Little boys learn from a young age that protecting the “family jewels” is one of the most important things in sports. When it comes to MMA, where opponents are trying to inflict as much damage as possible, it’s even more important. Cups designed for MMA consider the different types of movement and flexibility necessary to stay safe inside the cage.
As a purple belt in BJJ who also trains MMA and Muay Thai, I have firsthand experience in the differences between poorly made and premium cups. When it comes to MMA safety, you don’t want to make the mistake of underestimating the importance of a high-quality cup.
In this article, I go over my top 5 choices for best MMA cups. Whether you’re on a tight budget or looking for a top-of-the-line product, this list will help you find the right MMA cup for you.
|Best For||Best Overall||Best Price Value||Best Steel||Best Minimalist||Best For Female|
|Product Name||Diamond MMA Athletic Cup||Venum Challenger Groinguard & Support||Fairtex GC2 Steel Cup||Lobloo Athletic MMA Cup||Lobloo Aeroslim Female Athletic Cup|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
Who Should Get a MMA Cup?
Injury is the most common reason for someone not being able to train. While training MMA and other combat sports, it’s necessary to take measures to prevent injuries that will hold you back from progressing. When it comes to human anatomy, no part of the body is more vulnerable than the groin.
Strikes to the groin are illegal in all combat sports, including MMA, but everyone who’s spent more than a day in the gym understands that accidents happen. In the chaos of training, accidental punches, kicks, knees, or even elbows to the groin are inevitable. For this reason, a high-quality cup is absolutely necessary.
Everyone who trains MMA needs to use a cup, without exception. The risk of injury to the most sensitive part of the body is too great to ignore. A particularly bad groin strike can not only hold you back from training further, but in severe cases can require surgery. If you practice MMA, you need to use a cup.
Aside from budget considerations, there are a few important factors when deciding which MMA cup is right for you. There are many different styles to choose from, including cups that fit in compression shorts, cups made for jock straps, or cups that fit on their own. Ideally, you’ll want a cup that is comfortable and provides a full range of motion, without sacrificing any protection. Remember, protecting yourself from injury is the most important thing!
5 Best MMA Cup Reviews
1. Diamond MMA Athletic Cup – Best Overall
- Compression shorts system holds cup in place
- Polycarbonate Core
- Military grade elastics and spandex
|Sizes (Waist)||Small 28″ – 32″ (71-81cm)||Medium 32″ – 34″ (71-86cm)||Large 34″ – 36″ (86-91cm)||X Large 36″ – 40″ (91-101cm)||XX Large 40″ – 44″ (101-112cm)|
|Dimensions||11 x 7.2 x 0.8 inches||1.75 Pounds|
The Diamond MMA Cup is a top choice for any MMA fighter or hobbyist who is looking for a high-quality product. It’s the most consistently chosen product for best MMA cup by MMA fighters. If you’re looking for a cup that uses compression shorts to hold it in place, the Diamond MMA Cup is what you’re looking for.
Designed with the fighter in mind, the cup is formed to feel as if it isn’t even there. It’s patented mold is used within compression shorts and fits in a way that doesn’t limit movement, something that’s of paramount importance for a fighter.
The Diamond MMA Cup boasts an impressive record in the industry, being designed by engineers from Stanford University. In fact, it was rated as the best groin protector by a team of urologists. The polycarbonate material is the same used in bulletproof glass, being rigid against force but flexible enough for comfort.
2. Venum Challenger Groinguard & Support – Best Price Value MMA Cup
- Recognizable name brand
- Very affordable
- Double-layer shock absorbers
|Sizes (Waist)||Medium||Large||X Large|
|Dimensions||12.44 x 6.61 x 2.99 inches||8.82 Ounces|
The Venum Challenger Groinguard & Support is an ideal choice for anyone who prefers an MMA cup that uses a jock strap or for anyone on a tight budget.
Fans of the UFC will instantly recognize the brand name for this MMA cup. Not only has Venum been providing MMA products to the market since 2005, but they are also currently the official apparel provider for the UFC.
Since Venum creates products specifically for the combat sports community, you can rest assured that this cup provides the perfect balance between protection and mobility. It features a rubber gel shield that distributes the force of impact evenly, ensuring that you’ll be able to stay in the fight even after an illegal groin strike. Another nice feature is its utilization of Dry-Tech fabrics and ventilation, wicking away sweat so you can stay cool under pressure.
3. Fairtex GC2 Steel Cup – Best Steel MMA Cup
- Made in Thailand
- Aluminum Alloy
- Handmade leather cover
- Three lace straps
|Sizes (Cup)||Medium||Large||X Large|
|Dimensions||7.6 x 4.96 x 3.03 inches||7.41 Ounces|
The Fairtex GC2 Steel Cup is an ideal choice for any MMA practitioner who wants to use a traditional Muay Thai style cup made of steel.
Steel cups are standard in the world of Muay Thai and have become increasingly popular in MMA. The reason why is clear: if you want to make sure your opponent doesn’t kick you in the balls, wear a cup that will break their foot!
The Fairtex GC2 Steel Cup is manufactured in Thailand and optimized for combat. While not as comfortable as cups that use jockstraps or compression shorts, users state that it gets more comfortable over time. This steel cup is hand made with a leather covering over an aluminum alloy. Rest assured, if someone kicks you while wearing this, they might end up hurt more than you!
4. Lobloo Athletic MMA Cup – Best Minimalist MMA Cup
- Easy to clean
- Light feel
- Well ventilated
- Unique fitting system
|Sizes||Adjustable Waistband||One size fits most|
|Dimensions||7.01 x 1.38 x 2.91 inches||5.28 Ounces|
Who doesn’t love a bit of clever wordplay? The lobloo cup is named after the infamous “low blow” in combat sports and offers some unique features compared to the other cups on this list. This is an ideal MMA cup for combat athletes who want to feel like they’re not wearing a cup at all.
The first thing you might notice about this cup is how bare bones it is. It comes with a waistband, the cup, and 2 thin Thai-style bands. That’s it; no need for compression shorts or a jock strap! This cup was designed by combat sports athletes and offers some of the best ventilation and mobility on the market.
5. Lobloo Aeroslim Female Athletic Cup – Best Female MMA Cup
- Designed exclusively for female fighters
- Slim profile for unhindered movement
- Designed by women athletes
|Sizes||Adjustable Waistband||One size fits most|
|Dimensions||6.5 x 2.76 x 5.12 inches||4 Ounces|
For women fighters, the choice is clear. The lobloo Aeroslim Female Athletic cup is one of the few products designed specifically for use by female combat athletes.
Badass female fighters like Amanda Nunes and Valentina Schevchenko have shown the world that when it comes to fighting, girls can do it too. While wearing a cup seems like something that only male fighters would need to worry about, the fact of the matter is that female fighters need groin protection, too.
That’s why lobloo designed their Aeroslim Pelvic Cup for women MMA fighters, one of the first of its kind. Like their thai-style cup, this lobloo product was designed by fighters with mobility in mind. If you’re a female fighter who wants groin protection without sacrificing mobility, this is the ideal product for you.
What to Consider When Buying an MMA Cup
There are three main factors to consider when choosing an MMA cup: protection, mobility, and comfort.
The main and most important purpose of an MMA cup is protecting its user against injury. A well designed MMA cup will decrease the impact of a groin strike while preventing serious injury to the most sensitive areas of the body. When choosing an MMA cup, you should prioritize how well the product protects the wearer above everything else.
Range of motion is incredibly important for MMA practitioners. When choosing an MMA cup, you want to find a product that doesn’t feel like it limits your movement. A product that hinders movement will have a negative impact on performance. A well designed MMA cup will be easy to move around in without sacrificing any protection for its user.
The last thing to consider when buying an MMA cup is comfort. MMA training sessions can last many hours, so you’ll want to choose a product that is comfortable. An uncomfortable MMA cup will have to be adjusted many times during training and may make you less likely to use it. A well designed MMA cup should feel like it isn’t even there after a while.
Another factor for comfort is hygiene. A cup should be easy to clean and well ventilated. A poorly designed product (or one that isn’t well maintained) can lead to residue that can cause fungal or bacterial infections.
MMA Cup FAQs
How do you wear an MMA cup?
One of the most important aspects of choosing an MMA cup is finding one that fits properly. There are several ways to wear an MMA cup.
The two most common ways to wear an MMA Cup are within compression shorts or inside of a jock strap. Boxing-style groin protectors use a belt with gel inserts, but these are not recommended for MMA unless they come with an extra pocket where a traditional cup can be inserted.
Compression shorts are typically made with a material similar to a rash guard and come with moisture wicking, a nice feature for when you’re dripping with sweat during sparring sessions. They are also better at keeping the cup in place, though some feel this limits mobility. If you feel restricted inside a compression shorts system, a jock strap might be a better option for you.
A third kind of fitting system for MMA cups are the Thai-style straps. These cups typically don’t come with shorts or a jock strap and need to be tied into place by the fighter. This comes with the benefit of increased range of motion, but also with the risk of slipping out of place more easily. If using a cup with Thai-style straps, it’s extremely important to use the right method for tying them together. You can watch this video to learn the proper technique for securing a Thai-style MMA cup.
Which fitting system is best for an MMA cup?
Ultimately, it comes down to preference. Many people prefer compression shorts because they like the moisture-wicking qualities of the fabric and feel that they hold the cup in place better than a jockstrap or Thai-style straps.
Others prefer jockstraps or Thai-style straps because they come with less material and offer more range of motion. People with sensitive skin may find the material of compression shorts uncomfortable.
I personally prefer compression shorts because the pocket holds the cup and place perfectly and the moisture-wicking is essential for intense training sessions.
How do you clean an MMA cup?
Many cups on the market are machine washable. If it comes with a jockstrap or compression shorts, it’s best to machine wash on gentle settings with cold water. You can then hang them to dry.
For cups that aren’t machine washable, you can hand wash with soap and water. An alternative for plastic cups is to wipe them down with disinfecting wipes or isopropyl alcohol.
Can I use these MMA cups for other combat sports？
It’s called “mixed” martial arts for a reason! The great thing about these products is that they will work for MMA and any other combat sport. So whether you’re training strictly in an MMA gym or bouncing between BJJ and Muay Thai lessons like I do, these cups will work for you.
Choosing the right MMA cup is an important decision that everyone who trains will have to make. Finding the right sized cup with the fitting system that you like best can be the difference between being happy and healthy or writhing on the ground in pain. Comfort is important, but you want to prioritize your safety above all else!
Our winner for the best MMA cup is the Diamond MMA Cup. It is the most popular brand amongst MMA fighters and provides superb protection, comfort, and range of motion. In fact, it is the MMA cup of choice for UFC commentator and podcaster Joe Rogan.
Here’s a video of Joe Rogan explaining why he thinks the Diamond MMA Cup is the best MMA cup on the market today.
Whichever product you end up choosing, make sure that you select the right size for you. An improperly sized cup can lead to discomfort as well as injury. Another important thing to keep in mind is hygiene, as MMA cups can get gross very quickly if not properly maintained. Be sure to wash your cup after every training session!
Finding a cup that is comfortable, fits well, and offers great protection is essential. The cups on this list are all great options for anybody in the market for a high-quality product!