Do UFC Fighters Wear Cups? | Easily Explained

Accidental strikes can occur at any time during a fight, and one of the most devastating accidental strikes to deal with are illegal groin strikes.

In this page we will explain if UFC fighters wear cups, if it's required and the benefits to wearing one.

Table of Contents

Do UFC Fighters Wear Cups?

Yes. Cups are required as a part of the UFC uniform that a fighter must wear before entering the octagon and during the fight. Cups are necessary to ensure the safety of a fighter and although groin strikes are illegal, they can still occur unintentionally.

do ufc fighters wear cups

Most professional fighters prefer wearing cups for their own protection, and have worn them throughout their amateur & professional career.

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.

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.

Benefits of Wearing a Cup

Although fighters train for years to build a tolerance against physical pain, it doesn't really apply when a groin shot occurs.

mma pain

Many matches have been stopped over the years due to fighters not being able to continue after being struck in the groin.

A cup wont fully protect your valuables, but it will certainly lessen the impact.

It's important to wear a cup as it can prevent you from visiting the emergency room, and not to mention, a high quality cup will save you thousands of dollars as well.

Holds Everything in Place

Besides protection, cups are important to keep everything where it's supposed to be during training and matches.

The last image that your training partner wants to see in their head is seeing your private parts flying everywhere after you throw a kick, or when you're jumping up and down.

Out of respect for all of your training partners, invest in a high quality cup.

Improved Stretching

Cups with compression shorts are very popular for many reasons including comfort, usability & comfort. They also have a feature that many don't know about named the 4-way stretch.

mma stretching

The unique aspect is that they help warm up certain areas such as the groin muscles up, which are often troublesome areas due to where it is located.

It's a lot easier to warm up the thighs for example, as they're a major muscle that is used for most basic exercises such as a simple lunge.

Groin pulls are very common in any sport, which makes warming them up that more important.

Approved Cups for MMA

The UFC allows fighters a select amount of options of cups that they can wear. We've covered the different types of cups in our Best MMA Cup guide.


diamond cup mma


The UFC and Commission want to protect the fighter, and not worry about a fighter bringing in a cup with additional (illegal) protection, that could harm the other fighter if they accidentally were to make contact with it.

There are two types of cups, the Compression shorts cup and the Jockstrap cup.

Compression Shorts Cup

This is by far the more modern cup.

This cup is extremely easy to put on and clean. Basically a compression short was built with a cup slot in the front.

This gives you extreme comfort and simplicity.

All that you need to do is put on that specific compression short (with the cup inside of course) under their shorts you're done!

We've made a list of the Best Compression Shorts with Cups.

Jockstraps Cup

A Jockstrap on the other hand is a traditional cup that has been around forever.

jockstrap mma

It contains a waistband, a cup in the front and two elastic bands for the user to put their legs through as it secures around the hamstrings to the waistband.

If you lean more traditional, then this may be the best route.

We've made a comprehensive list of the best Jockstraps including the pros and cons of each option.

Do Female Fighters Wear Cups in MMA?

The short answer is not really as it is not required.

We've created an entire page on whether UFC female fighters wear cups, what happens if they are hit with an illegal groin strike, and female fighters who have experienced this recently.

According to John McCarthy, although not mandatory, female fighters have the option to wear a pad.



Female fighters not wearing a cup is a bit of a controversial topic as there isn't a concrete reason of why.

Female fighters do also have organs to protect down there as well, and this may be something that is revised in the future.

Cups Throughout MMA History

Although the UFC banned groin strikes in 1997, at the time this was a very different sport.

It was more barbaric in terms of 'almost everything goes' kind of fighting.

The fight was almost never stopped unless something extremely noticeable and illegal happened.

After the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts was implemented, weight classes, strict rules & the requirement of cups took place.

This unification of rules was a huge part of the UFC becoming the global phenomenon that it is today, as it provided legitimacy to the organization and its fighters.

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