC] fighters don’t get paid what they’re worth, not at all. They’re getting screwed. And that’s one good thing about these Youtubers, Ben Askren got paid $500,000 for that Paul fight. I remember Dana when we first started saying: ‘as we make money, you make money.’ But it seems like they are making the money but not passing on the benefits created by the UFC.
STITCH DURAN: RING GIRLS GET PAID MORE THAN THE CUTMEN’
“They’d have to pay me a lot of money [if I were to return]. It depends. I know I would bring a lot of value back. How many years has it been, six? People still stop me for interviews. It kind of makes me the face of the rebellion, the guy who spoke up.
“A couple of months ago I was doing one of the Top Rank shows in the bubble at the MGM and Luiz Dórea – who used to train Anderson Silva – he comes up to me and he says: ‘Stitch, we the coaches, the fighters we respect you a lot because you spoke up when we couldn’t.’ Even Wesley Snipes comes up to me and says: ‘Hey man, the UFC did you wrong.’ I’m glad I spoke up for unfair practices.
“I ran into one of the UFC cutmen the other day and he was telling me they were still getting paid peanuts. and to me that’s a shame. It’s quite disappointing and I could almost guarantee you the ring girls get paid more than the cutmen and the cutmen are the most important people in the fights, especially in MMA. So I’m glad I left and things would have to change if I came back.
STITCH DURAN: CALLS FOR UNIONISATION FOR FIGHTERS TO KEEP THEIR OWN MEDICAL RECORDS
“The UFC is a private entity for the most part, so they get to call their own shots and keep their own records. Like Diego Sanchez wanting his history of medical records. I think if they were unionised he would have got them. And I think he’s entitled to that, to see the record of tests that were given to him by the UFC, so he can look at his career to see what’s accrued in damages, whether it’s body damage or mental damage.
“I think he’s entitled to know what’s going to happen down the road. And it’s really time to build an association so to speak, so if you’re a fighter you can go to this place to get legal counsel, you could have advice here, you need a base to educate these guys.
“I’d love to put a programme together for these guys. It’s time to crack that shell and open up the benefits of combat sports. These Youtubers are creating this ‘you can make more money’ and here’s how you do it.”