Unless you have been living under a rock, you no doubt have had your social media timeline blowing up with reports on veteran cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran being released by Zuffa LLC. As of now, “Stitch” will no longer be keeping the UFC’s fighters cut free or limiting the damage thereof.
There has been much talk from combatants, MMA media & fans alike about the injustice of his departure from the elite fighting organisation. This whole thing came about with Duran voicing out his concerns in the media over lost sponsorship & unlike the athletes, not having it somewhat replaced with a Reebok sponsorship of his own.
All of the above has been discussed ad nauseum over the last 24 hours it seems, but what has been glossed over are some inconsistentcies on the critics of this move. Are there glaring double standards on the part of the Fertitta, Dana White & Co? Absolutely there are. The obvious being various fighters speaking out against the Reebok deal, have not been handed their walking papers, while “Stitch” has.
However, one apt question that has been hurled at Zuffa here is “What about free speech?”. What about it? No doubt a lot of the same critics were not in a hurry to allow for free speech for one Yoel Romero regarding his post fight comments right after the infamous supreme court decision in the USA recently. Now, you can debate whether his comments were in reference to that decision, but let’s say they were, shouldn’t Romero be afforded free speech even if you disagree with his position on such a matter?
Like Phil “CM Punk” Brooks said recently of himself, I will also say “I’m a free speech guy”. I believe I should be able to voice my opinions, no matter how much you may sharply disagree with them or vice versa. I will bring in a side note on the matter however, which I believe is a reality we must acknowledge while holding to free speech. If you hold a very public position or you carry a badge around of your employer, you need to recognise the cost of what you say publicly, especially if it is negative of your employer or their corporate beliefs.
I personally work in a secular job apart from this great website, but for starters I do not put the name of that company on my social media profiles partly for this reason. Not that I go around bashing my employer online or anything, but I am free to state my take, beliefs & opinions even if they do not line up with that of my employers ethos etc.
Now, I am not naive. I realise that for a UFC Fighter or indeed a cutman in this case, you cannot easily if at all conceal the identity of your employer publicly. However, wisdom here surely would call for such grievances to be addressed directly with your employer rather than through the medium of an MMA Media site. Don’t misconstrue my meaning here,
I am not putting down the website that was involved here or any such site reporting such issues, but I do think if you are a UFC fighter or an employee of such an umbrella, discretion is a virtue much needed.
In closing, let me be clear that I do not agree with the decision of the Ultimate Fighting Championship to axe one of the best cutmen in the business, nor do I think a uniform should have to be imposed upon fighters who can get a better sponsorship (that does not conflict with the employers sponsors & so on) elsewhere. I just think, consistency goes both ways. We should expect it of the UFC & we should expect it of ourselves as consumers, fans, media & even fighters.
If you disagree, have questions, comments or feedback at all, please feel free to direct them my way on Twitter @JOEREILLY1689 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Please remember that the views in there entirety contained in this article are mine & not those of TalkingBrawls.com
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