The gladiator shorts were created because of their similar look to the popular Muay Thai shorts, which means MMA fighters can train/compete with similar aesthetics.The different types of MMA shorts are board shorts, Vale Tudo shorts, gladiator shorts, and skorts for women only.
What Are the Different Types of MMA Shorts/UFC Shorts?
However, all three are used which means the benefits of one over the other are minimal.
- Board Shorts
- Vale Tudo Shorts (Compression Shorts)
- Gladiator Shorts
- Skort (Women Only)
1. They’re tight-fitting, and while this doesn’t hinder movement at all, some fighters don’t like this tightness when fighting as it can be uncomfortable or distracting.3. The MMA board shorts that don’t have a cup insert means fighters must wear a jockstrap-style cup underneath. Some fighters feel more restricted by this and therefore avoid MMA board shorts.
1. Board Shorts
With this in mind, here are the best-selling MMA shorts on Amazon.5. The tight fitting of Vale Tudo shorts makes them hard to grab.As gladiator shorts are essentially board shorts, they’re made with a similar mix of materials. For example, the UFC gladiator shorts are also made with 88% polyester and 12% elastane, just like the board shorts are. Gladiator shorts also often have an elastic waistband.There aren’t any drawbacks to wearing a skort rather than board shorts for female MMA fighters.
Benefits of MMA Board Shorts
Like the board shorts, most Vale Tudo shorts are made with a polyester and elastane mix, but with a higher percentage of elastane. For example, the UFC Vale Tudo shorts are 78% polyester and 22% elastane.1. They have all the benefits of compression shorts (see above).2. Very short look for the women who prefer it.Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, but the benefits of one do not outweigh the other styles in terms of affecting the outcome of a fight. 2. Board shorts are the longest type of MMA shorts. This makes them great for hiding damage via leg kicks to the quads or hamstrings. If an opponent sees large bruising or very red areas on their opponent’s leg, they’ll likely target the legs to inflict further damage. Board shorts prevent this from happening.It comes down to personal preference, which is mostly decided by which pair of MMA shorts are most comfortable for a fighter/practitioner, and secondly how aesthetically pleasing they are.2. With a looser fit, especially at the bottom near the knee, it’s easier for opponents to grab or step on them. And while grabbing shorts is illegal, some fighters do this when in a clinch, when shooting for a double leg against the cage, or on the ground.MMA fighters wear Vale Tudo shorts for the following reasons:
Drawbacks of MMA Board Shorts
MMA fighters would choose not to wear Vale Tudo shorts for the following reasons:MMA board shorts are the longest of the three and finish an inch or two above the knee. They also come in a mid-thigh length for men, and a much shorter length pair for women. They’re lightweight and made from a polyester and elastane mix and have an elastic waistband. As an example, the UFC board shorts are 88% polyester and 12% elastane. Some also have a drawstring and velcro closure.1. MMA board shorts are looser and longer and therefore hide the glutes and leg muscles more than the other shorts. For some MMA fighters, the MMA board shorts can make their legs look skinny in comparison to their upper body.2. The large slit reveals even more leg damage than the Vale Tudo shorts.3. The flailing of the shorts may be distracting for some fighters.
2. Vale Tudo Shorts (Compression Shorts)
4. Compression wear is said to improve proprioception (kinesthesia). This is the body’s ability to sense its location and movement. Essentially, Vale Tudo shorts may help fighters be more in tune when fighting and therefore perform better. Think of it like bodybuilders improving their mind-muscle connection.3. Complete range of motion without any feelings of restriction when kicking. This makes the gladiator shorts ideal for MMA fighters who use a lot of kicks, especially head kicks.The four main types of MMA shorts are:
Benefits of MMA Vale Tudo Shorts
4. Gladiator shorts can be paired with compression shorts. This means fighters can take all of the associated benefits (see above).2. The tight-fitting compression keeps the glutes and leg muscles warm to decrease the risk of injury. It also helps improve blood flow to these muscles which provides them with more oxygen and allows them to work harder for longer.Grabbing shorts is done out of the referee’s sight and fighters can get away with it.Fighters pick their preferred style of MMA shorts based on which they find most comfortable, and secondly which they find eye-catching. 7. Being made with a higher percentage of elastane and lower polyester compared to the other MMA shorts means the Vale Tudo shorts are the most stretchy and therefore highly durable for the rigors of MMA training/competition.The second type of MMA shorts is the Vale Tudo shorts, which are essentially thicker versions of compression shorts and therefore more suitable for use in public. Vale Tudo shorts are worn by both male and female MMA fighters, with the female pair being much shorter.The most popular MMA shorts worn by UFC fighters are the Vale Tudo shorts (compression shorts). The benefits are slightly more than the gladiator and board shorts, and they’re very comfortable once a person gets used to them.5. Board shorts can be paired with compression shorts. This means fighters can take all of the associated benefits (see below) of compression shorts. They can even wear their cup in the compression shorts underneath instead of a jockstrap system if they prefer this.
Drawbacks of MMA Vale Tudo Shorts
6. Many of them contain a cup pocket, meaning fighters can wear just one layer (the Vale Tudo shorts) and be worn with or without a jockstrap cup system. Many find this more freeing and comfortable.1. The tight compression works like a rash guard to protect the skin from abrasions. It also reduces chafing and irritation.3. They have small slits in the side which offer a full range of motion and unrestricted movement when training/competing.7. Before the UFC sponsorship with Reebok and now Venum, the board shorts were better for outside sponsors and fighters as their longer length meant more could be advertised on board shorts and both made more money.
3. Gladiator Shorts
In 2023, these board shorts are still worn but they’re much more fitted, stretchy where needed, and fit for the purpose of MMA.If the Vale Tudo shorts were by far the best style of MMA shorts, then Khabib Nurmagomedov, Max Holloway, Tony Ferguson, and countless other greats/champions wouldn’t have worn board shorts, and Jon Jones wouldn’t have worn gladiator shorts.So, ‘what are the different types of MMA shorts?’
Benefits of MMA Gladiator Shorts
3. The tight-fitting compression reduces muscle vibration which can reduce muscle fatigue and help improve performance.Fighters who prefer to show these muscles choose not to wear MMA board shorts. Choosing to show huge leg muscles may make an opponent more concerned with leg kicks and wrestling and you start to see how it can affect the tactics of a fight.1. Great design which looks similar to Muay Thai shorts.1. Gladiator shorts flail because of the large slits on the sides. This means they can be more easily grabbed or stepped on by an opponent when in clinch positions.6. Many board shorts have an adjustable drawstring in the waist and a velcro closure which means their tightness can be adjusted to a person’s preference. Adjusting the tightness is also helpful depending on the type of martial art being trained, whether it be only wrestling, striking, or a mix of both.They tightly hug the skin and come in a long length which is around 2 to 3 inches above the knee, and a short/medium length which runs to around the midpoint of the quads.Before the UFC-Reebok deal started in 2015, UFC fighters mostly wore large board shorts very similar to the board shorts used by surfers.
Drawbacks of MMA Gladiator Shorts
3. They’re not the most aesthetically pleasing and can be too revealing – especially when worn without a cup.MMA fighters may wear board shorts for the following benefits:They also have small slits in the sides and an elasticated waistband.In this article, we’ll examine the different types of MMA shorts worn by MMA/UFC fighters and the benefits and drawbacks of each, finishing with a section about which type of MMA shorts are best.
4. Skort (Women’s MMA Shorts)
5. They’re aesthetically pleasing and don’t show a man’s package when a cup isn’t worn underneath.If the benefits of one particular style were much larger than the other two styles, all three wouldn’t be used because the UFC is hyper-competitive and fighters are looking for the smallest of margins to help them win.
Benefits of MMA skorts
6. Gladiator shorts are typically made from the thinnest and lightest material which offers great comfort and less feelings of restriction.All of them come in different lengths and colors, and MMA/UFC fighters are free to use whichever style of MMA shorts they please. They simply mustn’t have exposed pockets, zippers, or velcro, as per the Official Unified Rules of MMA.Are you wondering what the different types of MMA shorts worn by MMA and UFC fighters are?Some MMA fighters don’t wear MMA board shorts for the following reasons.MMA fighters may wear gladiator shorts for the following reasons:
Which Type of MMA Shorts Are Best?
3. They’re aesthetically pleasing and don’t show a man’s package when a cup isn’t worn underneath. This means they can also be worn for general everyday activities outside of MMA/combat sports.2. They can show damage to the legs which makes an opponent likely to target that area.2. Increased airflow due to them being the most open MMA shorts. This makes the gladiator shorts ideal for training and competing in hot conditions.1. Board shorts were the most popular shorts worn in the UFC up until 2014, so they’re considered traditional shorts.MMA fighters may decide against wearing gladiator shorts because of the following drawbacks:4. Very breathable because they’re open at the bottom and many have mesh inserts.Gladiator shorts are essentially MMA board shorts with a large split on the outside of each leg, much larger than board shorts may have. Gladiator MMA shorts only come in mid-thigh length.
The Bottom Line
However, all three are great options and more or less offer the same benefits for MMA training/competing.Worn by female MMA fighters, the skort is a mix of compression shorts underneath and a skirt most similar to the board shorts on top. The skort is the shortest pair of MMA shorts for women, with the compression shorts coming out the bottom of the skirt.Female MMA fighters may wear skorts for the following benefits:Let’s take a look at the three styles of MMA shorts and the benefits and drawbacks of each.