UFC fighters wear athletic shorts, open-finger gloves, and no shoes. Men wear no shirts and women wear sports tops or sports bras. Both men and women wear mandated protective equipment during a fight including pads, cups, and sometimes padded helmets.
UFC stands for Ultimate Fight Championship, the name of a company that hosts famous promotional MMA-style fights. MMA stands for mixed martial arts, a famously high-contact and fast-paced sport. Fighters use moves from multiple sports like boxing, Jiu Jitsu, and even wrestling. It is a full-contact, highly dangerous sport that makes all the protective gear necessary.
The UFC follows the general rules of dress used in MMA, including requirements for protective equipment, though the company has its own rules for what kind of branding and walkout gear fighters wear before a match.
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MMA Uniform Rules
UFC fighters wear clothing that aligns with the official Unified Rules of the sport. The rules cover what articles of clothing a fighter can and cannot wear during a match. For example, both male and female fighters do not wear shoes in most types of matches. Male fighters may not wear shirts, while female fighters have to wear an approved top or sports bra.
On top of this, the rules also specify the logistics of the protective gear all fighters wear. This covers things like the shape and size of fingerless gloves, and the necessity of protection like a mouthguard for all fighters. You can read more about the Unified Rules in this article from Epic Sports.
UFC fighters wear a variety of different shorts styles, like longer gym shorts, shorter kickboxing shorts, or bike shorts. They do not wear super short styles like speedos as you might see in a wrestling match, though. UFC champions often wear a special style of shorts called Venum shorts, in black fabric with their name emblazoned in gold across the waistband.
You can find out all about UFC shorts in this article from the Way of Martial Arts.
Sports Shirt Vs Sports Bra
While male UFC fighters do not wear shirts at all as part of the official rules, female fighters wear approved styles of sports tops or sports bras. The approved style of top includes a sports bra, or a top with a rash guard for sleeves. Loose T-shirts or tank tops are not allowed because they tend to get pulled down during a fight.
In fact, the sport has recently seen changes in the rules determining what type of sports top a female fighter can wear. Previously, looser t-shirts or tank tops were allowed for women who did not want to wear a sports bra, but the danger of a wardrobe malfunction because of a loose top has caused this style to get ruled out. You can read more about the recent changes to UFC female fight outfits in this article from Sports Joe.
All UFC fighters sport rugged-looking open-finger gloves during a fight. Like all the protective gear worn during a fight, the gloves have to fit specific standards such as having less than an inch of padding at the knuckles. The basic idea is that all fighters should wear similar gloves to give everyone an even playing field.
Unlike thick, padded boxing gloves, UFC gloves commonly weigh between just 4 and 6 ounces. You can find out more about how glove weight matters in the UFC here.
Besides the necessary open-finger gloves, UFC fighters have to meet several other protective gear requirements such as groin or chest guards. Male fighters can choose between compression shorts or a cup, and female fighters wear a mandatory chest protector. Sometimes fighters will also wear shin guards or even head protection like a padded helmet with a chin pad.
You can find out more about the rules governing the protective gear worn by UFC fighters in this article from MMA Hive.
UFC fighters wear a mouthguard during fights and even open workouts. This is essential because getting kicked or punched in the head could injure the fighter’s tongue or mouth without the guard, or even knock teeth loose. In fact, a mouthguard can even help prevent serious injuries like a broken jaw or head trauma.
Dental Hub explains the importance of wearing a mouthguard in contact sports here.
While UFC fighters can wear whatever athletic apparel they prefer during private training sessions, they have to meet specific standards during open workouts. Basically, this means that they wear an approved workout uniform when in public.
UFC partnered with a brand called Venum recently, so much of the approved wardrobe for workout gear comes from Venum clothing. You can find out about this partnership on Venum's official website here.
Walkout Shirt and Shorts
Before a fight, UFC fighters go through a process called walking out and weighing in. They wear a company-approved walkout outfit often consisting of a t-shirt and track pants or sweatpants for this process. The fighter with the better stats gets to pick what color he or she will wear during this event, and the fighter with lower stats has to wear the leftover color.
Walkout clothes usually feature a lot of branding. For champions, they may also include personalization like the fighter’s name. You can read more about what fighters wear during a weigh-in in this article from the Bleacher Report.
Like the rest of a fighter’s walk-out attire, the walk-out hoodie comes in a preselected color, with the fighter who has better stats getting first dibs on the color. Walkout hoodies also typically feature branding. Because of their iconic appearance, walk-out hoodies make a super popular choice for fans to buy from sports shops or the official UFC store, too.
You can read about the official UFC clothing guidelines for fighters here.
UFC fighters typically wear stylish business attire like a fitted suit during a press conference or official company event. The UFC likes to present a professional image as a sports company, so fighters often choose between wearing a promotional fighting uniform to a special event, or a stylish matching suit.
If you need the perfect suit for the next time you need to look professional, check out the 20 best affordable suits for men and women here.
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