Longtime UFC cutman Jacob "Stitch" Duran won’t be getting a postcard, a phone call or an apology from UFC President Dana White. The pink slip is a done deal, and Duran will not be coming back to the UFC.
Speaking with Fox Sports' Karyn Bryant, White ripped into the notion that he and Duran were ever friends. "No, he won’t be coming back," White said. "You realize we have 10 cutmen that work here at the UFC? We have 10 cutmen. ... Stitch Duran needs to learn what the meaning of the word friend is. Stitch Duran and I were never friends. We were work associates."
The only cutman White admitted to having a close personal relationship with was Don House.
It hasn't been an easy week for the UFC head honcho, who drew the ire of MMA fans after firing Duran on Tuesday. An anonymous source confirmed to MMAjunkie’s John Morgan that the cutman was no longer an employee of the UFC.
Duran claimed he was let go from the company because he spoke out against the Reebok sponsorship.
Reebok landed a deal with the UFC in December of last year that made it the promotion’s exclusive sponsor. As of July 11, UFC fighters and ring personnel are no longer allowed to wear anything with the logos or brands of outside sponsors during fight week.
The new policy raised serious concerns for Duran, who admittedly depended on the outside sponsorship money as a full-time MMA cutman. Speaking with Bloody Elbow's John Nash, he even contemplated doing seminars or returning to boxing. While he loved working with the fighters in the UFC, Duran said he had a "family to support."
He was fired from the promotion a day after the interview was published.
According to Duran, per MMAFighting.com's Marc Raimondi, White never personally reached out to discuss the UFC’s decision to part ways.
"That's another thing that pisses me off, that he didn't have the balls to call me directly. ... Dana has definitely changed," said Duran. "Now it's all about the economics. It used to be a fighter-friendly environment."
White argued that it was never his responsibility to call Duran after his employment was terminated. Piggybacking off his comments about the two never being friends, he claimed he never deals with the cutmen.
"We have a department that deals with them," he told Bryant.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He also is the MMA writer for FanRag Sports and co-founder of The MMA Bros.