What Are the Different Types of MMA Shorts? (Differences)

Step into the world of MMA shorts and discover the diverse options available to athletes in this combat sport.

From the classic board shorts, offering traditional style and functionality, to the snug and supportive vale tudo shorts, designed for enhanced performance, and the stylish gladiator shorts with increased airflow.

In this article, we will delve into the unique features of each type, helping you make an informed choice that aligns with your individual preferences and requirements.

Get ready to elevate your MMA game with the perfect pair of shorts.

Key Takeaways

  • Board shorts are the longest type of MMA shorts and are now more fitted and suitable for MMA.
  • Vale Tudo shorts are compression shorts that tightly hug the skin, providing protection, muscle warmth, and reduced fatigue.
  • Gladiator shorts are similar to board shorts but with larger leg splits, offering freedom of movement and increased airflow.
  • The best type of MMA shorts depends on personal preference and specific needs, and factors to consider include length, fit, comfort, functionality, and style.

Board Shorts

Board shorts are a popular choice among MMA fighters for their traditional style and practical benefits. These shorts have evolved over the years, with UFC fighters previously sporting large board shorts before the UFC-Reebok deal in 2015. However, MMA board shorts have since become more fitted and suitable for the demands of the sport.

They are the longest type of MMA shorts, finishing above the knee. Made from a polyester and elastane mix, board shorts offer several advantages. They provide a traditional aesthetic appeal, while also hiding leg damage during fights. Additionally, the breathable fabric ensures comfort and compatibility with compression shorts.

However, it's important to note that board shorts may not be suitable for everyone's style and fit preferences. Nonetheless, their benefits make them a popular choice among many MMA fighters.

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Vale Tudo Shorts

Vale Tudo shorts, on the other hand, offer a different style and set of advantages in the world of MMA apparel. These compression shorts are thicker and tightly hug the skin, providing a range of benefits for fighters. Made with a higher percentage of elastane, vale tudo shorts offer stretchiness and durability. They come in different lengths and have a cup pocket for convenience. The benefits of vale tudo shorts include protection, muscle warmth, reduced fatigue, improved proprioception, and being difficult to grab. However, there are drawbacks to consider as well, such as tightness, potential for showing damage, and aesthetic concerns. Let's compare vale tudo shorts with other types of MMA shorts in the table below:

Types of MMA Shorts Pros Cons
Factor Key Features
Length Board shorts: above the knee, Gladiator shorts: mid-thigh length
Fit Fitted for improved mobility and reduced interference
Comfort Breathable fabrics, moisture-wicking technology
Functionality Cup pocket for convenience, compatibility with compression shorts
Style Traditional board shorts or shorter, stylish gladiator shorts


In summary, when considering the different types of MMA shorts, it is important for fighters to carefully evaluate their personal preferences and specific needs in order to choose the shorts that best accommodate their requirements. Factors to consider when choosing MMA shorts include length, fit, comfort, functionality, and style.

Each type of MMA short offers unique benefits and drawbacks:

  1. Board Shorts:
  • Pros: Traditional style, hides leg damage, aesthetically appealing, breathable, compatible with compression shorts.
  • Cons: May restrict movement for some fighters.
  1. Vale Tudo Shorts (Compression Shorts):
  • Pros: Offers protection, muscle warmth, reduced fatigue, improved proprioception, difficult to grab, and convenience of a cup pocket.
  • Cons: Can be tight, may show damage, and aesthetic concerns.
  1. Gladiator Shorts:
  • Pros: Provides freedom of movement, increased airflow, and added style.
  • Cons: May not offer as much coverage as board shorts.
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Ultimately, the best MMA shorts are the ones that allow fighters to perform at their best while meeting their individual requirements. By carefully considering the pros and cons of each type and evaluating personal needs, fighters can make an informed decision on the most suitable MMA shorts for their training and fights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Specific Rules or Regulations Regarding the Design or Length of MMA Shorts?

Rules and regulations regarding the design and length of MMA shorts vary depending on the organization. Generally, shorts must be non-transparent, free of any metal or hard plastic, and should not have any sharp edges that may cause injury to the opponent.

Can MMA Fighters Wear Any Type of Shorts They Prefer, or Are There Restrictions on the Style or Fabric?

MMA fighters have the freedom to choose the style and fabric of their shorts, but there are certain restrictions. The style should comply with the Official Unified Rules of MMA, while the fabric should be durable and allow for ease of movement.

Are There Any Limitations or Disadvantages to Wearing Skorts in MMA, Compared to Other Types of Shorts?

Skorts in MMA have limitations compared to other types of shorts. They may not provide the same range of motion and airflow as board shorts or gladiator shorts. However, other shorts offer advantages such as increased muscle support, protection, and ease of movement.

Are There Any Specific Techniques or Strategies That Are Better Suited for Certain Types of MMA Shorts?

Different types of MMA shorts offer unique benefits that can enhance specific techniques and strategies. Board shorts provide traditional style and leg protection, while compression shorts offer muscle support and difficult grips. Gladiator shorts provide freedom of movement and added style.

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Are There Any Specific Brands or Manufacturers That Are Known for Producing High-Quality MMA Shorts?

When it comes to high-quality MMA shorts, there are several specific brands and manufacturers worth mentioning. These include Hayabusa, Venum, Revgear, and Bad Boy, all known for their durability, functionality, and stylish designs.


In conclusion, there are several types of MMA shorts available in the market, each with its own unique features and benefits.

Board shorts offer traditional style, leg damage concealment, breathability, and compatibility with compression shorts.

Vale Tudo shorts provide muscle warmth, reduced fatigue, and improved proprioception.

Gladiator shorts offer larger leg splits and increased airflow for added style.

When choosing MMA shorts, it is important to consider individual preferences for length, fit, comfort, functionality, and style.

Ultimately, the right choice of shorts can enhance performance and meet specific requirements in the world of MMA.

Mike Williams
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