Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) and mixed martial arts (MMA) are high-impact sports that regularly pose the threat of serious bodily injury to any combatant.
For guys, injuries in a certain area are a lot more serious than others.
Since nobody can block every strike coming their way, many fighters choose to utilize a protective cup to protect the groin area.
Groin protection comes in a variety of options and requires a basic understanding of the differences to ensure you choose the right one for your safety and health needs.
Eight Best Protective Cups for BJJ and Martial Arts
Designed by Stanford University engineers and award-winning designers, the compression shorts system from Diamond is one of the top choices for groin protection for individuals involved in high-impact sports, including MMA.
With premium spandex and military-grade elastics, this patent-pending system incorporates a four-strap jock structure that expertly controls vertical and lateral cup movement.
In terms of comfort, this athletic cup is comprised of a polycarbonate core according to a co-molded elastomer design. The result is superior comfort with no compromised protection. Additionally, the ergonomic design incorporated into the edge of the cup provides extra protection for sensitive groin nerves and muscles.
The compression shorts from Shock Doctor deliver superior protection with uncompromising comfort.
The four-way stretch material works with the flex pocket to ensure that the included athletic cup remains positioned in the most natural way possible. Additionally, for exceptional comfort, the BioFlex cup’s unique design is comprised of a perimeter pad made of gel. Finally, the cup allows for superior venting.
Because both MMA and BJJ are extremely physical endeavors, sweating is a big part of these sports. As such, you will appreciate the inclusion of the antimicrobial fabric. This specialized fabric expertly wicks away moisture, leaving you dry and comfortable. With no moisture buildup, protection against any unwanted odor is ensured.
Designed to protect as well as effectively transfer shock away from sensitive areas of the body, the Jockstrap Supporter from Shock Doctor provides superior protection, comfort, and support.
The ultra-carbon flex cup is comprised of a multi-layer system designed to protect against impacts by transferring shock away from the groin. To ensure continued comfort, the moisture-wicking material keeps you dry while the anti-odor technology prevents unpleasant smells from developing.
For added comfort, the core supporter is comprised of a breathable, four-way stretch mesh and a micro-knit waistband that, combined, ensure a snug fit without the fear of irritation. In terms of performance, the vented, bio-shape cup is designed to form to your frame to provide you flawless protection without restricting your range of motion.
Designed to provide superior support for any athletic endeavor, the Challenger is a perfect cup for any BJJ or MMA athlete. Hailing from one of the top MMA brands, the Challenger Groin Guard from Venom does not disappoint.
The anatomical design of the included supporter reflects the shape of the body to allow for unrestricted movement. Additionally, the inclusion of a rubber-gel shield in this cup’s design significantly decreases the effects of an impact while simultaneously providing supreme comfort.
Finally, the ventilation technology, known as Dry Tech, provides extra ventilation, which helps wick away sweat. This superior technology also facilitates the rapid evaporation of any lingering moisture, leaving you feeling dry and cool.
Made in the USA, the Boxer Short from McDavid is designed to provide ultimate protection and comfort. The lightweight design of the flex cup incorporates air-flow ports to provide a comfortable fit with unparalleled ventilation.
Additionally, the stretch fabric incorporates a unique technology specifically designed to keep moisture at bay while supporting a full range of motion. Available in a variety of sizes, this cup ensures perfect support for your BJJ or MMA needs.
For protection against unwanted groin shots, the Groin Guard from RDX is a great option.
For any BJJ or MMA athlete looking for superior protection, the steel cup provides a level of protection that cannot be ignored because it also contains resin. The triangular cup is comprised of shatterproof metal that effortlessly disperses as well as absorbs the force delivered by a variety of potentially harmful impacts.
In terms of fit, the Quick-EZ loop and hook-strap system work together to ensure a perfect fit for any body type
Designed specifically for contact sports, Meister’s Carbon Flex Groin Protector Cup is comprised of extremely strong polypropylene, ensuring you are protected from even the most severe impacts. The molded edges are made from thermostatic rubber, which resists shifting or sliding out of place while reducing chafing.
In addition to the flex design that allows for a full range of motion, the ventilation system allows air to flow freely, providing you optimal comfort. This groin protector fits easily into a variety of cup pockets and jockstraps.
Designed and tested by elite athletes across a variety of sports, the Thai Cup from Iobloo will deliver the level of protection required by any BJJ or MMA athlete. The patented fitting system requires you to simply add the straps to enjoy unfailingly superior protection.
Made of steel, this cup is expertly designed to absorb and diffuse the force of an impact. The lightweight design ensures comfort, and the soft edges provide an extra level of comfort and a secure fit. In terms of care, you can simply toss it in the washing machine or rinse it under a faucet.
Finally, because it is CE-certified, this cup is in compliance with the European health, safety, and environmental protection standards.
Do You Need to Wear a Cup in BJJ?
BJJ focuses mainly on body control, locks, throws and chokes. As such, striking an opponent is used less often than in MMA. However, although athletic cups are not allowed during BJJ competitions, many people opt to utilize this extra level of protection during training.
For instance, if you have suffered a trauma to the groin or have been diagnosed with a condition that requires you to be extra careful, using a cup during training is highly recommended.
Even without any previous injuries or conditions, it’s always possible to catch an inadvertent shot to the nether regions in BJJ – particularly when rolling hard. If you are concerned about any injury to this area, wearing a cup while training is perfectly acceptable. However, you should be sure that the cup you choose provides you a tight fit as a cup that shifts can injure you as well.
Do You Need to Wear a Cup in MMA?
MMA competitors train at length to successfully deliver powerful kicks. Therefore, whether in training or in a competitive match, MMA fighters wear a variety of protective gear, such as gloves and mouth guards. However, regardless of whether a hit is illegal, accidents do occur, and, as such, it is imperative that men protect the groin area.
Just about any sanctioned MMA promotion requires fighters to wear a cup when competing. In training, however, it’s often up to your personal choice. Some people choose not to wear a cup when training, especially during light sparring or drilling.
However, consider that accidents happen, and if you don’t want to risk serious injury, you want to use adequate protection. Consider too that you will need to wear a cup when competing, so it’s best to get used to the feel of wearing a cup or jockstrap beforehand.
Different Types of Groin Protection
There a several types of groin protection to choose from. Choosing the right protective gear requires you to carefully consider the difference between each type.
One of the more traditional types of groin protection, a jockstrap is usually comprised of elastic material and includes a drawstring to allow the user to adjust the fit to meet his individual needs. A benefit of wearing a jockstrap is that it provides the wearer greater flexibility. However, wearing a jockstrap can be a rather odd experience. Therefore, it is recommended, especially for those in the MMA arena, that you wear one during training to allow you to get used to how it feels.
Muay Thai-style cups
The cup used by practitioners of Muay Thai is typically a three-string, tie-on cup. The strings allow for finer adjustments, allowing you to get the exact right fit. The cup, itself, is often lined with foam, which helps to absorb hits. This style of cup is typically used by jiu-jitsu and taekwondo enthusiasts as it allows for the easy execution of a variety of techniques common to these martial arts.
Similar in design to actual shorts, compression shorts differ in that they fit snugly to the body and come with a built-in cup to provide protection for the groin. Although they slip on easily and can be quite comfortable, it is possible to choose a pair that is too tight. Therefore, it is important to choose compression shorts that provide an acceptable balance between protection and flexibility in order to keep you safe without hindering your performance.