The Queen of Cuts – How does a full-time mother of two become the UFC’s first ever cut woman?
In 2006, Swayze Valentine saw a billboard in Anchorage, Ala., that promoted an Alaska Fighting Champions (AFC) MMA fight.
She parked her car, bought her ticket, and went into the event.
After experiencing the powerful atmosphere of the event, she had fight fever and had to be a part of it! Dreaming of becoming the first Cutwoman in the UFC, Swayze contacted the egendary Jacob “Stitch” Duran to find out how to become a Cutman. Following his advice, she studied his videos and watched Cutmen in action at UFC fights.
While living in Idaho, Swayze volunteered at a gym five days a week and wrapped as many fighters’ hands she could. The 120-mile round trip drive was no hurdle at all for a woman on a mission!
When MyMMANews.com asked the now 28-year old Valentine what attracted her to fighting and fixing up cuts as it is not a job many women would be interested in she said, “I have always been a fan of the sport. You’re right, you do not wake up one morning and say, ‘I want to be a Cutwoman!’I feel this profession chose me. Being a fan of the industry, it was an easy decision… To me, there is no greater honor than wrapping the hands of a fighter and taking care of them in the cage. It is amazing!”
In 2010, Swayze and her two children moved to Washington where she contacted every fight promoter she could find and drove hours to work a variety of professional and amateur MMA shows.
“I do not have a job outside being a Cutwoman. I have dedicated myself 150% and am a full time mother of two beautiful boys,” Valentine said.
She was invited to help out with Tuff N Uff’s Candle Lighters promotion, called Knock Out Cancer held at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas in 2011. On fight day, she was introduced to a fellow Cutman, Adrian “Tenacity” Rosenbusch, and together they worked wrapping fighters’ hands.
Swayze later contacted Adrian to ask him to provide her further training as a Cutwoman. That training turned into a mentorship that helped improve her skills, make new contacts, and work new venues, beginning with Battle at the Roseland and Sport Fight, run by UFC veteran Matt Lindland in Oregon, and the U of MMA, in Los Angeles.
Swayze’s career as a Cutwoman took off when she was invited to work a number of Pro/Ammy productions in Las Vegas including, WSOF, Bellator, King of the Cage, Tuff N Uff, Sin City MMA and the WFC and now she can add UFC to her list.
“I have worked 6 UFC Cards since I started in February which is very good since being the newest member. Just like every job or career, it takes time to work your way up. Since I am new, I usually work the prelims, which are either streamed from the internet or are televised. I am there but it is hit or miss if I am recorded in the shot. My next UFC is UFC 180 in Mexico City on November 15th!”
She also worked Muay Thai shows at the Hard Rock, East Side Cannery, and One Kick Nick’s. Swayze also has had the honor of wrapping the hands of elite UFC fighters including, Chael Sonnen, Brian Stann, Yushin Okami and Jon Fitch.
“I have worked over 60 shows within the past 2 years, as a Cutwoman,” she said. “I have worked countless fights since I started my career as a Cutwoman. But two years ago is when I started keeping track.”
She continues to work under the mentorship of Rosenbusch, while having the support of fellow elite Cutmen Rob Monroe, Don House, and “Stitch” Duran, who named her “The Queen of Cuts.”
Where you May Have Seen Her
Swayze has also has been featured in Fight! Magazine, Babes of MMA, USA Today and Las Vegas Review-Journal. She continues to rise in the world of combat sports with her unrelenting determination, professionalism, and skill.
“I do train a little at many different gyms. I feel it is very important for me to get to know the sport inside and out. Training gives me even more understanding to what these fighter go through, and fuels me with more passion for the sport. Training is tough and fighting may look easy… It is sooo NOT easy! The fighters are so good. They just make it look that way.”
Most Memorable Fight Swayze Has Worked
“The most memorable fight I had ever worked would have to be my very first fight, which was for the AFC in Anchorage, Alaska. I was so nervous! Also the most memorable was my first fight with the UFC. The UFC is such an amazing and organized promotion. It is an honor to work on that kind of platform. I worked six years to get to the biggest stage in the world and I did it. You can never forget your firsts,” she said.
To see more of Swayze Valentine visit her on the web at thequeenofcuts.com and on Twitter @SwayzeValentine