What Is A Cutman?

The fight is over, but the bleeding hasn’t stopped.
The fighter has dropped to his knees with three holes in his head: His hairline hides one of the cuts, smallish but oozing; his right cheek has been split open on the bone, maybe an inch under his eye; and his right ear—his cauliflower ear, red and rubbed raw—has burst like a bubble.
A cutman kneels beside the fighter. His hands dart into a blue plastic bin with a duct-taped handle, filled with the tricks of his trade: a bottle of adrenaline 1:1000, an open jar of Vaseline, towels, gauze, swabs that look like oversize Q-tips and two enswells—flat slabs of steel kept buried in ice. The cutman works quickly even though there’s no bell to answer. He knows the fighter wants to be anywhere but here, seen like this. It’s more than blood pouring onto the canvas. It’s pride, ego, hope. The cutman’s job is to keep those things out of the puddle forming between them.
First he wipes the fighter’s face with a towel, cold and wet, so he can find the sources of the three thin rivers. A pinhole can be the root of a geyser if an artery has been spiked; a wide cut might not bleed much if dead scar tissue has been torn open. The cutman has been around. He’s faced openings that sprayed blood across the Octagon with every beat of a fighter’s heart. But these cuts aren’t pumpers; they’re just runners, easy by his standards. He scorches each with an adrenaline-soaked swab, closing capillaries, shocking the blood into retreat. Once he’s backed the blood into a corner, he keeps it there with a thick plug of Vaseline. Just a hit of pressure with the ice-cold enswell to keep bruising at bay, and the cutman’s job is done.