Paul began his martial arts training in 1988, one week after his 16th birthday to be exact. It all started as a way to participate in something that wasn't a "team sport." It was very clear, just two years later: it had turned into a full time pursuit of training and learning of the martial arts. 25 years later there's as much, if not more, drive and passion for the martial arts. Why? Simple. Because to this day, he's still an active student and instructor of the arts, but: more importantly, the calling to professional Cutman, was heard and added to the list of accolades.
The timeline tells it all. Just weeks after graduating high school, Paul was working full time for Tiger Schulmann's in Middletown, NJ. Starting off as a day manager and earning a position of assistant instructor. Very at home on the mat day one. The training was intense. Hard core sparring - no time limits - no weight classes, just round after round with some of the organizations toughest instructors.
Although it was developing both mental and physical growth, it wasn't without repercussions. Early 20's ready to prove, and not fully understanding the importance of rest and/or down time between sparring sessions, numerous concussions were suffered. Finally at the 7th, or 8th, the doctors gave the orders: Contact to the head could not happen again: Ever. Competition out? He his way into the coaching part of the competitions. Starting as a simple assistant to Tiger and Ron Schulmann, quickly growing in responsibility. It didn't take long to begin learning Cutman duties and to wrap hands. The travel and wrapping for amateur boxing, professional kickboxing and MMA introduced an entirely new view of combative sports. Four years ago call came: Bellator, Taj Mahal, in Atlantic City: to help wrap the undercard fighters for that night's event. Christmas morning type of excitement and so it began...
The new "local" arrived. Just a Cutman wrapping every fighter assisgned like they were stepping into the cage for the World Championships. Backstage with the best fighters from all over the world. Lights, cameras: Action! Totally oblivious to it all because only one question needed an answer: "Matt, can I stick around and shadow you for the night?" Yes. Answer that was very much wanted! Paul reflects fondly at how calm Matt Marsden and Dean Lassiter were, while watching their corners like hawks-everything prepared, mentally and physically - ready to jump into that cage at a moment's notice.
After all: One more round to their fighter is: Everything. Said he promised himself that he would just be a fly on the wall that night, but while reflecting totally admits the questions that night were shot out at Matt and Dean, rapid fire style. That was the bite. Got Hooked. Wanting to know everything about being a Cutman. Read everything he could about handling cuts, contusions, bloody noses. He followed up on all the rules and regulations of what and was not allowed by the NJSAC. He began asking Nick Lembo questions at all of the local events. While watching fights on TV he no longer really watched or paid attention to the coaches in the ring or cage he focused on the Cutmen. "Gone in 60 seconds" the unsung professionals that never wanted or needed any lime light, it wasn't about them, it was all about the fighter. A philosophy lived daily.
After being asked to help with two or three more shows that Bellator had when they came to either NJ, PA or CT and still hungry for more, approached the CFFC. The Cage Fury Fighting Championships, who were, and still are, growing by leaps and bounds. He just wanted to work to keep improving his skills to keep learning. He fell in nicely with this promotion and to this date he still the head Cutman. It was a few years after working part time for Bellator that he was asked to be part of their largest event (at the time) - their pay per view in Memphis, Tennessee. The love of being part of the greatest organization, the love of being on the road with awesome people and so, with the help love, and support of family and friends.
He followed his dream. Now a full time member of the Bellator crew. One of 4 Cutmen used at every show and loving every minute of it. In between traveling with Bellator and the local shows of the CFFC he brings back all the knowledge he takes from these great coaches and fighters, from Matt and Dean the best Cutmen out there-to his students on a weekly basis. Paul has proven you do not just have to be a fighter to be successful in any combative sport. You just have to listen to yourself, and follow your heart. I am extremely thankful to all those who attend, to share this honor and this night with me.