Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran’s future in MMA seemed uncertain when he unceremoniously parted ways with the UFC last year, but the future now looks bright after he inked a new deal with Bellator. In an FO exclusive, the veteran cutman gives his thoughts on working under his long-time friend, Bellator president Scott Coker.

“Scott has made the proper changes an organization needs to go through to do the right things,” Stitch says. “Bellator has realized that we do bring value to the game and we are a very, very important asset. That’s why I’ve decided Bellator is my home. We’re in the trenches and nobody realizes we’re there until we save their asses. Now we’ll be able to do that and get recognition. My job is to continue educating and letting the fans know what we do. With Bellator we’ll be able to do that.”

Another huge benefit of Stitch’s new contract is its flexibility. In the UFC, there was an “unwritten rule” he says not to work for other promotions. But now he can work other shows, along with other combat sports events, so long as his commitment to Bellator comes first. “That’s the way it should be,” he adds.

As for his old employers, Stitch bears no ill will towards the UFC or president Dana White. He doesn’t see much chance they will modify their policies based on his criticisms and allow cutmen to earn extra income in the Octagon. But that’s OK. That’s just business.

“I don’t see them changing,” he finishes. “There’s a lot of egos in their system. It’s tough, when you have a big ego, to take a back seat and say, ‘Alright, I made a mistake.’ I’m here for the sport. Dana and them are there for the UFC, which I understand.

“I understand the business aspect of it but I’m here as a liaison to make the sport better and increase the safety and education so we can all be happy. I don’t see them saying, ‘This is right, we should have done that.’ That’s not going to happen. But it’s their business.”

Read the full interview with Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran inside the June edition of Fighters Only – on sale now.