The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was the first promotion company that featured mixed martial arts events. It was instrumental in the surge of popularity of MMA all over the world. Currently, a number of other promotion companies have featured their own MMA events. UFC matches when it started in the 1990’s were known to be very violent. UFC even used the tagline “There are no rules!” to drive this point. The violent nature of the new sport drew the attention of US authorities. Most notable of these was Senator John McCain who sought to ban UFC because of the events which he dubbed as “human cockfighting”. This resulted in bans across 36 states including New York. UFC then rebranded itself as a sport instead of a spectacle. It sought cooperation with various state athletic commissions. A number of changes where implemented starting UFC12. Changes included the introduction of weight classes, mandatory use of gloves, and banning of head kicks on downed opponents, fish hooking, hair pulling, and groin strikes. By the 2000’s the UFC and other MMA companies were able to hold state-sanctioned events with the adoption of new rules that offered athletes better protection and fairer competition.
Along with the general acceptance of MMA and its growing popularity is the rise in popularity of MMA gear and clothing. Although MMA fighters are only allowed to wear shorts and gloves during fights, other clothing apparels such as shirts, hoodies, caps, and others are becoming in fashion among fans and non-fans. Browsing through the internet can give you an endless list of websites and stores offering the latest in MMA clothing. It is even said that the MMA clothing range is already competing with the other larger fashion companies in the industry.
Athletes should make sure that they are getting MMA gloves that offer maximum protection to their hands as well as provide ease of grip when clinching opponents. Instead of the usual boxing gloves, fighters use the approved lightweight open-fingered gloves which enabled them to deliver strong punches with less risk for hand injury while retaining their grabbing and grappling ability. These gloves allowed the fighters to execute clinch maneuvers in order to prevent an opponent from escaping. Some top-of-the-line gloves are covered in leather and uses gel cushions. Gel provides better cushioning than conventional foams. Gel gloves are very comfortable because they can easily expand and contract fitting comfortably on the palm. To provide additional wrist support, some gloves come with wrist Velcro closures.
Competitors must now fight wearing approved shorts. Shoes, shirts, gi’s, gi pants, and long pants are not allowed. Shorts are available in a number of cuts. These include board shorts and gladiator shorts. The latest are the compressive shorts that usually come with a groin protector. Although groin strikes are prohibited, fighters still use groin protectors as a precautionary measure against accidental hits. These shorts are form-fitting and are specifically designed for the rigors of MMA combat.
Mouth guards are most commonly known to be used by boxers but are now also widely used by MMA fighters. They protect the teeth and gums of the fighter from concussion. Probably the best mouth guards are those that can immediately fit and mould itself into the contours of the mouth. Some of the best mouth guards also help absorb shock to protect the brain from concussive injuries. But more importantly, mouth guards do best in preventing a fighter’s teeth from flying off.
There are also specialized gears for women fighters. Form-fitting chest guard shirts with built-in support bra provide basic protection the chest area. During training, women can also use a chest protector made of molded foam that offers wrap-around protection for the abdominals, chest, ribs and kidneys. To provide additional protection to the chest area, turtle shell bra cups can be fitted into a sports bra.
Other protective gears include head gears, joint and rash guards, shin guards. They come in a wide array of variations providing different levels of protection. Although a complete set of MMA gear can be quite expensive, they are still a worthwhile investment for the serious athlete. More than the being stylish, these gears provide the athlete invaluable protection during training and in actual competition. By worrying less for their protection, the fighter can focus more on the fight at hand.