Jacob Duran, or 'Stitch' as he is more commonly known, is easily the most recognizable and popular cutman in the world of MMA and boxing. An expert in his chosen field of endeavor, he has successfully turned cotton swabs and Vaseline into an art form that has transcended outside the cage and ring. There's so much to this success story; his life is being chronicled in a book to be released in the fall. I was lucky enough to talk to the man recently about this and so much more.
With the growth of the sport of MMA and the UFC, Stitch's popularity has grown as well. So much so, he's made wrapping hands and working cuts something people aspire to do. There is one problem though, while most athletic commissions require a license, they do not require formal training or certification. When asked about this Stitch said, "this is a problem, which is why I have begun to initiate programs to educate commissions including a video presentation I have produced."
He's also produced a documentary entitled 'Boxer's Nightmare', which focuses on the many pitfalls, including finances, that befalls fighters once their careers are over. Unfortunately, to this point it has fallen on deaf ears because "the powers that be, which are the one's making money on the fighters don't want it to interfere with their business."
Not settling for working in the biggest MMA organization in the world or with boxing champions such as the Klitschko brothers and Andre Ward, Stitch also has other business ventures. He has his own signature clothing line, has starred in movies and TV shows and is sponsored by another major clothing line and energy drink. He is creating his own line of cutman equipment and has a biography entitled 'From the Fields to the Garden: The Life of Stitch Duran' set for release in late September. Stitch said, "part of the book signing tour will take place around UFC events where I will have appearances at the local sports bars after the Friday weigh-ins."
To truly understand how popular this humble giant has become is summed up in the following story. The wife of a U.S. Marine stationed in Afghanistan bought the Signature Stitch Duran Tapout shirt for her husband. She contacted Stitch to tell him how much her husband and his fellow Marines loved the shirt and it's saying, 'Listo Para La Guerra', which is Spanish meaning 'Ready for War'. Stitch was so moved by this, he decided he wanted to send shirts for the entire unit. When he brought it to the attention of the guys at Tapout, they volunteered to ship the shirts, thus 50 shirts were immediately sent out. Here is a photo Stitch received from the Marine Sargent that he is extremely proud of; it is our nations finest all wearing their signature Stitch Duran shirts:
For a fighter, the cutman doing something wrong in their corner can mean the difference between a win and a loss. That's why more often than not, whether it's stateside or overseas, if either the UFC or a major boxing event is taking place, chances are Stitch Duran is working a fighter's corner. Why? Because when it comes to closing a cut, slowing down swelling or keeping a fighter calm in moments of desperation, a Stitch in time is all you need.
I want to thank Jacob 'Stitch' Duran for granting me this interview; it was a personal honor.