As someone who trains, spars, and competes in MMA, I can tell you that I have experienced and witnessed several groin-related accidents first-hand because of poor cup sizing, wearing a low-quality cup, or not having a cup at all. This is why the importance of finding the best MMA cups and the best BJJ cups can not be understated.
Sure, these MMA and BJJ cups may not be the most comfortable to wear at first, but once you get used to having them on, you will not regret it.
Regardless of the form of Martial Arts (Muay Thai, jiu jitsu, MMA, and even boxing), having the best groin protector is a necessity.
In this guide, we talk about important cup facts and cup statistics regarding the best cup for BJJ, the best cup for MMA, the most comfortable cup in the market, how compression shorts and jock strap gear are effective, and our favorite brands and products.
If you are interested to know more about what a cup can do for you in training and competition, then read on!
Why You Need to Wear a Cup for BJJ and MMA
It may be obvious to a lot of people, but groin protection is an important aspect of BJJ and MMA (and even stand-up forms of martial arts such as kickboxing and Muay Thai).
A cup acts as your barrier against strikes below the belt and inadvertent contact or collision toward your groin and testicles.
Although most individuals would still feel the pain of the collision, the cup serves to minimize the severity of injuries incurred as a result of this.
The groin is just a sensitive area of the human body and under no circumstances should it be subjected to intentional strikes or collisions.
Regulated fights and promotions usually require a particular form of groin protection so wearing a cup, jock strap, or compression shorts would be necessary. However, we would still recommend martial arts practitioners who engage in sparring to wear a cup just to reduce the risk of pain and injury.
The Controversy Surrounding Wearing BJJ and MMA Cups
Although most promotions and sanctioned MMA and BJJ events require the use of a cup or groin guard, this was not always the case in martial arts, particularly when it came to grappling, wrestling, and submission maneuvers.
The challenge with a traditional groin cup or groin protector was that, aside from having the necessary groin protection, people with a cup in place also posed a risk of injury to their opponents in the ring or on the mat.
This is because when competitors or MMA practitioners are tangled up in the ground, attempting to assume dominant ground positions or trying to execute a submission such as an armbar or ankle lock, the cup becomes a fulcrum or causes a pressure point on sensitive areas of the body.
Imagine going for an armbar. You get better leverage extending and damaging the arm of an opponent because you have a solid base as a fulcrum. With the cup in place, you can essentially cause more damage quickly to your competition.
Another case would be when you are trying to take the opponent's back or when you are trying to execute a suplex or sweep. With a cup in place, you could easily cause pressure points and pain points on the spine, hips, or midsection of your opponent.
Nowadays, this controversy has been minimized in most forms of martial arts. The kind of groin protection offered in the market are now less dangerous to the opponent. You can now use a groin guard or groin protector solely for protecting your sensitive areas.
In all forms of sparring and competition involving grappling, BJJ, or any variation of MMA, we would recommend you to wear a cup. Trust us when we say that low blows from boxing or inadvertent knees from Muay Thai are never a good experience, so find the best cup or groin protector available!
How to Choose the Right MMA and BJJ Cup
There are several types of gear and apparel that offer groin protection. There are compression shorts, a jock strap, and most importantly, the BJJ or MMA cup. This section specifically talks about the factors you need to consider to get the best cup for BJJ and the best cup for MMA.
Size and Fit
Choosing the best cup for BJJ or the best cup for MMA is like choosing a pair of pants.
If you buy something too big and long, then you would end up with a loose piece of equipment that does not necessarily protect the parts that need protection.
If you buy something too small and short, then you would encounter the same issues you would as above.
In short, you have to choose an MMA cup that fits your groin area the best. There are several sizes and fits offered in the market, so you would not run out of options to choose from.
When it comes to sensitive areas of your body, comfort is the number one priority.
This is why the best-selling undergarments, despite the price, are those that are made of quality, lightweight, and durable materials.
The same logic applies to an MMA cup. Look for a cup that has a comfortable feel and texture.
This would be a matter of preference but generally, an MMA cup with a softer, smoother casing or shell is better than one that has a rough or dense texture.
Material (Plastic vs Metal)
Most modern groin guards are made with hard plastic, fortified steel, or some form of metal alloy.
These are then covered with leather, fabric, plastic, or mesh, to allow for comfort and breathability.
We do not have a combination that we prefer the most as this factor is also highly subjective, so we recommend that you use our top 8 list below as a reference to know what combination of materials you would want out of cups.
Compression Shorts vs Jock Straps
Nowadays, cups are packaged and sold with either compression shorts or jock straps.
This removes the hassle of finding additional groin protection gear that has a similar fit or material to your cup.
In general, fitness enthusiasts prefer compression shorts over jock straps as the former is a full piece of apparel that not only takes care of the groin area but also takes care of the hamstrings and quads.
In certain combat sports training, however, jock straps are a more practical choice.
Consult with your coach or martial arts mentor to identify which kind of additional support is good to pair with your cup. But if we had to choose for BJJ and MMA we recommend going with compression shorts.
If all factors had to be disregarded except for one, it would be the protection level offered by the cups.
At the end of the day, the goal is to provide the maximum amount of groin protection to prevent severe injuries.
When considering protection level, do not just consider the marketing. Take a look at the product reviews and the materials used to get a better understanding of the level of protection a particular cup offers.
The 8 Best BJJ and MMA Cups and Groin Protectors
Today's groin protection products go beyond the usual BJJ and MMA cup.
Brands like Diamond MMA and Title have led this particular industry and pioneered maximum protection, durability, and comfort for the groin area.
Before you shop online or visit your local martial arts retailer, take a look at our collection of the best groin protection gear and apparel available in the market today.
If you are looking for a company that focuses exclusively on delivering the best, high-quality groin protection gear and apparel, then Diamond MMA is your best candidate. The Diamond MMA Cup and Compression Shorts with Built-in Jock Strap is your all-in-one product for the best groin protection.
Considered by many to be the best BJJ cup in the market, only rivaled by the best BJJ cup that Shock Doctor has to offer (check out the next entry), this package deal provides high-end protection without sacrificing the comfort and breathability of the product.
This Diamond MMA cup itself has a patent-pending ergonomic design that protects sensitive groin nerves and muscles. The core of the cup is produced using a rigid but flexible polycarbonate plastic material which is the same type of material used in bulletproof glass panels and windows.
The jock strap is based on yet another patent-pending design, with a 4-strap configuration to allow for a secure fit for all components of the product.
These compression shorts are made with military-grade elastics and premium-quality spandex, so there is no doubt that these compression shorts could withstand even the most flexible and acrobatic lower body maneuvers.
If you are looking for the best BJJ cup in the market that is packaged with high-quality compression shorts and jock strap, then Diamond MMA has precisely what you need.
Shock Doctor is a brand that prioritizes protective gear such as mouth guards and groin guards for a safe and enjoyable combat sports experience for everyone. With the Shock Doctor Double Compression Shorts with BioFlex Cup, you can be confident in those sparring sessions and professional bouts.
Worn by professionals and college athletes all over the world, this product is made of polyester, spandex, and nylon to give a durable yet breathable product.
With its moisture-wicking technology, sweat and germs will be put to a minimum, and the potential for strong odors is definitely reduced.
A lot of positive feedback was provided when it came to the compression shorts, but make sure to double-check the BioFlex Cup that it comes with to ensure the right size and fit.
As a complement to the Shock Doctor product listed above, if you are looking for a cup that is not paired with a jock strap or compression shorts, then the Shock Doctor Titan Alloy Flex Cup is made for you.
This product was built to withstand 90 to 100 miles per hour strikes and collisions before deformation, which indicates a high level of quality and durability.
It is made of stainless steel alloy and thermal plastic urethane which means you are assured of its toughness and relatively lighter weight.
The shields around the edges of the product are installed to transfer and distribute shock away from the area that received the contact or collision.
Range of motion and comfort are not an issue with this product so if you are looking to upgrade your cup, this should be on your shortlist.
If you need a product from a more mainstream sports and lifestyle brand, then the Under Armour Men's HeatGear Compression Shorts with Cup is the best package for you.
Made with 79% polyester and 21% elastane, these compression shorts are made for athletic endeavors that entail a high degree of movement and flexibility.
The elastic closure system is also top-notch. Similar to its other products, the elastic band is very comfortable and form-fitting, regardless of the size of your waist or hips.
The cup is made of hard plastic and sports a glossy finish on its shell, but there is not much to be said of its overall protective qualities when it comes to the more heavy-duty cups provided by the other brands in this list.
If you need a casual set of gear to keep you protected, then this product would be suitable for you.
Venum, one of our favorite Muay Thai-based brands, comes with the Venum Challenger Groin Guard and Support.
It has Venum's patented logo and design, but do not let the simplicity and aesthetic of this product fool you.
This product sports a double-layered shock absorber for maximum protection. The anatomical design of this product also promotes natural mobility and flexibility in the lower body.
The cup is made of a rubber gel base to provide a lightweight and comfortable feel without sacrificing much of the needed protective properties.
This is best cup for those who prefer not to wear compression shorts or already have another type of bottom apparel to use.
Similar to Venum's offering, the RDX groin guard is a very good option if you are looking for a simple yet practical groin guard.
This product is handcrafted and made with ultra-tough Maya Hide leather, ensuring durability and protection for years to come.
The cup itself has been tested to withstand impacts that would normally cause cracks, tears, and shatters, which is a must when competing with the hard-hitters of the sport.
The design is ergonomic as well and is created to be compatible with most jock straps in the market, allowing you to double down on protection in your groin area.
This product overall provides a firm and tight fit, with an adjustable hook and loop strap and elastic bands to make the fit the best it could possibly be.
If you are looking for an external form of protection that is durable and heavy-duty, then the Title Gel Elite Groin Guard and Ab Protector is the best for you.
This kind of gear is commonly seen in training sessions and sparring matches in boxing and for good reason.
The level of protection the synthetic leather material and lightweight inner foams provides is the best in this list. To add to the protective qualities, there are also gel inserts that are meant to absorb impact efficiently and effectively.
This is not the best cup for BJJ or wrestling, however. This does not necessarily fall under the cup category either.
The downside to this product is its limitation in terms of grappling and wrestling. This is primarily meant for stand-up training and is not recommended for ground game workouts.
For the women seeking to provide extra protection to their groin region or pelvic area, the Lobloo Aeroslim Female Athletic Pelvic Cup is perfect for you.
This product is designed, tested, and proven by elite athletes that have engaged in a variety of sports.
It is slim, lightweight, and built with durable yet flexible material to allow for maximum mobility and lower body flexibility.
This product is also easy to wash and maintain which makes it good for those who train or exercise on a regular basis.
If you are an individual, particularly a female, who loves to train in all kinds of sports, combat sports or otherwise, we recommend that you give this product high consideration. As far as female cups go, this cup is arguably the best.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you wash MMA cups?
Most modern-day cups can be machine-washed or hand-washed, depending on the instructions provided by the manufacturer. However, the option to wash ultimately depends on the type of material used. Some individuals simply take their cup with them to the bath or shower but we recommend a dedicated washing of these protectors to eliminate bacteria and odor.
2. How long do MMA & BJJ cups last?
Most MMA & BJJ cups today are built to be tough and durable but do not expect them to last you for your entire MMA or BJJ career. Each MMA cup is usually infused with some form of material that significantly improves durability or longevity, but we would recommend that you replace your cup at least once every year or so. This is to ensure that you get the best cup experience to minimize the likelihood of injury to the groin area. It is better to be safe than sorry, so the best decision is to follow our recommendation.
Conclusion (Plus Our Personal Favorite)
Getting the best possible cup, whether for use in BJJ or MMA, is of great importance, especially if you favor sparring sessions and if you engage in amateur or professional regulated fights.
This guide should be sufficient for you to make a well-informed choice, despite the variety of options in the market today. Always refer to our list above for the best cups for MMA and the best cups for BJJ.
As for our personal favorite cup, we give the title to none other than the Diamond MMA Cup.
Aside from being packaged alongside premium-quality compression shorts and a built-in jock strap, the cup itself is designed for most goals and purposes in MMA and BJJ.
We consider form, comfort, and protective qualities to be of primary importance when it comes to the kind of cup we use in training, and this Diamond MMA Cup checks all boxes convincingly and exceedingly.
There are several choices that are considered to be the best MMA cups today. But in our eyes, there is no other cup in the market that we would go with, even if there were more affordable options. This Diamond cup is well worth it in terms of the value it provides, making this product one of the best package-type/combo-type groin protectors in the market today.