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Cheap MMA Gloves, MMA Sparring Gloves

Updated on December 17, 2010

MMA Gloves

MMA is a comprehensive martial art in that it uses elements of both grappling and striking. Because of this, the traditional 12-14oz boxing gloves just don't work. They are far too bulky to allow fighters to grip limbs or do much of anything other than strike. In the original vale tudo fights, many didn't use gloves at all. This was also the case for the early UFC events. The problem with this is that striking with no padding will quickly damage the hand; in fact, many early fighters had their careers cut short or derailed due to hand injuries.  Gloves help reduce injuries by adding additional padding to the knuckles and by facilitating the use of wraps, which help compress the hand and allow it to absorb shock more easily.

UFC MMA Gloves
UFC MMA Gloves | Source

MMA Gloves vs Boxing Gloves

As I mentioned before, boxing gloves aren't as useful for grappling as MMA gloves are.  This is primarily due to their bulkiness and how difficult they make it to grip.  While this is the primary reason that boxing gloves were not used in MMA, there are other more technical problems that arise from the use of smaller gloves.

If anyone has watched boxing, they probably notice that the majority of high-level fighters keep their hands up and guard their face with their gloves.  These same people might also notice that fewer MMA fighters do this.  This isn't necessarily because the MMA fighters have less striking prowess, but because the MMA gloves are less effective in blocking strikes.  Boxing gloves rely on their bulkiness to stop punches coming from both the front and sides.  The much smaller MMA gloves do not afford the same protection.  Because of this, fighters tend to engage differently.  For example, you won't often see an MMA fighter unleashing a four or five punch combo.  Many fighters just throw overhand rights all day because it's easier to get past an opponent's guard with the gloves. 

Some people say that MMA gloves result in more KOs due to having less padding.  This isn't necessarily true.  The primary difference, which I touched upon above, is that it's easier to penetrate an opponent's guard with strikes.  In boxing, you often need to land several punches to start to break an opponent down.  In MMA, a single hard punch has a good chance of finding your opponent's chin.  Because of this, knock outs are more common.

Different Types of MMA Gloves

There are three types of MMA gloves that are on the market: competition gloves, bag gloves, and MMA training gloves.  Below, I will explain what each glove is and its function.

Competition Gloves:  These are the standard MMA gloves that you see in UFC, PRIDE, or Strikeforce fights.  Depending on the organization, the gloves can range anywhere from 4 to 6 ounces in padding.  In North America, 4oz is the standard.  The additional padding on the 6oz gloves helps reduce trauma to the hand, but they are only used in Japan as far as I know.  Competition gloves typically have normal cushioning and are always open fingered.  They are also typically lighter than the training gloves.

Bag Gloves: The purpose of these gloves is for hitting the heavy bag.  Most bag gloves make use of gel padding and are exceptionally styled for wrist support over anything else.  While most fighters prefer to hit the heavy bag with boxing gloves, some feel that MMA bag gloves are a better choice.  Bag gloves are typically a little bit cheaper than competition gloves.

MMA Training Gloves:  Usually, these are the type of gloves that you'll use when training mixed martial arts in a gym.  These, in general, have padding covering the fingers, but allow a full range of motion.  This is done to prevent finger injuries and to help reduce damage overall.  The point of training is to simulate a fight without sustaining all of the injuries associated with fighting.  While many people know that fighters typically get injured more in training than in fighting, it's still a good idea to try to protect your hands as best as possible.  Compared to competition gloves, these are still generally cheaper.  They are about the same price as the bag gloves.

Glove Size

Depending on how large of a person you are and how large your hands are, you may need to consider glove sizes. From my experience, medium sized gloves tend to fit most people. I have a friend who is 6'3 and 220 who uses medium-sized gloves, which is the same as me (although I'm a fair bit smaller.) In general, small gloves should be used for exceptionally small people and large gloves are usually reserved for the heavy weights. It's a bit hard to not fit into MMA gloves unless your name is Shane Carwin, so you shouldn't have a hard time finding a pair that fit you. If you're an average-sized guy or even a little bigger, then try out the medium gloves. If you're bigger, then go for large. If you're very small, then small.

I hope this helps.

Wrist Wraps

As I mentioned above, wrist wraps are an essential part of preserving the lifespan of your hand.  If you're not using them when striking, then you run the risk of severely damaging your hand at some point during your career.  Do not expect to avoid injuries by just using gloves.  Make sure you get wrist wraps as well!


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    • eltravose profile image

      eltravose 4 years ago from Florida

      Very good article, I've been checking around for cheap gear online. I often buy it and resell it in my gym. There are many other articles out there with different opinions on what cheap is, or quality vs cost etc. I would just read a lot before your purchased anything.

      read that to get an idea of all the gear mma fighters use.

    • profile image

      billybobjr 6 years ago

      Very informative