Who here has ever used a butter knife to turn a screw?
I have, and while it technically works, it is awkward and has its drawbacks.
There is just nothing like having the right tool for the job.
That’s how I feel about MMA shorts.
Sure gym shorts and regular board shorts might work, but things will be much better with a pair of shorts designed for MMA.
I am going to discuss what makes MMA shorts different from other styles, go over a few features and styles of MMA shorts so you can decide what are the best MMA shorts for you, and finish off with a review of 10 of the best MMA shorts 2018.
- What Features set MMA Shorts Apart from the Rest?
- Which Style Should I Choose? Compression vs. Classic Style MMA Shorts?
- Top 10 Best MMA Shorts Reviews 2018
- Clinch Gear Performance PREMIUM MMA Shorts
- Anthem Athletics HELO-X Vale Tudo Compression Shorts
- Bad Boy Full Guard Compression Short & Cup
- Venum Sharp 2.0 Fight Shorts
- Hayabusa Chikara Fight Shorts
- Sprawl MMA Fusion 3 Series Fight Shorts
- RVCA Men’s Grappler Short
- Hayabusa Kickboxing MMA Shorts
- RDX Training Clothing UFC Cage MMA Shorts
- TapouT 4 Way Stretch Performance Fight Shorts
What Features set MMA Shorts Apart from the Rest?
Flexibility, agility and mobility
Range of motion is king when it comes to MMA.
The best MMA shorts have stretch panels in the groin and gusset area, and at the side of the leg, that allow for kicking and kneeing your opponent. Your legs should not be restricted by your shorts at all.
Most MMA shorts also have a slit on the side to facilitate movement and flexibility.
If you begin grappling in board shorts or basketball shorts you will soon discover that these shorts get in the way and hinder your performance.
It is then you will fully appreciate the value of a good pair of MMA shorts.
Lack of hardware and outside pockets that can injure
MMA shorts are also defines by what they don’t have.
They don’t have:
- Outer pockets that can catch fingers and cause damage while rolling around on the mat
- Metal D rings, zippers or eye loops that can scratch, cut and gash your opponent
- Exterior exposed drawstrings that can strike an opponent in the eye
- Any exposed hardware that can scratch and cut
A good MMA citizen should aim to submit their opponent with their knees, elbows, fists and feet- not by using shorts with dangerous features.
Designed to stay on
When you are rolling around on the mat, grappling with an opponent, there is a chance that either from the friction of the mat, or the dirty deed of your opponent, your pants may get pulled down.
Don’t believe me?
Watch it happen as Zulzhino’s shorts are pulled down by his opponent. Don’t feel too bad for Zulzhino, he responded to the assault by “accidentally” clocking his opponent in the family jewels.
Which reminds me: Guys-always, always, ALWAYS wear a cup while grappling.
So, the best MMA shorts have both a secure Velcro close and an internal drawstring that keeps your pants secure without risking damage to your opponent.
Some even have special rubber or elastic on the inside for added security.
Which Style Should I Choose? Compression vs. Classic Style MMA Shorts?
If you ask me, both have their benefits, and a strong argument can be made for wearing them together. But I will highlight the benefits of each so you can decide for yourself.
Compression or Vale Tudo style MMA shorts
- Very hard for your opponent to grab on to and pull down.
- Compression increases heat and helps muscles recover.
- Prevents mat burn and inhibit infection from ringworm and staph.
- Connor McGregor wears them.
- Not as sexy as you think.
- Show in detail your man parts.
- Makes your opponents uncomfortable.
Classic (baggy) style MMA shorts
- Light and breathable- good ventilation.
- Better coverage-modesty, don’t show your private area.
- Don’t show your upper legs.
- Looks “normal”.
- Any loose material gives your opponent something to grab.
- Must wear either jock strap or compression shorts/undies to hold a cup.
Top 10 Best MMA Shorts Reviews 2018
Clinch Gear Performance PREMIUM MMA Shorts
Review: These insanely popular top MMA shorts have a reputation for comfort and mobility.
They allow you to kick high and move easily thanks to 360 degree stretch panels on the sides and crotch area. They are very soft, made from extremely light weight microfiber.
These shorts do not use a drawstring, but instead have a dual Velcro system to adjust and secure the shorts and as a small bonus there is an internal waistband pocket for small items like car keys.
- Super stretch panels at the side and gusset.
- Sublimated graphics that won’t rub or wash off.
- Very durable and long lasting.
- May run a tad large.
Anthem Athletics HELO-X Vale Tudo Compression Shorts
Review: These Anthem Athletics Vale Tudo shorts are a good mix of compression and breathability, and they do not stretch to the point of being see thru.
They are excellent for grappling and mat work because there is nothing for your opponent to grab.
- Fit right above the knee.
- Internal drawstring keeps them up while grappling.
- Good compression.
- No cup pocket.
Bad Boy Full Guard Compression Short & Cup
Review: The built in cup holder on these bad boys sets them apart from the rest. Stay protected whether you are giving a knee to the face or making a ground transition, and never give the opponent an opportunity to hurt you where it counts.
Bad Boy shorts have been around for a while and they make some of the coolest MMA shorts around.
- 85 % nylon, 15 % spandex, excellent compression.
- Inner cup pocket.
- Flat seams and knit waistband mean no chafing.
- Not very long- fit well above the knee.
Venum Sharp 2.0 Fight Shorts
Review: These sharp looking Venum fight shorts from one of the best MMA shorts brands are the perfect length, not too long and not too short.
The sit above the knee, but are not so high they look weird. They have an internal drawstring for a secure fit, the fabric stretches four ways so you can deliver any kick or knee to the face with ease, and they are super light and comfortable.
- Sidewinder cut and 4 way stretch for maximum mobility.
- Super light fast drying material.
- Internal drawstring with T shaped Velcro close.
- Some of the seams and edges are rough.
Hayabusa Chikara Fight Shorts
Review: These Hayabusa Chikara fight shorts are thicker material and longer than average, but that does not restrict movement at all.
They have an ample side split and stretch fabric in the groin/gusset area so high kicks and such are not a problem.
They are attractive without being over the top, and have several features which hold them on well.
- Velcro waist and fly.
- Guard lock inner grip system, elastic strips on the inside that hold the shorts on.
- Triple stitched and perma-pressed seams lie flat even after you wash them a lot.
- The waist adjusts to fit smaller if you lose weight, but not the other way around..
Sprawl MMA Fusion 3 Series Fight Shorts
Review: Sprawl brand MMA shorts are a favorite of MMA pros because they are designed to be impenetrable to blood, sweat and tears, and the germs that come with them.
They also adjust a full size up or down in the waist, so you can cut for a fight and rehydrate and still fit the same pair. The fabric is a 4 way stretch so mobility is not an issue.
- Channel lock system keeps the shorts on as you are grappling.
- Side slit adds mobility.
- Longer shorts for guys who like more coverage.
RVCA Men’s Grappler Short
Review: These RVCA grappler shorts are some of the coolest MMA shorts around. They have an understated design that does not scream “MMA shorts” like so many others, so you can wear them while out and about, and while grappling.
They have an internal drawstring with a subtle Velcro cover so they stay on, and the material contains 8% elastane so they have good stretch and flexibility.
- Cut a few inches above the knee, stylish, not too long or short.
- Undercover MMA shorts, no flashy design and bright colors here.
- Quick dry fabric with 8% elastane for stretch.
- I don’ know how to put this delicately, if you have a larger or very muscular butt, these may not be the shorts for you.
Hayabusa Kickboxing MMA Shorts
Review: These are shorter shorts that are built for extreme comfort. They have no hardware or bulky Velcro closures.
They do have an internal drawstring paired with an elastic waistband that keeps them up while grappling. The fabric is very light and the shorts fall to the mid thigh so some leg will show.
- Very light, no hardware and lightweight fabric for a barely there feel.
- Internal drawstring holds them up securely.
- Mid thigh length with thigh split for maximum move-ability.
- These run small (and short).
RDX Training Clothing UFC Cage MMA Shorts
Review: These long MMA shorts by RDX have several features which make them a good choice for larger guys.
While they do run true to size, they are available I up to 2xl or up to a 38” waist. They have an internal drawstring and a gel panel which helps you keep your shorts on.
- Groin/ gusset panel made from stretch fabric, plus side split for flexibility and comfort.
- Reinforced stitching in critical areas so these shorts won’t split or come apart.
- Redesigned Velcro close will not tangle the drawstring.
- No elasticity in the waist, order your true size based on your waist measurement.
TapouT 4 Way Stretch Performance Fight Shorts
Review: These TapouT shorts are plenty long and roomy, with a 21” outseam and an internal drawstring to keep them up.
They feature a bold yellow TapouT logo down the leg and they are made of high tech fabric meant to wick away sweat and prevent odor.
- 21” outseam.
- Internal drawstring.
- High side slit for good mobility.
- Rubber logo sticks out a bit.
Don’t go any longer wearing regular shorts for your MMA practice.
Pick up a pair of the best MMA shorts from this list and experience the difference in comfort and security.