Most of you reading this have no idea who I am and that’s okay that means I’m doing my job the right way. My name is Rod “Zilla” Wingrove, I live in Vancouver, B.C. Canada and I am a Cutman. You might ask why is it good that you don’t know me and there is a good chance you might also ask what the hell is a Cutman.
When a Mixed Martial Arts competitor makes their walk to the cage, they then take off their clothes, put in their mouthpiece, give their Cornermen a hug and then turn to a person wearing all black who put Vaseline on their face. You will see that same person enter the cage in between rounds seemingly out of nowhere if one of the athletes competing in the cage gets cut or starts to form noticeable swelling. They enter the cage, they put some stuff on the cuts and put some other thing on the swelling and one minute later their gone. Our job consists of four main parts in MMA:
- Wrap the athletes hands
- Grease the athletes before they enter the cage
- Tend to any significant damage sustained during the competition in between rounds
- Assist the ringside Doctors if a fighter is knocked out or choked unconscious.You will often hear us say “keeping them in the fight” that’s referring to getting the damage to a point where the ringside Doctor doesn’t stop the fight. That is what we are always trying to accomplish, keeping them in the fight.
It was a busy weekend for me. It started off Friday in Medicine Hat, Alberta for Fight Night Medicine Hat 2. The second card I’ve worked for Z Promotions. What was supposed to be headlined by Calgary kingpin Jesse “BigCat” Arnett vs. The Ultimate Fighter and UFC vet “Brutal” Johnny Bedford but instead was headlined by The Ultimate Fighter and UFC vet Cody McKenzie vs. UFC vet and MMA OG Joe “Diesel” Riggs. Myself and Joy Mailet got the call for this card. It was a busy one for us. Because of the amount of fighters who requested to have their hands wrapped, my partner had to work cage side herself for the first three and a half fights while I ran back and fourth between dressing rooms getting everyone wrapped, ten fighters all together. My highlight of the night was wrapping TUF and UFC vet Jonathan Brookins hands. He was a very cool guy, very humble and we talked a lot about living a life of positivity while I wrapped him. I love those moments. Joy had a good cut while I was backstage. BFL vet Tristan Connelly got split open right along his left eyebrow. Joy got in there, did work and stopped the bleeding. Tristan went out and won the fight in the next round. Great job Joy.
The next morning it was a three hour shuttle ride to the airport, a four hour wait at the airport then a one hour fight back to BC where I had to go directly to the venue from the airport for BFL 46. Headlined by the bantamweight title fight between the champ Jamie Siraj vs. Cole Smith. It was a relatively easy night. A few minor cuts, assisted the ringside doctor a couple of times and things were shaping up to be a pretty easy night, until the main event. It started from the opening bell at a frantic pace. Cole handed out some significant damage to the Champ with mostly elbows. Jamie’s nose became a faucet and also had a deep cut opened up just above his right temple. You may not think it seeing some of the cuts we deal with but nosebleeds can often be the most problematic for us to stop. This is due to the sensitive tissue inside the nose. Let me tell you this one was the worst I’ve ever dealt with. Jamie’s nose was broken in multiple spots and he was leaking. I managed to stop it in between each round under the very close examination of the doctor But every time it got hit it started flowing again. Fortunately the doctor was letting it continue. I was doing my job I was keeping this incredible warrior in the fight. Jamie ultimately lost this hard fought battle in the fourth round via rear naked choke. Crowning Cole Smith the new BFL bantamweight champion.
If you have any questions or comments about the role of the cutman. I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at Cutmanzilla@gmail.com I will try and respond to all on the next installment.
My name is Rod “Zilla” Wingrove and That’s A Wrap.