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MMA sparring gloves: Old versus New

When you're first stepping into an MMA gym, your thoughts are on a hundred more factors than what gloves to wear. However, as the weeks go by and you've borrowed your gyms own equipment session after session, you'll find yourself wanting your own gear. But what are the best MMA gloves to buy? Like boxing gloves, MMA gloves are sized by their weight. Unlike boxing gloves, however, MMA gloves typically only come in two sizes - 4oz and 6-7oz. Revgear Professional 4oz gloves4oz gloves are for professional fighters, as they are competition standard and are the gloves you see the fighters in organisations like the UFC, Bellator, WSOF and BAMMA wear on their hands. These are thinly padded pieces of equipment that are more to protect a fighters hands than their opponents face. Fingerless, these gloves try to give you as much freedom as possible to grapple and strike. They're a fairly standard design that is used the world over and, brand/colours aside, are worn by all professionals. But they are pretty much guaranteed to assist a fighter in causing damage, through their lack of padding and propensity to cause cuts. This opens up the question, what does a fighter train in when they're not fighting? Boxing gloves are too bulky and you can't grapple in them at all, unless you enjoy the feeling of snatching a single leg and not being able to properly hold onto it, or trying to armbar someone that you can't get a grip on.

6-7oz gloves solve this problem. Commonly referred to as MMA sparring gloves, these are similar in design to a 4oz glove in that they are fingerless, but tend to have a thumb loop enclosure. Unlike the smaller, professional versions, these sparring gloves typically come with more padding that makes them suitable for sparring. Up until recently, this meant that the gloves were overly padded with a large 'bulbous' pad area. However, as MMA has risen in popularity and prominence, new technology has emerged. A new 'style' of 6oz glove has entered the market. But which one is better? Old vs new?

Fairtex 7oz sparring

This Fairtex glove is the 'old' style of MMA sparring glove. The dome structure helps add a great deal of padding that makes sparring a far less daunting experience. The padded thumb area adds further protection and differs from the professional style glove, which generally has no thumb enclosure.

This style of glove is perfect for heavier MMA sparring as they allow you to throw shots you'd never risk with smaller gloves on. They are the generally accepted standard of glove for most MMA gyms to spar with.

RG Deluxe pro 7oz

The 'new' style of 6-7oz glove are more suited to amateur competition. Designed specifically to reduce the 'bulbous' pad across the knuckle yet retain the same weight, these style gloves pull the padding back and evenly distribute it over the hand. This sacrifices padding on the knuckles in exchange for a more realistic glove that makes the transition to professional 4oz ones far less jarring.

These 'New' MMA sparring gloves could be used in sparring, but would require less force if you're going live with your training partners. Their main use and reason for their soaring popularity are in Unified Amateur rules (UAR) competitions. These bouts demand a 6-7oz glove but fighters tend to want the best option available to hurt their opponent. The bulbous pad is far more padded than the 'new' style of sparring glove. If you're going to be fighting amateur, you need to get yourself a pair of this style MMA sparring glove.

Written by Craig Thomas Boyle

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