Since the use of 4oz gloves became mandatory in UFC 14 there has been an explosion of manufacturers producing MMA gloves or grappling gloves as they are often referred to. So how do you sort the wheat from the chaff? We’ll attempt to do this for you here with this Review section which will follow this format each month giving you the low down on the best products on the market today!
MMA Competition Gloves; a Buyers Guide.
Most MMA competitions now insist on the use of 4oz MMA Gloves
although a small amount will use what is referred to as a MMA “Sparring” glove which in effect is a boxing/MMA glove hybrid. The main purpose of the glove is simply to protect the user from breaking his knuckles or other parts of the hand on the opponents head or elbows in the case of body shots and a secondary role is to help support the wrist on impact which is done to varying degrees with these gloves. In competition most fighters use surgical wraps too for additional wrist and hand support. One important thing to note here is that these gloves are not designed for hitting bags with and if this is your main use for them then consider buying a set of built for purpose bag gloves which are liable to be cheaper and afford you much better protection.
Things to look out for in a glove.
There is a flood of poor quality gloves on the market, many of which verge on dangerous to both the user and anyone they are training with. First thing to look out for which is probably a dead giveaway without any need for expert knowledge is the price. I know this sounds obvious but the average price of a pair of MMA gloves is between £40 & £50. Anything much below this level (unless part of a sale or other promotion) is not likely to be of high quality. That is not to say you couldn’t find a good pair of gloves for this price but if you want a simple guage to help you then this would be it.
Materials used will be your next stop. Don’t accept less than 100% leather in the main parts of the glove. As these gloves are so small there is no win at all in using imitation leather or other materials so look for quality materials on the glove.
Many poorly constructed gloves have essentially sharp edges due to poor cuts, bad materials and/or bad design. The accepted standard is to have a single cut across after the knuckle area with good gloves making sure this is well encased often with “Cuffed fingers”, other areas that can leave sharp edges are if there is too much Velcro exposed on the wrist wrap and sometimes on the thumb areas too. Some manufacturers have started using neoprene on parts of the glove to soften the hand enclosure. I think there are pros and cons on this but it does often take away this problem. Look out for rising areas around the stitching too.
the amount of actual padding can vary quite wildly on these gloves. The UFC insist on 1 inch of padding over the knuckle area and this should the standard. Padding over the backs of the hands is irrelevant! Remember the main point of these gloves is to protect your hands.
MMA gloves have got much better for this over the last few years and for me the main question is whether you intend to use an inner glove or wraps with your glove.
“I’m buying online, how can I tell all this?”
Well the price guage should help to some degree, read some expert reviews (like this one) and look for websites with close up images or a zoom facility of the gloves you are buying , sounds obvious but read the description carefully too. If need be email them a question before you buy! The best advice will often be from your own MMA clubs instructor who will more than likely have quite some experience of which gloves are good and which are not.
A none comprehensive list of Gloves worth a look:
Outside of the reviews that follow here is a short list of brands who consistently produce good MMA gloves, this is by no means comprehensive but should give you a good start.
Revgear, Fairtex, Kenka,