Interview with UFC cut man Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran

Renowned MMA and professional boxing cutman Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran has for years worked the Octagon and corners of world championship professional boxing matches. He shares some of his fascinating and insightful perspectives about Fedor, who would win a Klitschko vs. Couture showdown and more… You have been to most of the UFC shows. What would you say has been the UFC’s equivalent to the 1971 Ali-Frazier Fight of the Century?

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “Wow, there’s been some good ones. What is coming to mind is the most recent - Chuck and Wanderlei. I was there. That was exciting. I just heard those thumps. Boy, that one is coming to mind but there’s been many.” You work closely in both MMA and world class boxing - if Couture vs. Fedor is on the same night as Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto which one are you watching and which one are you taping?

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “I’d probably be at the Randy Couture-Fedor fight. I hope. The action. I’m into that action.” You’ve worked with both Heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko as his cutman, and cornered for Randy Couture many times. You’ve seen both of these phenomenal athletes up close. Who wins a Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki type showdown?

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “That’s an interesting question. This one I haven’t answered yet. With Wladimir’s physical strength and abilities - In Germany I did pads for Wladimir - I felt his strength and power. Randy’s takedown skills…I’d have to go with Wladimir. Wladimir knows how to kick too. I think Wladimir would catch Randy on the way in. That’s a tough question. Wladimir has that one-shot opportunity. He would use that jab early to set the pace. If Randy got hit by Wladimir’s right hand, he’d be out.” Klitschko hand and footspeed are amazing. Footspeed is underrated. He might keep Couture at bay.

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: The guy is a great athlete. He really studies the sport.” How did you first break into the world of world class pro boxing as a cutman?

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “Before I got into pro boxing I was working with pro kick boxers. Then I got with the Sacramento boxers Tony ‘The Tiger’ Lopez, Ray Lovato, Willie Jorrin. Then I got a job transfer with RJ Reynolds Tobacco company to Vegas and I came to Vegas to be a cutman.” What are the most common criticisms you hear about the UFC or MMA?

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “No. You know what, I don’t get involved in politics, whatever. I do my job. The UFC is one of the best organizations I’ve worked for. I left corporate America. What these guys do - the UFC, to me, is tremendous.” If you were MMA czar for a week which changes would you try to make to enhance the overall presentation of the sport?

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “I don’t know. I don’t know the game as good as the MMA guys, I’m a cutman. How would I change it? I don’t know. I think it’s pretty damn smooth now.” What has been the greatest moment of your career?

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “The greatest…the Forrest Griffin-Shogun fight. Or when Wladimir Klitschko, my first time with Wladimir Klitschko. He fought DaVarryl Williamson in Vegas (Oct. 2004). He had just come back (after losing by TKO to Lamon Brewster in April). He boxed well in the first two rounds, then in the third he got dropped. Then in the fourth he got a headbutt and a bad cut on his forehead. This was a split-second decision - the rulebook says if you get a beadbutt before four rounds it’s an automatic no-contest. I said, He’s already beat the odds, he’s winning the fight, I said to Vitali (Wladimir’s older brother), I’m stopping this now. Let it go to the scorecards. Why send him out wounded? (Klitschko won a technical decision because he was ahead on all three socrecards.) The next day, Dr. Margaret Goodman (Nevada Commission ringside doctor) said I did a very good job. The cut was near a nerve around his eye and it could have given him eye damage.” What happened with the Griffin-Shogun fight?

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “Griffin got a cut between the eyes. Like three inches long. I fixed the cut. The cut didn’t bleed for four minutes. He ended up tapping out Shogun.” Too bad for Vitali Klitschko you weren’t working his corner when he was fighting Lennox Lewis for the WBC Heavyweight title (Klitschko suffered an unbelievable gash above left eye in round 3 and was still winning the fight on all three scorecards when fight was stopped because of the cut after round 6).

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “Cuts like that I’ve worked before. Cutting the blood flow is difficult. I tell you what: I’m glad I didn’t work that cut [laughs]. Vitali had not one but like three bad cuts, one in his mouth and lip. People don’t realize he drank a lot of his own blood from that.” What has been your most painful moment of your career?

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “I don’t think I’ve had one. I’ve been pretty blessed. The thing about it is, I’ve done so many fights. You always attach to the fighters in some way. But you accept defeat.” Do you have any Fedor anecdotes you can share?

Jacob ‘Stich’ Duran: “I worked with Fedor. Fedor had just broke his hand. He was coming back, I don’t remember which fight it was exactly. They asked me if I’d wrap his hands. While wrapping his hands I tried to shoot the shit with him. But he wasn’t shooting it with me. He’d open and close the fist to see how it felt. After we finished I asked him how it felt? After he opened and closed the fist a bunch of times, he said, ‘Super. Super.’ That was the happiest moment of my life [laughs]. After the fight was over Josh Barnett invited me in the dressing room and we broke some vodka together. You know, I’m just a kid from a small town in California. Being at this level is a mindblower.”

Note: Stitch Duran is in the process of creating an educational DVD/video ‘Cuts, Cornermen and Confidence.’ It will show how to properly wrap hands, how to work cuts, how to properly work corners. It will be available in June or July.


Nice! That is awesome he is doing a DVD, something i've always been interested in.

 My girlfriend was watching the fights with me and she literally thought Stitch was Geraldo LoL



Simply amazing


 Best Cut man in the business by far.