5 of the Most Common MMA Injuries | Explained

Recently, a study has shown that the main location of injuries in MMA were in the upper extremities including the arms, neck and head and the most common injuries were lacerations.

Below we've listed the most common MMA injuries in order, how they happen, and what steps can be taken to prevent them.

mma injury


1. Laceration

What is a Laceration?

A laceration is another word for a skin wound, or a cut that goes all the way through the skin.


Why is a Laceration the Most Common?

In Mixed Martial Arts fights, they are wearing 8 oz gloves and their easiest path to a victory is through a knock out.

Most knock outs occur from some type of strike to the head, so fighters naturally will aim for their power shots to land on the head.

facial injury

Whether the strikes land cleanly or not, cuts can and will still occur.

Preventative Steps

This is why prior to fights, referees will apply vaseline to the face of the fighters to prevent the gloves from sticking to the face of each fighter and minimize lacerations.

Message for the BJJ Athletes

Now the bjj guys will read this and say what about submissions? That can be even faster!

That's also a great point but the problem is that most submissions need some type of clinch or takedown first.

Every so often, there is a leg lock related submission but that's not a common result in MMA and this article pertains to common MMA injuries.

2. Concussion

What is a Concussion?

A brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head and body.


Why is a Concussion Common?

MMA fighters do not wear headgear when in a fight, and due to this they are susceptible to head related injuries such as concussions.

Every fight begins standing up which allows for more opportunity of strikes to the head of an opponent.

In fact, every round begins with both fighters standing up.

Preventative Steps

When it comes to protecting the head in MMA during fights, there is only one simple solution and that is to avoid being hit.

Work on head movement and footwork to become a fighter that is hard to hit.

Unfortunately when it comes to combat sports, there aren't many available solutions.

Fighters can and typically do wear headgear when they train, but for professional fights this is not an option.

3. Contusion

What is a Contusion?

A contusion is a medical term for a bruise which results from a direct blow or impact.


Why is a Contusion Common?

Contusions can occur in every portion and stage of mixed martial arts.

mma injury

Whether through strikes, wrestling & grappling, or even clinching.

In combat sports in general, contusions will almost always occur.

Preventative Steps

Besides the old "Don't get hit" trick, there really isn't much that you can do during an actual professional fight.

However, during training there is equipment that you can use to protect crucial parts of your body.

Equipment such as headgear, mouthguards, gloves, shinguards, cups, feet gear will help prevent contusions.

4. Fracture

What is a Fracture?

A fracture is essentially a broken bone. There is no difference between a fracture and a break.

broken bone


Why is a Fracture Common?

Fractures can occur in MMA from blocking strikes or from getting caught in submissions.

In some rare cases, fractures can just occur from actually hitting your opponent. Stephen Wonderboy Thompson is famous for breaking his hands from punching his opponents.

Preventative Steps

When it comes to being caught in a submission, sometimes it's better to tap and live to fight another day rather than being our for months from injury.

When it comes to strikes, there are certain ways to block strikes that will lessen the impact and in turn will save you from damage.


The most common one is to avoid the strike altogether, if they can't hit you, they can't hurt you.

Check the Kick

Checking a leg kick correctly can actually cause your opponent who threw the kick a lot of damage and it can backfire.

Roll With the Punches

Boxers routinely use this method as they move their head and bodies in such a way to lessen the impact of the strike.

Closing the Distance

By closing the distance, your opponent will not have the space to build up their maximum power when throwing a strike.

A disclaimer to this is, experienced and very good fighters have figured out ways to move their bodies and set themselves up to still generate effective and powerful strikes in small spaces.

5. Strain

What is a Strain?

A strain is an overstretched, torn, or twisted tendon or muscle.

muscle strain

Why is a Strain Common?

This can happen over time as a result of overusing muscles. MMA fighters aren't like other sport athletes where they can focus on a single part of their game.

MMA fighters must know many different arts, and this causes them to be in a position where they are prone to over training.

Preventative Steps

Ensure that you are giving yourself rest days and aren't going 'all out' every practice.

Along with this, you'll want to make sure that you are taking the appropriate steps to recover, eating the right foods and even healthy supplements.

Common Injury Data

Injury Diagnoses
Diagnosis Frequency %
Laceration 321 37.3
Concussion 179 20.8
Contusion 142 16.5
Fracture 53 6.2
Strain 51 6.0
Joint dysfunction 45 5.2
Sprain 25 2.9
Dislocation 20 2.3
Epistaxis 15 1.8
Other 9 1.0
Total 860 100.0


Related Articles you May Like

What is Mixed Martial Arts

MMA Fighter Ears - How Does This Happen?

Unluckiest MMA Fighters