Do UFC fighters wear cups? How do they protect themselves?

Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno
Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno
Dhruv Sharma

‘Protect yourself at all times’ is a mandatory instruction each UFC referee needs to provide before any fight. Cups, in MMA and in other combat sports too, are imperative to this protection.

A low blow can not only alter the course of a fight but can severely damage the sensitive areas of the human anatomy. Therefore the groin area in general needs to be properly protected. Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno at UFC 256 is the latest example of how cups protect fighters. Figueiredo landed a nasty low kick on Moreno in the fight that had the Mexican doubled up in agony for nearly three minutes.

Had his protective cup not been there, one shudders to think how serious the injury would have been.

Cups are a part of the necessary UFC uniform that a fighter must wear before entering the octagon. Being required to wear a cup may feel awkward for some fighters, but UFC officials anticipate groin strikes as a possibility during any match have recently tightened their rules to protect the fighters.

Such is the degree of protection that cups provide that more and more gyms are making it necessary for fighters to wear cups even during light sparring.

For UFC fighters, cups not only provide protection but have several other benefits as well.

Cups also avoid ‘spillage’ during a fight and hold everything in place. This prevents any unwanted embarrassment while competing.

Additionally, some cups, especially, those built-in with MMA shorts, provide extra support in stretching and movement.

Which cups are allowed in the UFC?

It is very common for fighters today to wear compression shorts with a built-in cup. They are comfortable to wear, easy to adjust, but still provide protection.

Jockstraps are a more traditional form of protection in fights and general athletics. They are made with an elastic drawstring that is easy to adjust and provide maneuverability.

Muay Thai cups can also take some getting used to but are most effective during hard sparring or very technical matches. They absorb hard hits and are better suited to perform technical martial arts like jiu-jitsu or taekwondo.

Do female UFC fighters need to wear cups?

The MMA uniform is different for male and female fighters. Both are required to wear shorts, open-fingered gloves, and a mouthguard. Women are also required to wear a shirt and chest protection but only men are required to wear a cup. Current UFC rules and guidelines actually discourage women from wearing groin protection during a fight.

However, protective pads are available for women to help prevent abdominal pain, bleeding or bruising after a groin strike.

Edited by aditya.rangarajan
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