Fighting Is Like—Life

I was getting a good reading on each fighter’s mental state right before the fight and I had started working to give each man a little extra confidence when I could. After all, they were about to nakedly stand in front of the world and compete in the most unforgiving sport. (From The Fields to the Garden (2010) by “Stitch” Duran with Zac Robinson p. 112)

There are few things that capture my eye more than an MMA fight. I’m a self-proclaimed MMA rubbernecker; I see a cage, a ref, and fighters in action, and the world passes me by until the round ends or the referee halts the action. With my years of fanaticism, hours of screen time, and thousands and thousands of Internet clicks and searches, I agree with Sam Sheridan in his autobiography: A Fighter’s Heart (2010) when he postulated why fight fans have such a tight connection to their sport,

You can learn so much about a person by watching him fight that you feel you know him. (p. 130)

Photo courtesy of David Maldonado

MMA surrounds my being: there are MMA events calendared on my phone; gridlocks in traffic blare my favorite MMA podcasts; I read books about the history and people of MMA; the DVR’s memory is on limited life because so many events require my attention. As I’m watching these athletes lock horns, I wonder what it’s like to engage in war wrapped in wire fencing. The cutmen and cutwomen of MMA may not be dodging punches, but they are in every way still affected by them. Operating in one-minute pockets of time, these individuals are solely responsible for offering fans and fighters alike: one more round, resuscitating life into any fight at a moment’s notice, and “The Complete Cutman” David Maldonado stitched-up a comparison to fighting that everyone could relate to: fighting is like life,

“Fighting is like life because you are going to have many things go in your favor; you also have things that are going to impede your hope for progress.”

Photo courtesy of David Maldonado

At a moment’s notice, the round ends, and Maldonado is met with a gruesome task. Maldonado, a cutman for Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) and Legacy Fighting Championships (Legacy), scientifically implements every tool in his trade to ensure that the fighter he works on heeds the call of the bell. In less time than sealing a gash and depressing a mouse, Maldonado wrapped up the necessary mindset for individuals who wish to not throw in the towel at the onset of adversity,

“It’s what you do with those things; how you circumvent obstacles, going through a situation or making a decision that’s better for you. We face obstacles on a daily basis, whether it’s choosing a job or achieving success.”

Noting the number of roadblocks a fighter may face before their walkout song ever hits the speakers coagulated my adrenaline when it comes to pulling back the curtain in MMA. Maldonado rattled off several hiccups he’s encountered as if they were common occurrences,

“A fighter approaching fight weekend may walk into the doors of the arena to find out his medical paperwork is all wrong, or lost. They got the wrong test done. The commission made you re-tape your hands because they felt something about it wasn’t proper, legal, or they didn’t watch it.”

Similar to Maldonado’s reaction when confronted with a gnarly cut, he shared the question he asks himself when, at any round of the day, problems are seated on a stool in front of him,

“What are you going to do about that?

Photo courtesy of David Maldonado

Recognition of the problem is step one. In the specialized niche of cutwork, solutions must press to the forefront of thoughts as quickly as a chilled enswell against a blood-rushed, hemorrhaging eye. Maldonado dispensed several lines of inquiry he greases up to defensively protect against oncoming issues, allowing any barrage of hardships to slide right off,


“Are you going to let that get to you? Is that going to overwhelm you? Is it going to prove to be a negative impact for your success?”

Well, Maldonado would respond,

“That’s life!”

Photo courtesy of David Maldonado

In regards to life, I’m typically squeamish in the presence of pooling blood, severe swelling, broken bones, or torn tendons. Thanks to Maldonado’s analogy of the fight game to the struggles of day-to-day living, I am more prepared to daydream for sixty second naps, or longer with no third parties pressuring me to a standing position, what the sport of MMA most resembles.

For a more complete profile of “The Complete Cutman,” check out:

“The Complete Cutman” David Maldonado: Cutman 2.0 (link here)

To get in touch with David Maldonado, follow him at:

Twitter: @CompleteCutman



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