Do UFC (MMA) Fighters Wear Cups?

“Everybody Underestimates the Kick to the Groin.” -Bas Rutten 

Well, I totally agree with that. Do you?

There are even MMA cups on the market just for training. Even though you are sparring, the opponent can still hit hard and if you don’t wear a protective cup, it would not be nice, would it?

Without further ado let’s answer your question which is “do UFC (MMA) fighters wear cups”.

According to MMA rules and regulations, men need to wear them during matches, however, females can’t wear anything to protect their groin areas.

Do UFC (MMA) Fighters Wear CupsWith that being said, guys need to wear cups that are approved so they just can’t wear anything and step into the UFC Octagon. For example, the guards should not be extra padded and some materials are also prohibited. So make sure to check the official rules and regulations if you are planning on fighting. A cup should also allow you to roll on the mats comfortably.

Let’s not finish the writing here because there are a lot of reasons to wear MMA groin guards for the drills, sessions and why everyone should wear them regularly. After reading the reasons below, I am sure that you will want to own a protective cup.

Benefits of Wearing MMA Cups


Prevents Groin Injuries

Even though it is an illegal blow it happens from time to time. So, you need to protect your groin area very well. Not only it hurts like hell when you get hit, but it can also lead to serious groin injuries like a groin strain, and recovering from that takes at least a couple of weeks and in some cases it takes months. There are even some injuries that need surgical operations.

Other than these, there are even permanent ones. By now I am sure that some of you are scared enough to wear a cup. If these don’t convince you to buy one I don’t know what will.

The materials also distribute the impact throughout the cup and as a result, you feel the impacts less and if the cup actually has a good design, the cup is less likely to move a lot and doesn’t hurt the soft tissue around the groin area.

Other than getting hit, these cups also improve your safety when you are grappling and doing techniques like kneebar. So when you are on your way to getting a brown belt in BJJ or doing just basic grappling techniques in MMA, choose one which has a really ergonomic design so it does not restrict your movement and protects your testicles.

Improves Stretching and Performance

Many high-tech cups with compression shorts have an awesome feature which is called the “4-way” stretch. It improves training performance as it helps fighters to move more freely. However, it also keeps the areas, which are hard to get warm during a warmup, warm. I know that many MMA trainees including me can’t stretch well and as a result, some parts of the body are not stretched properly and warmed up. In addition to these, sometimes you may even forget about it. And when you get intense during sparring you can hurt your groin.

For example, in the case of a third-degree groin strain, which can be prevented by various groin stretches, you may even need to be examined with magnetic resonance imaging. Thanks to compression shorts with jockstraps, you can decrease the chances of it happening, and these decrease the possibility of permanent injuries quite significantly.

Prevents Distractions

A groin cup helps the penis and testicles stay in place while fighting and not wearing it can be a real distraction for everyone and this is not a pleasant view at all. For instance, I remember that I watched an amateur MMA fight while I was traveling. One of the guys obviously did not wear an MMA cup and there were laughs whenever that guy kicked. I am sure that you get the point.

You can choose to wear just a jockstrap or compression shorts with a cup. There are a couple of more selections and all of them have different qualities, advantages, and disadvantages. There are also some important criteria, which are for picking a product, like materials and design that can affect training performance and safety. Below I provided a link to my guide which includes everything about selecting an MMA cup. In that article, I also wrote my personal experiences with two of them including how I felt during and after the blows.

Check Out These Good Cups for MMA

Groin Strikes in a Match

If a fighter gets hit in the groin area during a match, the match has to stop and it stops for 5 minutes. If he feels alright and can continue fighting, the match can go on. Also, the referee has a right to deduct a point from the guilty fighter. With that being said if a fighter is not in a good condition, the match can end as well.

Even though women need to wear protective chest equipment they are not allowed to wear any type of groin guard. So what should they do? I actually talked with so many of them about it but I just could not find a good solution for this. So the best thing, which female fighters can do, is to train and have stronger, flexible groin muscles. There are a couple of good exercises, stretches like groin stretch which can tone groin muscles and strengthen these muscles. These also increase the blood flow and help females to recover quicker after they get hit. I know this is far from ideal but it is better than nothing.

About Female Fighters

Female fighters are not allowed to wear groin protection during matches and I wanted to know how widely recognizable names think about this so I read several articles, watched interviews, videos on MMA Junkie about it. By the way, it is one of the most trustworthy and best sources for MMA news.

According to many famous female names in MMA, there should be something to protect them. With that being said even though they can’t wear it during these matches, they can always wear one while they are sparring on MMA mats. At least these can reduce the likelihood of an injury during training. It is not a big market but there are a few cups, groin protectors for training that are specifically made for females.

Before I finish this writing, I want to make something very clear. If you get punched or get kicked in the groin area while wearing a groin guard, you will feel it, and trust me it hurts like hell. There are even bulletproof groin cups, however, even those bulletproof ones can not prevent pain every time.

It is like wearing a bulletproof vest. This can save your life but you can have a few broken bones if someone shots at you while wearing it. But I am assuming you want to live so you wear it, right? It is the same principle.

I actually suggest you wear groin protectors during all of your sessions. However, some of you may ask why you should do that.

It is a fair question. After all, no one kicks or punches you during mitt drills or bag sessions. When you wear one during these drills you may even feel stupid and I totally get it. However, getting used to these cups requires time. When you wear a cup for the first time, you may feel awkward and even feel like it restricts your movement or you can’t kick properly. Well, at least I had felt that for a couple of weeks and I just could not perform well during training. So get used to them during workouts as much as you can.

Final Words


Basically, these cups help to reduce the impact of strikes and can prevent horrible and permanent injuries. Also, I don’t want to have kids for now but you never know. Maybe I will change my mind in the future. These are the reasons why UFC fighters or people, who regularly spar, wear these guards so it is highly recommended that you wear a cup during your training, sparring sessions. and if you are a male, you are required to wear one during matches.

Did you like my “do UFC (MMA) fighters wear a cup?” article? Or is there anything missing? If you have anything to add, comment, or share some horror stories about not wearing a cup, feel free to do it in the comment section.

Other Sources: Reddit (Bas Rutten)

Image Courtesy of Maza_Fight_Gallery, BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, 944TH FIGHTER WING, CANON EOS 7d MARK ll via Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved
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4 thoughts on “Do UFC (MMA) Fighters Wear Cups?”

  1. Very interesting, I had no idea that there was so much to a cup set up during MMA but to be honest it makes a lot of sense after reading this review. A friend of mine does BBJJ, is this something he should look into too?

    1. A cup is an absolute must In MMA.
      I am not familiar with BJJ regulations. However, accidents can happen a lot while grappling. When I train MMA, I witnessed many things can go while grappling, doing escapes…
      You should ask this on BJJ related site.

  2. Hi Furkan, thank you for a very interesting article and informative article. I really enjoyed reading it. I think anyone who trains without a cup is asking for trouble!

    Some time ago I was accidentally kicked in the groin by a young lady during a very casual practice session, I can tell you it hurts like hell and now I make sure to wear a cup every single time for training and sparring sessions.

    In my opinion, it’s well worth spending the money to protect the “crown jewels”! 🙂

    1. Serious injuries can happen when people don’t wear a good cup.
      Definitely get a well-padded one so your crown jewels will be safe.

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