With Bellator Season 10 right around the corner, we thought we’d check in with our favorite cutman and connoisseur of the beardlife Matt Marsden of Bellator MMA.
Matt was gracious enough to sit down and answer a few questions. (Enter coupon code: CUTMANMATT for 15% off Backwoods Beard Balm.)
1. How exactly did you become a cutman for Bellator MMA?
I was working regionally in the Midwest as a cutman, and would often travel to shows to corner my own guys from the gym I train in. At Bellator 53 I was there to corner my fighter EJ Brooks, when word got around that one of the cutmen for the undercard was unable to work. My coach Mike Rogers talked to the head cutman and vouched for me, so they gave me a shot. I guess I didn’t screw up too bad because they kept calling me for more shows, until I eventually became full time.
2. What type of training did you need to qualify to become a cutman?
There’s no formal training requirements. I have a medical background, which I believe helps me with the theory of what we’re doing. This helps me to innovate as well. A good cutman has trained in boxing or MMA, and has a good understanding of the medications and techniques they should use for various situations, as well as always keeping the fighters state of mind and what they’re going through as a consideration.
3. How do you deal with seeing fighters you have become close to getting hurt in the ring?
Internally I despise it. But if the fighter see’s you with a look of panic or “Oh damn!” on your face, they’ll start to focus on what might be wrong with them, instead of listening to their coach, so I always remain completely passive.
4. Did you ever consider becoming a professional MMA fighter yourself?
I never had the killer instinct to do what it takes to win at that level. It’s not in me to knock someone down with a potential KO, then follow up with ground and pound, or if a fighter isn’t tapping to stress a joint or limb to the breaking point. It’s just not in me, and it’s something a pro needs to be willing to do.
5. What is the worst cut you’ve seen in your career?
John Allessio, I actually have a framed pic of it in my house! It was down to the bone and easily 3 inches wide and gaping. He was amazing to work on though, he let me do what I needed to do without trying to be a tough guy or whine. He’s a bad man.
6. Do you have problems with blood getting in your beard? If so, how do you deal with it?
I do get splattered sometimes! The first thing I do after a show is take a shower. Cageside I always have clean towels, water and hand sanitzer. It doesn’t really bother me though, the fighters have all been blood tested and are clean. I also used to work in an operating room and an Emergency room, so I’m sort of used to getting hit with some shrapnel.
7. “Beardlife” has become a way of life for a lot of us, what does Beardlife mean to you?
So many people say “I want to grow a beard, but..” Beardlife means you do what want to do, look how you want to look and screw those that would judge you for it!
8. I’ve heard your cat likes Ridge Runner Beard Oil as much as you, how exactly did your cat discover Ridgerunner?
He is freaking obsessed with it. The first time I noticed was when I had a little on my hands and he went crazy trying to lick them. Then he realized it was in my beard and goes bonkers trying to groom my beard!
9. What is the biggest disparity between the casual MMA fan’s perception of professional of Mixed Martial Arts and yours?
I see so much BS on the bulletin boards about how decisions are made, or who’s in charge of what, or what takes place backstage. Not even 10% of the drama that people on Sherdog or the Underground hope is happening in the locker rooms is actually happening.
10. What plans do you have for the future? Anything new in store for you?
I hope that my future holds a lot of innovation in the field. A lot of what I do works really, really well, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make it better. I love working with companies to develop new products and techniques that could help athletes at all levels. From those training casually to a world championship, you’re going to incur injuries and pain, and it’s my goal to constantly improve the way athletes deal with it.
You can see Matt Marsden’s handiwork live every week of Bellator’s Season 10 Tournament starting February 28th 2014 on Spike TV.
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