LEWISTON — For all the unpredictability that accompanies a night in the mixed martial arts cage, one outcome is almost guaranteed.
Blood will spill. Early and often. It's probably part of the sport's appeal and one of the factors that ultimately could slow its meteoric rise. Perhaps women and young children won't be filling the front row of seats at Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Thursday night.
Terry Gamache smiles in the face of that stereotype. This mother of five, her family name synonymous with Maine's copious combat sports tradition, will be front-and-center when the Bellator Fighting Championships send the arena into a frenzy.
She will be in the cage with the combatants, in fact, addressing their cuts and swelling between rounds with non-traditional, unbridled eagerness.
"It's powerful. The fight can end or you can keep it going," Gamache said. "Seeing the fight go on is the best part of it. At that point I have total control."
Female judges, promoters, commissioners, even fighters are seen with increasing frequency in today's fight game. As "seconds" or corner people, however, women are almost non-existent.
There is documentation of Dr. Ann Halbower, a pediatrician, working as a cut person at a fight card in St. Louis back in the early 1990s.
Gamache's mentor, Jacob "Stitch" Duran, has been a successful cutman for more than 30 years. He is the go-to guy for Ultimate Fighting Championships and has worked in the corner of boxing heavyweight champions Vitaly and Wladimir Klitschko.
Duran knows of only four women serving as cut people in the country — one from the state of Washington, two in New York, and Gamache.
"It's new. It's different. But they're all capable," Duran said. "I have a video out called 'Giving the Fighter One More Round.' It teaches how to wrap hands effectively, how to close cuts, that stuff. It's educational. She got the video and called to ask me a lot of questions."
Bellator travels with two full-time seconds but also seeks qualified personnel in each host city, according to operations manager and cutman Dean Lassiter.
That provides enough human resource to close a high volume of cuts while also allowing the fighters in the televised portion of the program to have their hands wrapped in the dressing room as the undercard unfolds. Gamache will do some of that work, as well.
Lassiter received a recommendation from Duran on Gamache's behalf. She will be the second woman employed by the organization on a fight night.
"We had one back in season one (2009)," Lassiter said. "She will be the first one to appear on camera on Spike TV, I am sure of that."
Gamache made her debut in February, working Fight Night VI at the Colisee.
One of her assigned fighters, Josh Bellows of Littlefield MMA in Oakland, took a nasty cut just above his eye.
"He was bleeding everywhere," trainer Wes Littlefield said. "I got a towel and we both went to work on him, arms flying around and crossed up, very professional, and at the end it was just, 'Hey, good job' and 'Hey, you too.' She did an outstanding job, I thought. She got it sealed up until he could get stitched."
Anyone familiar with boxing on the local, national or international level recognizes Gamache by her last name. She is the sister of former lightweight champion Joey Gamache.
"It all goes back to when Joey started fighting," Terry Gamache said. "Instead of being off playing with Barbie dolls, I was sitting up on the side of the ring watching him train."
Her first brush with a gruesome cut came while working as a "round card girl" during her brother's fight against Johnny Kalbhenn at the Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach.
As she carried the sign past her brother's corner, she heard his screams and his exclamation, "I can't see!" Her father, Joe Sr., trainer Tony Lampron and perhaps most importantly Roland Fortin, a local mortician, went to work on the future champ.
"Roland had never been a cutman before he worked with my brother," she said. "But he stopped the bleeding so Joey could go out and win the fight."
Joey Gamache, now based in Brooklyn and training boxers worldwide, isn't surprised by his sister's choice of an avocation.
"She's very bright, and when she sets her mind to something, she does it," he said. "She doesn't have any fear. She's basically like a fighter. She's willing to roll the dice and take chances. I guess that's what it all boils down to. I'm happy for her getting the opportunity to establish her name. She'll earn it."
To say that Gamache doesn't shy away from blood would sell her short. She volunteers to work with it as much as possible.
"When I get told that a guy bleeds a lot — the expression is 'he bleeds when he walks in' — I want that guy," she said.
Duran and Gamache are scheduled to cross paths at a UFC show in New Jersey next month.
"I actually have never met her," Duran said with a laugh. "But I feel like I've known her a long time."
Although she would love to work alongside 'Stitch' someday, there is no guaranteed national work for Gamache beyond the Bellator bouts.
The men who have observed her involvement in the sport unanimously believe, though, that her drive will lead to greater opportunities.
"Everybody who knows her knows she's a tough customer. She's a smart girl. She's talented," Joey Gamache said. "It's like anything else in boxing, whether it's fighting or training, you have to learn the trade and you can work your way up. That's the beauty of it. You keep an open mind and learn something every day."
"What's great about it is her family history and how much they've meant to the fight game in Maine, and now she is continuing that tradition," Littlefield added. "I don't think there is a better person they could choose."