A cutman is a person who works in a boxing ring corner for a boxer during a fight. As the boxer progresses through the fight, the cutman applies grease to the boxer's eye area, ears and forehead to prevent the opponent's leather boxing gloves from tearing and cutting the skin. In the event of a swollen or cut area, the cutman will apply an ice-cold steel bar to the skin to prevent swelling and tend to any cuts that may occur. A powder, to clot the blood, is applied by the corner worker. The worker will use a cotton swab to push the clotting powder into the cut in an attempt to stop further bleeding that might deter the boxer's attention and focus during the fight.
As in any medical role, some cutmen are more valued to a fighter than others based on past successes. Once a cutman has achieved status among the fighters, a great deal of money can be made by joining a fighter's team. The trust or faith a fighter has in his cutman can often coax a fighter to continue on in a fight even if he is injured. The cutman can convince the fighter that the bleeding is controlled and that the cut is not as serious as the fighter might think.
Decades ago, some fighters would actually have the cutman slice a severely swollen eye lid open so that the fighter could better see the opponent. The corner man would commonly use a razor blade to make a small incision in the swollen eye lid. This would allow the blood to exit the area and allow the eye to open up. This practice is no longer allowed by most boxing sanctioning bodies. Now, a fighter is forced to combat a swollen eye with the ice-cold steel paddles and an experienced cutman to press the swollen area back into place.
Bleeding from broken noses is also left to the cutmen to control, along with often arranging the broken cartilage into a position that will allow the fighter to breathe through his nose. Modern cage fighting sports also take advantage of the skills of a cutman to control the bleeding that is so prevalent within the cage. Elbow blows to the ear and face area of these modern fighting warriors commonly lead to severe cuts that can blur a fighter's vision and lead to a decline in the fighter's ability to protect and defend himself while inside of the cage.