By: Jonathan M. King
Videoed and Edited By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com
The cliche rings true that creativity is the mother of all invention. Instances, examples of, and lessons learned form patterns that if you examine them creatively enough, they will offer you the solutions you seek.
Dean Lassiter may be familiar to fight fans as the guy on Spike TV that stops the bleeding in between rounds of Bellator MMA fights. However the man is not only a ‘cut-man’ but he is also the Bellator MMA Operations Manager. You could also paint him with another two brushes, Inventor and Fighter advocate.
Many fans will know that one of the most common injuries in mixed martial arts are broken hands. Some fighters like Douglas Lima almost schedule hand surgery when they sign to fight, because it happens so epidemically. So, Lassiter noticing the trend began to analyze the situation. He started by examining the human hand, taking a look at what fractures were the most frequent.
After examining “what the good lord gave us” Lassiter next focused his attention on the layer between the hand and the glove known as the wrap. Noticing that wraps varied (depending on type, and who wrapped the hand), the gloves rarely fit perfectly over the top. The final step was teaming with a major glove manufacturer to come up with potential solutions.
The glove has led to what Lassiter claims is over a 90% reduction in hand injuries, which was the primary function. However other injuries became less frequent as well. The forced curvature of the glove reduces the chance of eye poke, because the glove restricts a fighter’s ability to extend his fingers flat.
The padding configuration of the glove has also been changed, moving most of the ‘meat’ up front on top of the knuckled and metacarpals. This has also lead to less orbital injuries, however the research hasn’t been conducted to back that fact up yet. The gloves will soon be available for the public to purchase, however for now they will remain Bellator MMA’s unkept secret.
This technology will lead to less fighter injuries. With the average mixed martial artist fighting only 3 times a year, losing a paycheck because of a broken hand, or crushed orbital could be devastating financially. Especially to the lower level fighters who count on sponsorship money and loose that when an injury occurs.
So, basically as Lassiter puts it this technology is literally “feeding” fighters. Keeping fighters healthier was the goal, and the gloves are being offered to other promotions so they can benefit from the innovation as well.
Lassiter himself, is rewarded only with the knowledge that he did his part to help keep the guys he admires in the cage. He is a true fan of the sport, and as a cut-man he always has the health of his fighters as his first priority. Its refreshing to see that fighter-first mentality carry over into the board room. Its nice to know that as long as Lassiter is there, fighters will have an advocate always looking to keep them in good form.