Do Female Fighters Wear Cups in MMA? | Simply Explained

If you're a MMA fan, there's a good chance that at one point during a fight you've wondered if female fighters wear cups.

You're not alone. In this page, we will explain.

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Do Female Fighters Wear Cups?

According to long-time referee John McCarthy who helped write the Unified rules two decades ago, female fighters are able to wear a protective pad that acts as a cup during a MMA fight, however it is not required for females to wear. There are instances of female fighters being hit with illegal blows, which makes the rule confusing.

female punching a bag

When a female fighter is struck with an illegal groin shot, they receive the same amount of time as a male fighter would in order to recover.

The referee will go through the same illegal blow process, regardless of the gender of the fighter.

Which leads to the question, why isn't it required for MMA female fighters to wear cups?

As of this moment, there are no discussion for rule changes regarding female cups.

Low Blows on Female Fighters

Angela Hill

Hill would be on the receiving end of an illegal groin shot, one that was captured in a painful picture.

Hill would tweet this picture after the fight, and would end up losing via unanimous decision.

Yan Xiaonan

Strawweight fighter Xiaonan was also on the receiving end of an illegal groin shot, a knee strike.

Xioanan would explain that although most people believe these illegal strikes can affect males, it also affects females, and further details what she went through during that fight.

“The groin getting kneed or kicked does not only affect male fighters,” she continued. “So at that moment, what I felt was my bone got hit and I can feel immediately there was some blood and plenty of pain, of course.

She would gut through the fight but would eventually lose via split decision, and not receive half her paycheck through the win bonus.

What Happens When Groin Strikes Land

The referee immediately stops the fight, calls a time out and the fighter has up to 5 minutes to recover.

female in fighting ring

The fight will stop at the exact time that the referee signaled to stop. So if there was 2 minutes left in the round. When the fighter is ready to continue, there will still be 2 minutes left in the round.

If repeated groin strikes occur, the referee also has the authority to deduct points from the violator.

If a groin strike occurs and the fighter who was struck is no longer able to continue, the fight could end in a disqualification or no contest.