Best MMA Cups (2022): Protect Your Nuts

May 13, 2022

MMA is an inherently dangerous sport, but training doesn't have to be. Thankfully, many pieces of equipment guard you against nasty injuries. One of these crucial things is the groin protector. The male genitalia, in particular, is highly vulnerable, and the groin guard can defend it against most incidental strikes and fight-related incidents.

But the abundance of choices on the market may leave you confused if this is your first time buying an MMA cup. This guide should help you understand what you need to know about groin cups and which models are worth your hard-earned money.

The winner of the best MMA cup is the Diamond MMA Athletic Cup. It is both a compression short cup and a jockstrap, making it the best of the bunch. If you scan through a few reviews, you will notice that the Diamond Cup is the consensus winner everywhere, for a good reason.

Diamond boasts that they use military-grade spandex (a strange term, but we won't argue with them) and premium spandex. What makes this model special is the unique system they call the Compression jock.

This is a 4 strap lock system integrated into the compression shorts that prevents both lateral and vertical movement of the cup, making it perfect for both striking and grappling. Another key feature is the drawstring on the shorts that provides a custom fit.

The cup itself is also top-notch and is made from unique materials that provide excellent protection and comfort on the sides due to the special elastic material on the edges.

Users generally report that the marketing materials ring true. The Diamond MMA cup has zero shifting, the main problem with all groin cups. The only drawback is the steep price, but you get what you pay for in this case. It is the top MMA cup on the market.

Pros

  • High quality materials
  • Amazing comfort and fit
  • Prevents lateral and vertical movement
  • a wide range of sizes

Cons

  • On the expensive side

Diamond MMA Athletic Cup

Shock Doctor is famous in the MMA world mainly for its great mouth guards, but they make other excellent protective gear. Their jockstrap cup makes it our top choice for this well tried and tested system.

The Shock Doctor Ultra Pro jockstrap is made from a breathable stretch mesh that offers excellent comfort and does not restrict movement. What makes it better than the rest, though, is the protective cup itself. Made in 3 layers, it transfers the blow from the vulnerable areas and is very comfortable on the sides.

Shock Doctor provides a detailed size chart. Still, some users complain that it's too narrow for a gentleman's attributes, so read the chart carefully. If you pick the right size, this cup will do its job perfectly and allow you to perform without any hindrance.

Pros

  • Breathable, anti-odor stretch mesh
  • Very comfortable micro-knit waistband
  • Multi-layered cup

Cons

  • Tends to be too narrow for some gentlemen

Shock Doctor Ultra Pro Supporter Jockstrap w/ Ultra Cup

Best MMA Cup For Females

lobloo Aeroslim Female cup

Despite having a lower risk of groin injury than men, women are not immune to them. The female groin protector is similar to the standard cup but naturally has a slightly different design and is called a pelvic protector.

There are far fewer options on the market for women. Still, the lobloo Aeroslim model should satisfy even the most demanding female fighters. The design was made with mobility in mind, but it still protects vulnerable areas.

The only problem with the design is that it's supposed to be a one-size-fits-all, but it turns out that it does not fit all, and smaller ladies may have problems. But the unique strapping system should provide enough options to strap it comfortably.

Pros

  • Slim profile for unrestricted movement
  • Great strapping system
  • Designed by female athletes

Cons

  • One size fits all

lobloo Aeroslim Female cup

Best Budget MMA Cup

Venum Challenger Groin Guard

An MMA gear review article cannot go without Venum. To be honest, there is not much to differentiate between the Venum Challenger model and the Shock Doctor jockstrap. Still, the Venum is cheaper, so it goes in the budget category.

Venum is a big name brand in the MMA world, so it's specialized in answering the needs of combat athletes. Their standard model offers everything a cup should- protection, comfort, support, and a good fit for a very reasonable price. This model also has a well-thought-out ventilation system that will keep the "crown jewels" well ventilated.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • MMA specific brand
  • Great protection

Cons

  • It's a bit too basic. Other competitors are more innovative

Venum Challenger Groin Guard

Best Cup For MMA Grappler

Shock Doctor Compression Short

First, we need to point out that cups are not used in pure grappling training. When rolling, it's nearly impossible to keep the cup in place, and it gets in the way more than it helps. Then it assists the opponent as it gives extra leverage for armbars and other submissions. 

And on top of that, while there is still the danger of an accidental elbow to the nuts, the threat of a serious injury is a lot less than it is in striking.

But when grappling is done in MMA, it's best to have a cup on. One of the best solutions is the Shock Doctor compression shorts with a cup. The cup has the same benefits and design as their jockstrap model, but this time it's used in compression shorts, which is the better solution for MMA grappling.

Pros

  • High quality shorts
  • Great bio flex cup
  • Good choice in sizes

Cons

  • Smaller sizes of shorts come with a large cup

Venum Challenger Shin Guards

Best Cup For MMA Striker

lobloo Thai Cup 2.0

Aside from having a clever name, lobloo has also developed an innovative design for their groin cup. Thai-style cups use loose straps that hold the cup tight, but only if you tie them up correctly.

The lobloo Thai cup also ditches the full jockstrap and uses a couple of adjustable strings and a thin band. The result of this is unrivaled mobility and freedom of movement. The minimalist design is excellent for strikers, especially kick-heavy stylists, who need the most agility.

Another change from the classic Thai design is the material. Instead of steel, the Thai Cup 2.0 uses modern, flexible material that still offers excellent protection, but it's more flexible and breathable. With this, you will stay light, fresh, and clean.

Pros

  • Minimalist design
  • No restriction to movement
  • Unique fitting system
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • One size fits all may not fit all

lobloo Thai Cup 2.0

How To Choose The Best MMA Cup For You

Like with every other type of gear, different people have different preferences and needs, so there is no single model of anything that will work perfectly for everyone. Read along to understand what you need to consider before pulling the trigger on buying an MMA cup.

Size & Fit

The most important thing is the fit. Choosing the wrong size and wearing a cup that does not fit correctly can increase the chance of injury. Not decrease it, and it's better to go unprotected than wearing the wrong groin protector. A perfectly fitted cup does not limit movement and stays in place without correction.

The best option is always to try the groin protector and pick the correct size. But shopping online takes that option away. Still, every respectable manufacturer has a size chart with different measures.

Read it carefully and pick the correct size. On top of that, all the recommendations above have many reviews and customer opinions, so it's a good idea to take the time to read a few customer reviews that may further help.

Protection

Of course, the main goal of a groin protector is to protect the groin. As a result, this should be your priority in terms of selection. Generally, every model we've recommended will do a good job. Otherwise, it wouldn't be here. The differences are usually the other aspects, like type, material, and price.

Type

best mma groin guard

Jockstrap

The classic type of groin protection is the jockstrap. It consists of a waistband with a strap that holds the protective cup in place. Jockstraps are generally cheaper and more accessible. Many fighters for everyday training prefer them because they are easy to put on and off when needed.

Compression Shorts With A Cup

Compression shorts have become the preferred underwear for athletes across all fields. But MMA guys adopted them as fight apparel (well, it's called a rash guard, but they still look like underwear). Many compression shorts have a pocket for a protective cup. This way, the cup is more secure, which is the main problem with the jockstrap. Compression shorts with cups are more comfortable and secure but naturally cost more.

Thai Style and Boxing Style Cups

There are other types of groin protectors, but they are very seldom used in MMA. Thai-style cups are made of steel with a soft cover. The problem is that they come with loose straps that you must tie every time, which causes stability problems and a long time to put them on.

Boxing-style groin protectors feature a complete harness with gel protection for the whole area up to the belly. But this limits mobility for kicks and gets in the way when grappling, so they have no place in MMA.

Price

In this case, the best MMA cup is also the most expensive. If you have the budget, it's definitely the best choice. But cheaper models also offer very adequate protection and comfort. For many people, the high price tag is not worth it.

Of course, our list is not exhaustive, and there are other suitable MMA cups on the market. Just don't make the mistake of buying the cheapest one.

Frequently Asked MMA Cup Questions

best cup protector

Should I Use A Cup For MMA?

Every sparring or rolling session carries a significant risk of getting hit in the balls. It may not happen for a long time, but when the inevitable comes, you will curse the decision not to use the protective cup. So, wearing a cup each time you spar or roll is a good habit to develop.

Can I Use MMA Cups For Muay Thai & BJJ?

Yes, you can, and you should. Both jockstraps and compression short cups are widely used in many sports outside of the combat disciplines, like hockey, baseball, basketball, and many others. So an MMA cup will do a perfect job for Muay Thai, BJJ, and every other sport that involves danger to your groin.

How To Clean An MMA cup

Every modern MMA cup is made to be machine washable. I advise you to take advantage of this feature often, just like with every other piece of training gear and clothing.

Summary

Wearing a protective groin cup is a must to protect your valuables when there are some strikes involved. Aside from the price tag, the Diamond MMA cup with compression shorts is the hands-down best model that makes no compromises with quality, comfort, and protection. But each model on the list is well worth your money, so figure out your personal preferences and choose the right MMA cup for you.

Diamond MMA Athletic Cup

About the author 

Plamen Kostov

Plamen has been training for the last 14 years in karate and kickboxing, before settling in for MMA for the last 5 years. He has a few amateur kickboxing fights and currently trains with and helps a stable of professional and amateur MMA fighters.


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