The Controversy Around MMA Gloves

MMA is a sport that has become incredibly popular around the world. Mixed martial arts is sometimes referred to as cage fighting and is a full-contact sport in which two people will use a number of techniques to strike, grapple, and dominate their opponent in order to win. Whilst this can be quite dangerous it is a very disciplined sport and does require some personal protective equipment, the gloves being one of them.

Despite them being there for protection there is still controversy around gloves being used in the UFC and here’s why.


The main concern and controversy surrounding gloves being used in the UFC is injury. When padded gloves are used in fighting it protects the striker’s fists, but it does not protect their opponent from brain damage. It’s not the use of the glove that is damaging to the brain, but the protection and support that is given to the wrist enabling the fighter to hit harder and faster. This means an opponent’s brain is receiving harder hits and the impact is what causes brain injuries. The only way in which using gloves would prevent injury is if they were large enough, however, this prevents functional use within a fight.

Types of Gloves

There are three different types of glove athletes use when training and competing within the UFC. Each glove has a different purpose and when it comes down to what you will use if you are fighting, then it’s best to do some decent research into what’s going to protect your hands. Real-world reviews are some of the best when looking for MMA gloves as they give you a real insight on what they’re like to use, what their pros and cons are, and how they might benefit you as a fighter at your level. If you were to look at any review from a manufacturer then you might be reading biased words, whereas other fighters aren’t going to glorify a product they don’t believe is worth it.

Grappling Gloves

These guys are the groundwork glove, otherwise known as hybrid or training gloves. They are, as their name suggests, used for grappling work, and it’s this reason why they have less padding than both other types of glove.

Sparring Gloves

The definition of sparring is to make the motions of boxing without landing heavy blows, as a form of training. So within the world of MMA sparring is a form of training. Sparring gloves are usually around 7 ounces in weight, and they’re bigger because when training you will be throwing far more punches than you might in an actual fight. You want your knuckles protected when training so you’ll be fully fit when fighting.

Competition Gloves

Professional UFC gloves are usually 4 – 6 ounces in weight as per the rules and aren’t fancy, they are functional and have slight movement to allow for striking and grappling.

The main concern with any full contact, violent sport is that someone is going to get hurt. Whilst these athletes are fully consenting there is still worry for their well being during and after the fight. This is where the true controversy of UFC gloves comes in, are the fighters safe? Is there irreversible damage being done? The truth of the matter is this is a violent sport that has dedicated athletes, should we be interfering? The answer is most probably not, if you aren’t a fan then you don’t have to watch.

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