Revered cut-man Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran has been fired from the UFC after he revealed in an interview earlier this week how the organization’s deal with Reebok had adversely affected his own earnings.
“@daej81 You will be the first to know that the UFC just let me go because I spoke out about the Reebok deal. Got to look for a new job!
— Jacob Stitch Duran (@StitchDuran) July 21, 2015”
Duran had spoken about the Reebok deal in an interview with bloodyelbow.com on Monday, giving an honest assessment of how it had affected him personally given that the UFC’s cut-men aren’t included in the new arrangement, yet have also been forcced to abandon their own separate clothing sponsors.
“It’s a solid shot,” Duran told Bloody Elbow regarding his lost sponsorship money. “I got paid on a monthly basis so it definitely added up. I made really good money on that sponsorship so it’s kind of a shocker to transition.
As a result, Duran revealed that he may have to allocate more of his time to boxing in the future, where he’s also one of the sport’s leading cut-men, as they pay better.
“This is what I do full time. I also do boxing and the pay scale is a little different there. The fighters pay you directly in boxing, where in MMA it’s the promoters that pay you to work the event instead of with the individual boxers. With boxers, especially when you’re working for the top dogs, you make more so the sponsorship money was nice to have [in MMA]. So I might have to start looking more at boxers again.”
‘Stitch’, who’s a familiar face in the Octagon at the UFC’s events and even released a book about his life, titled, ‘From The Fields To The Garden: The Life Of Stitch Duran’ a few years ago, also spoke about how the UFC broke the news that they wouldn’t be part of the sponsorship deal.
“We were given sufficient warning but they basically told us we weren’t part of the negotiations of that Reebok deal. That was only going to involve the fighters.
I don’t think they did this out of malice. 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.”
Duran’s comments seem perfectly reasonable, so it’s very disappointing that the UFC have overreacted by showing him the exit door.
Understandly, ‘Stitch’ is now venting his frustrations at the UFC, and in particular Dana White who brought him into the promotion as a cut-man back in 2001.
“It’s not like I’m going to lack any type of work,” Duran told MMAfighting.com. “It’s just that I really enjoyed working with the fighters and the people in the UFC. To get a nut shot by Dana in him not calling me and having the balls to call me, it just showed me the kind of characters that I was dealing with.”
Since the news first broke, other well known UFC stars have expressed their support on Twitter for the popular cut-man.
“Sooo disappointed to hear about @StitchDuran !! He’s the man and was my go to guy. Wrapped me for all my championship fights!” – Chris Weidman.
“Soooo we the fighters are assed out because @StitchDuran spoke his mind? Smfh when one door closes another opens. Much respect to you Stitch.” – Anthony Johnson.
“There is only one man I want wrapping my hands and handling my corner in the @ufc That is @StitchDuran best cut-man in the business.” – Tim Kennedy
“@StitchDuran it was always a honor sharing the cage with you God bless you and your family. #willbemissed” – Diego Sanchez
“So sad 2 see this happen. @StitchDuran is a great and proud man & I love him to death. He’s the best of the best” – ‘Big’ John McCarthy
Overall, this feels like another blunder from the UFC that does nothing but generate more bad publicity around the Reebok deal which had already got off to a rocky start.