How To Choose The Best MMA Shorts For Training – A Fighters Guide

How To Choose The Best MMA Shorts

MMA shorts are an essential piece of equipment for any fighter and getting the right pair and best MMA shorts for you is highly important.

When choosing MMA shorts there is more to know than at first seems apparent or obvious.

In this guide we will be covering all that is needed to know to help you in choosing the best shorts for training.

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What Shorts Do I Need For MMA ?

First of all you can’t just turn up at your local MMA gym in any old pair of shorts.


To a newcomer it might not be obvious, but there are a few requirements that need to be met when choosing a pair of MMA shorts.

The first thing to know, as safety is paramount in all contact sports, is that your shorts should preferably have no pockets. The reason for this is as they can be dangerous. Imagine you are grappling in training with your training partner and you get your fingers caught in their pocket, eventually you will get hurt and at worse break a finger or two, or maybe a toe.

The second thing to understand is that there should be no metal or plastic on your shorts. Again this is for obvious safety reasons, metal and plastic can cause some serious gash wounds…lol.

MMA Shorts Key Features

As with all sports equipment there are specific features that are attributed to that equipment and types of MMA shorts are no different. MMA shorts have 3 key features that you may or may not get when you purchase your best MMA shorts. The reason is down to preference, some fighters prefer not to have some of these features.

So What Are These Features ?

Split Seams

best MMA shortsSplit seams are splits in the side of MMA shorts. The reason behind this is that they allow for greater movement in the upper leg. In addition to been less restrictive on leg movements this consequently leads to you been able to launch a kick easier. The overall idea is to ensure maximum flexibility and split seams work very well. Most MMA shorts tend to have split seems and as a starter i would advise that you buy a pair with them.

Flex Panels

In addition to the extra mobility offered by split seams, flex panels also help in a fighters movement and mobility. Flex panels are found in the crotch area of MMA shorts and are made from a material that flexes/stretches. The benefits of these panels similar split seams are also noticed when launching kicks, as the stretching qualities of the material won’t hinder your leg movement.

Grip Panels

Grip panels are rubber panels built into the inner thigh of MMA shorts. The idea behind the design is that they help you to lock onto an opponent with your legs and keep them there. To be honest there isn’t much added benefit from these panels, yes they do work. But if someone is going to get out of your hold on them do you really think the extra bit of grip provided by some rubber is going to stop them ?

How Long Will They Last ?

The durability of MMA shorts all depends on the materials they are made from. The best MMA brands obviously use higher quality materials that allow for better movement and mobility. In addition to been less prone to ripping, the best MMA shorts should last you a while depending on how often you use them.

What Closure Should I Get ?

The closure system that you choose is an important aspect when deciding upon a pair of MMA shorts. There are 3 types of closure, these been drawstring, elastic and velcro. The closure that you choose will depend on your preferences, such as how comfortable or how secure the shorts are when you wear them. Some MMA shorts have a combination of closures, such as the RDX MMA shorts featured in the image above. This pair of shorts has a velcro and a drawstring closure for added security. Nobody wants their shorts coming off when grappling and rolling around on the mats.


The drawstring is pretty much the same on MMA shorts as all other shorts. Built into the waistband their is a piece of string that can be used to tie a knot in, this will help keep your shorts up when training.


The elastic is again built into the shorts in the waist area and in my opinion is not as good as having a drawstring. However if you find a good fitting pair then the elastic waistband will do the job unless someone tries specifically to pull your shorts off.


The velcro closure is found at the front of MMA shorts and is usually an addition to either drawstring or elastic. The velcro helps to keep shorts tight around your waist area tight thus preventing your shorts from coming down.

What Size Should I Get ?

mma fight shorts size chartsThe obvious answer to this question is a pair that fits you. But what is the best fit for MMA shorts ?

First of all its worth mentioning that MMA brands usually measure their shorts using one of two sizing systems. The first is the traditional small, medium and large sizing scale. Second we have many MMA brands releasing their own sizing charts.

How long Should My MMA Fight Shorts Be ?

This is again down to preference, but personally speaking i prefer a pair that are just above the knee. To make sure you choose the right length try as many pairs on as possible, unless you already know your brand and what size you are.

What Brand Should I Choose ?

It may seem like to you that there are hundreds of different brands to choose from and you are probably correct. With MMA becoming increasingly popular there are now many sports brands all vying for a slice of the MMA pie. To stay on the safe side its always best to buy a brand that is known and been around for a while and built themselves a reputation for quality products.

Top 5 MMA Shorts Brand

If you are struggling to decide on what brand to go with then the list below should come in handy. The top 3 brands are all known in the MMA world, have been around for a while and produce quality products.


Hayabusa Tokoshu




How Much Should I Spend On MMA Shorts ?

This is entirely up to you, but to buy a decent pair that isn’t going to rip the first time someone pulls on them will set you back roughly between £30 and £40. Trust me its better to spend £30 on a pair that will last than paying £15 and having to buy another pair every month or less.

What To Look For When Choosing The Best MMA Shorts

If you are still unsure on what to look for when buying a pair of MMA shorts here is a quick rundown.

  • Drawstring
  • Split Seams
  • No Pockets
  • A Good Brand

Following all the above will help you in choosing the best MMA shorts and ensure that you get what it is you are paying for. Here at FITNESS FIGHTERS we don’t advise spending money on low quality fight gear and equipment.

References and further reading:

  1. International Sport Combat Federation – Fighter Clothing & Equipment
  2. Wikipedia – MMA Attire Rules
  3. Century Martial Arts – Specific Short Size

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