Most sports can be instantly recognized by the equipment used in them. Similar to other combat sports, MMA allows you to immediately identify two competitors by their MMA gloves, even from a still image. But how much do these gloves weigh?
MMA gloves used in competition weigh 4 ounces, or 110 grams, and can reach up to 6 ounces for larger sizes.
The 4-ounce competition gloves are not the only type of MMA gloves used by fighters. Different training and competition scenarios require slightly different gloves. But how much does each of them weigh? Let’s find out.
How Much Do MMA Gloves Weigh?
All fighting sports gloves are measured in ounces, a metric of weight. The number of ounces refers to the amount of padding in the gloves. Standard competition MMA gloves weigh 4 ounces.
Some models have to be made bigger for larger hands (see Shane Carwin as a prime example of gargantuan hands) and can reach 6 ounces or even more. This does not change the thickness of the padding on the knuckles, just the overall weight of the gloves.
Amateur competition gloves are a bit heavier, with more padding added for better protection, and weigh around 6 or 7 ounces. The extra cushioning is located entirely on the knuckles.
How Much Do Gloves in The UFC Weigh?
The official UFC fight gloves are 4 ounces, but sizes go up to 4XL, in which case the weight increases as well. UFC gloves have been subject to many critiques by fighters due to design flaws, but the straightforward black design with the UFC logo remains a staple in the sport.
Do MMA Gloves Hurt More?
MMA gloves are significantly smaller than boxing gloves and certainly deal more superficial damage. Protective gloves in fight sports shield the hands of the one doing the striking and the receiver of said strikes.
The bigger the gloves, the more powerful a fighter can punch without worrying too much about breaking his hand. If we compare MMA gloves with boxing ones, MMA gloves do hurt more because they have less padding and bruise and cut much more easily.
But the lasting damage from strikes to the head is done to the brain, not the skin, and the smaller gloves do not inflict more of it, even though knockouts are more frequent in MMA. Fighting with bigger boxing gloves with boxing rules means boxers and kickboxers suffer more strikes to the head and more concussions.
With that, potentially more long-term brain damage. In fact, the heavier weight of boxing gloves further amplifies the impact on the brain. So, in general, MMA gloves hurt more but are not more dangerous for the long-term health of a fighter.
Problems With MMA Gloves (The Nasty Eye Pokes)
MMA gloves were designed to facilitate grappling in addition to striking. All fighters must have protection for their hands so they can strike confidently, and they need to sustain fewer cuts that could potentially end a fight anti-climatically.
This is what boxing gloves are for. But at the same time, MMA fighters must also be able to grapple effectively, hence the open-finger design of mixed martial arts gloves. These gloves are not only open-fingered but much less padded all around to allow the hands enough mobility to grapple.
This feature creates a serious problem with MMA gloves, though. Poking and gouging the eyes was forbidden even in the first UFC event, which was an almost no-rules affair.
Still, the open-finger design of gloves makes accidental pokes all too common, unfortunately. Even a mild poke can end the fight. Even if a fighter chooses to continue, the eye poke may play a significant role in his performance.
Fighters and coaches have frequently criticized UFC gloves for being too rigid and straight, making it easier for the hand to be straight rather than curved.
There have been solutions in other organizations like Pride and Rizin FF and notable figures in MMA like Trevor Wittman that offer a more rounded glove design that forces the fingers down and dramatically reduces the chance of accidental eye pokes.
Different Types of MMA Gloves
Professional competition MMA gloves, as I’ve pointed out a few times, are 4 oz in most cases. They have no thumb, and all the padding is located around the knuckles and the top of the hand. Different brands have slightly different approaches and slight differences in design features.
Still, MMA gloves are minimal enough that there is not that much to change. All MMA gloves come only with Velcro straps, unlike competition boxing gloves, which often have laces as a closure method.
Amateur competitors enjoy the luxury of wearing more protection, often including headgear and shin pads. The gloves are more padded as well. Usually weighing around 6 or 7 ounces, amateur gloves can vary in design.
You will often see a bulkier padding form on top that strongly resembles karate gloves. This is not always the case, though; some amateur MMA gloves look like professional ones, with a bit more padding on the knuckles and some padding on the thumb. In these cases, look for the thumb padding to differentiate between pro and amateur MMA gloves.
Sparring MMA gloves have by far the most padding. Padding around the knuckle is often similar to a 12 or 14-ounce boxing glove, with sufficient padding on the thumb.
Many models have the upper part of a boxing glove but an open-finger design and no padding on the sides or palms. Sparring needs to be as safe as possible, so MMA gloves are at least 7 oz for that purpose. The same models are often used for amateur competitions as well.
Grappling MMA gloves provide the least protection because they are not designed for striking. Sparring gloves can become too bulky and restrict hand mobility on the ground, whereas grappling MMA gloves are the polar opposite.
Wearing a pair allows you to roll without striking in an MMA context. Both opponents’ gloves affect many positions and submissions on the mat. Grappling gloves are designed to help wearers address this and become accustomed to grappling with gloves, as they will in MMA competition.
MMA gloves come in a few different shapes, forms, and weights. Professional MMA gloves weigh 4 ounces, while amateurs fight with 6 or 7 ounces. Sparring gloves get bulkier and start at 7 ounces, while grappling MMA gloves are the lightest, but they are not meant for any form of striking.