The transcript below is from the video “Ringside With UFC’s One and Only Cutwoman” by Great Big Story.

Great Big Story (YouTube Channel, global media company devoted to cinematic storytelling):

For the past 10 years, Swayze Valentine has worked with MMA fighters as UFC’s first and only cutwoman, a heavy-duty role where she’s responsible for wrapping fighters’ hands and tending to their wounds between rounds. After being told that the only job available to women was as a ‘ring girl,’ Valentine fought and trained for years to earn her spot on the roster of UFC cutmen. Today, she’s traveling the world, breaking barriers and claiming her spot in the ring.

Swayze Valentine (MMA fighter, UFC’s first and only cutwoman):

 I’ve been told that there’s no spot for a woman in this sport.  I’ve been physically assaulted in the cage, but I didn’t let any of that stop me.  Sometimes the fight is outside of the ring.

Swayze Valentine (MMA fighter, UFC’s first and only cutwoman):

I’m Swayze Valentine, and I’m the first and only cutwoman in MMA.  What we do is we wrap the fighters’ hands before they fight and we take care of them between rounds.  If there’s any bleeding, we stop it; if there’s any swelling, we take it away.  Pretty much the cutman motto is to give them that one round that they needed to win.  I saw my first live MMA fight and it was just a cool experience, and I wanted to be a part of that arena as much as I could.

Swayze Valentine (MMA fighter, UFC’s first and only cutwoman):

I talked to the promoter and asked him what jobs there were.  He told me that my option was to be a ring girl.  I had to wear the tiniest string bikini.  It was super uncomfortable to be wearing that in front of all these people.  That was not a fit for me.  I saw the fighters getting their hands wrapped and I immediately got butterflies in my stomach, and I knew that was what I was supposed to be a part of.

Swayze Valentine (MMA fighter, UFC’s first and only cutwoman):

I would drive 60 miles one way to gyms and I would voluntarily sit there, and wrap fighters’ hands for their sparring sessions.  Just a sacrifice of doing it for so long without getting any income out of it was really, really hard.  I was a single mother of two young boys and still trying to be a cutwoman.  Wrapping hands is more than just putting gauze around a hand.  If you do not wrap a fighter’s hands correctly, then their hands will break.

Swayze Valentine (MMA fighter, UFC’s first and only cutwoman):

You need to wrap hundreds and hundreds of hands to be considered great.  I’d wrap my kid’s hands.  I’d wrap my parent’s hands.  I’d wrap my friend’s hands.  I would wrap as many hands as I could possibly find.  It took me years to feel like I got it down.  My first paying gig was WSOF, World Series of Fighting in 2010.  After four years of doing it for free.  In 2014, I was added to the roster of UFC cutmen.

Swayze Valentine (MMA fighter, UFC’s first and only cutwoman):

UFC is the Ultimate Fighting Championship.  It is the most famous stage in the world.  It’s like the Olympics of MMA.  And now I travel all over the world being a cutwoman for the UFC.  Nice job!  During my journey of being a cutwoman, I had a lot of ups and downs.  My kids are a huge reason why I do all this.  They can see me, you know, not giving up, and in the end hitting my goal.

Swayze Valentine (MMA fighter, UFC’s first and only cutwoman):

That’s what carried me through 10 years of it, you know.  It’s just that desire inside of like just keep going, keep going.  I understand what the fighter has to go through to get into that cage.  We both had to fight to get our spot in the ring.




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