There are a lot of brands of MMA gear out there and it can be confusing even for seasoned competitors, let alone absolute beginners. If you’re looking to start training, or just to upgrade your gear, we’ve put together this list of the best brands to look for when you’re buying MMA gear. Here’s the criteria for making this list…
To appear here, the brand MUST..
- Be readily available and easy to order.
- Be recognized by fighters and coaches alike.
- Have a reputation of quality.
With that out of the way, here’s the bare minimum of what we recommend in terms of gear for people who want to train MMA. Don’t show up to practice without…
- MMA/Grappling Shorts & Rash Guards
- MMA Gloves & Boxing Gloves
- A Mouthpiece
- A Head Guard
- Knee Pads
- Shin Guards
- Groin Protector
- Any other gear you won’t leave home without? Leave a comment and let us know.
“I have broken people mentally, even before sparring them, by them knowing how well prepared I am by them seeing my gear bag.” – Matt Dempsey, MMA Fighter
1. Bad Boy
Sponsored fighters: Chris Weidman, Alexander Gustafsson, Demian Maia
Known for: Apparel and performance equipment.
A lot of the brands on this list either make mma gear or mma clothing (one or the other) but Bad Boy, out of America, is known for making both. This alternative lifestyle brand started off humbly in the 80s with apparel for motorcross riders, skaters and sufters in California. About a decade later, they started sponsoring Rickson Gracie and got a lot of attention in the Jiu-Jitsu community. As Vale Tudo took off in Brazil in the 90s and many fighters were feeling hindered by the Gi, Bad Boy introduced their first mma shorts which have gone on to be worm by countless legendary fighters, and Bad Boy hasn’t changed a thing. Why fuss around when you’ve got it right? They also make a huge assortment of equipment for training, sparring and for fighting.
There’s no guarantee that rocking Bad Boy gear is going to give you what it takes to beat the greatest MMA fighter ever two times in a row, or to take Jon Jones through 5 brutal rounds, but it probably couldn’t hurt either.
Sponsored fighters: Chael Sonnen, Roy Nelson, Rory Macdonald
Known for: Damn-near just about every type of training & mma gear.
Hayabusa makes great quality gear, equipment and clothing. With a product lineup featuring everything from footgrips to heavy bags, you can even buy a box of Jiu Jitsu black belts to hand out haphazardly like the Nogueira brothers. Not to be confused with the spacecraft or motorcycle of the same name, Hayabusa takes pride in a rich and evolving tradition, much like that of martial arts.
Sponsored fighters: Tim Kennedy, Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira
Known for: Pro-quality fight gear and everything you need for MMA training.
Revgear has been around for nearly 20 years and they make training equipment, gloves, wraps, shorts, protective gear and more. Revgear even makes stuff for gym owners like cages, mats, tools for the gym and more. Anything just getting started will want to check out Revgear’s stand up bundle, it’s a great way to have your own quality gear without breaking the bank.
Sponsored fighters: Jose Aldo, Carlos Condit, Wanderlei Silva, Lyoto Machida, Shogun
Known for: Initially shorts, now a wide-range of mma equipment.
The Venum Fight Short Company started off in Brazil just under 10 years ago, but it isn’t until recently that they started t gain more notoriety in the United States. Word of the brand spread thanks to the quality of the products, which is always encouraging. Sponsoring 10 UFC fighters in a single card doesn’t hurt with visibility, either. Venum first infiltrated the grappling community, and then word spread quickly and now they’re one of the top brands for MMA gear. Venum is involved in a nasty court case with Nike, who own the trademark the brand “Venom” so who knows, maybe Venum stuff will be a collector’s item soon… But hopefully they’re able to continue making great gear without having to give up the brand name they’ve worked hard to build over the years.
5. Shock Doctor
Sponsored athletes: A number of pro athletes in the NHL, NFL, MLB…
Known for: Mouth guards and other protective gear.
Some people can pull off the missing tooth look, but if you’re not ODB from the Wu-Tang Clan then chances are you’ll want to protect your pearly whites, and that’s where Shock Doctor comes in. Mouth guards start at about $5 and can be picked up at any sporting goods store, but if you’re going to be training and sparring you need to step it up and get something better. It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of a good mouth guard. Along with keeping your teeth in line, Shock Doctor also makes a lot of other protective gear for MMA and boxing.
Sponsored fighters: Johny Hendricks, Roy Nelson,Donald Cerrone, Robbie Lawler
Known for: MMA Apparel
TapouT is right up there with Affliction in terms of being the most visible clothing brands for mma fans. Tapout also sells some random pieces of gear but it’s not their forte. They’ve quite possibly sponsored more pro fighters than any other brand, and are deeply rooted in mixed martial arts and have had a notable impact on the growth of the sport. If this was my brand I probably would have called it “Don’t TapouT“, but it doesn’t really have the same oomph so it’s a good thing this isn’t my brand.
7. Under Armour
Sponsored fighters: GSP
Known for: Athletic apparel and shoes.
Under Armour not a typical MMA equipment or clothing brand in the sense that they don’t sponsor a lot of fighters or even have a huge presence in the sport, but they made huge waves when they inked a deal with MMA’s top star, Georges St. Pierre. Despite not really having a strong focus on martial arts in particular (or at all, really), they’re still a leader when it comes to compression shirts and shorts and athletic clothing to wear while training.
Sponsored fighters: Frankie Edgar, Alexander Gustafsson, Gabriel Gonzaga, Randy Couture
Known for: Lifestyle apparel, a short-lived MMA promotion that paid fighters 3x+ what the UFC paid.
Affliction is the top brand of mma clothing for fans and fighters alike. You may get some dirty looks from hipsters for wearing mma clothing, but just armbar them and they’ll typically learn to accept your dominance at the top of the food chain. Affliction also makes Xtreme Couture clothing if you’re old school like that. They were banned from sponsoring any fighters when they started up their own MMA promotion years ago, but it didn’t last long and they’re back on Dana’s lap.
Sponsored fighters: Johny Hendricks, Shane Roller
Known for: Huge assortment of pretty decent gear and equipment.
Century is a solid brand if you’re looking for value. Most of their gear isn’t top-level professional-quality stuff, but the price is right and there’s definitely a market for that. Not everyone needs or can afford the very best when they’re just starting out, especially if they’re just into MMA as a hobby without any professional aspirations. The nice thing about Century MMA is that their selection is massive, they have everything you could imagine for training or fighting in an assortment of martial arts. When you get more experience and want to step it up, there’s always room to upgrade but century makes the list because they’re an excellent starting point.
10. Vote Below!
We’re leaving the 10th spot up to you guys, so leave a comment below and let us know which MMA brand is your favorite and should get the wildcard spot. Soon, we’ll tally up the votes and add the winner right here. There’s always someone who gets left out of top 10 lists, so this time we’re leaving it up to you. It’s democracy in action!