The 10 Best MMA Headgear

Updated May 10, 2018 by Ben G

10 Best MMA Headgear
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Planning on getting into the ring in the near future? Then the least you can do is protect your face and dome with something from our selection of the best MMA headgear. One of these should help to take the sting out of some of those kicks and punches, whether you're training or planning on fighting with full power. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best mma headgear on Amazon.

10. Wansda Boxing

The Wansda Boxing is absolutely not for professional use. If you understand that it won't magically stop hits to the head from affecting you and don't plan on fighting with full force, though, there simply isn't a better option for the price.
  • good for gauging interest in sport
  • fits over many kinds of hair
  • has a strange smell
Brand Generic
Model pending
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. MaxxMMA Black L/XL

The MaxxMMA Black L/XL is good for abating any kind of bang to the head, whether it's inside the octagon or out. At a relatively affordable price, it can even be used to keep your clumsy friend from concussions incurred on slippery terrain.
  • full 360-degree coverage
  • allows for good air flow
  • chin strap is too loose
Brand MaxxMMA
Model pending
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Venum Challenger 2.0

The Venum Challenger 2.0 doesn't just shield you from blows, it puts a pretty cool image of a snake on your head. Plus it comes in colors like "neo-orange," so you know that once you're done sparring, your partner is going to ask where you got it.
  • two-way velcro closure
  • made of contoured foam
  • nose protection is lacking
Brand Venum
Model 2052-black/orange
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Meister Gel Full-Face

You might need to do something to make the Meister Gel Full-Face keep sweat out of your eyes, but it's otherwise good to go. Krav Maga practitioners in particular enjoy the way that the full-grain leather keeps their head in the game.
  • two hooks to adjust the fit
  • stays strong over time
  • velcro in the back can pull out hair
Brand Meister MMA
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Everlast Everfresh

The Everlast Everfresh is a fine choice for sparring and training, as it keeps most of your face free and exposed. Which is exactly why this is absolutely untenable for exhibitions or actual matches, where the blows are real.
  • rugged and resilient everhide
  • adjustable chinstrap
  • affordable price tag
Brand Everlast
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. ProForce Thunder

Wearing the ProForce Thunder with its face mask attached will not only protect your head, it will also psych out opponents with its fierce appearance. Removing the cage will enhance your view, but you might lose some of that fear factor.
  • shock-reducing closed-cell foam
  • durable vinyl material
  • available in black or red
Brand Pro Force
Model pending
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Venum Elite

The unconventional but very intentional face design of the Venum Elite doesn't sacrifice protection in order to provide some of the best visibility on the market. The hardest choice you'll have to make when getting one is between the nine colors.
  • ear covers are reinforced
  • made of skintex leather
  • great for muay thai
Brand Venum
Model US-VENUM-1395-Neo Orang
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Title Full Face Training

The ample pads and gel lining of the Title Full Face Training will help you absorb multiple strikes with minimal pain or damage. That even includes uppercuts to the chin, glancing blows to the cheeks, or haymakers to the temple.
  • foam-padded inner layers
  • extra protection around ears
  • hook-and-loop rear closure
Brand Title Boxing
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. RDX Maya Hide

The RDX Maya Hide is inexpensive for its features, offering plenty of security once you get in the ring with your opponent. With three layers of protection, it doesn't just lessen the impact to your head, it maintains its integrity over time.
  • great choice for sparring partners
  • shock-resistant gel padding
  • removable protective grill
Brand RDX
Model pending
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Hayabusa Fightwear Tokushu Regenesis

The plushly padded Hayabusa Fightwear Tokushu Regenesis will have you just about as comfortable as you could hope to be, at least up until you get punched in the face. It has anti-microbial technology that reduces odor buildup, too.
  • open-top cranial-cast construction
  • high shock force chin-cup
  • patented t-cross adjustment closure
Brand Hayabusa
Model HAY-TRMHG-Black/Grey
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

A Brief History Of MMA Headgear

The earliest mixed martial art was invented in ancient China by military generals and soldiers.

Called Shuai jiao, this ancient style of wrestling and Kug-Fu incorporated grappling techniques that are regarded as precursors to contemporary judo and jiu-jitsu. Shuai jiao also permitted kicking, punching, joint locks, finger locks, leg sweeps, leg locks, and the brutal, but effective close-range trapping techniques perfected by Han Chinese soldiers in combat with enemy soldiers.

In ancient Greece, there was a similar sport known as pankration. This competition, which was featured at the 33rd Olympiad of 648 B.C.E., combined grappling and striking in a manner similar to modern mixed martial arts. Pankration evolved from the already-established Greek boxing and wrestling traditions, and barred only biting and gouging. Pankratiasts, as the sport's fighters were known, fought until one opponent could not continue, or submitted by raising an index finger. Pankration was later passed on to the Romans.

Contemporary mixed martial arts traces its roots back to the mixed-style contests that were popular throughout Europe, Japan, and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s.

In the early 1990s, a Brazilian competition known as Vale Tudo was brought to the United States in the form of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This dangerous style was eventually made safer, and the door was opened to practitioners of all styles, adding to the burgeoning organization's intrigue. In 2001, UFC changed ownership, and under new leadership it experienced an era of unprecedented success.

Actor and MMA practitioner Bruce Lee was at least partially responsible for the popularity of martial arts in the 1960s and 1970s. UFC president Dana White called Lee the "father of mixed martial arts" in 2004, crediting Lee's Jeet Kune Do philosophy with inspiring a generation to seek multi-disciplinary training.

While many competitions throughout the centuries would fall under the mixed martial arts umbrella, the term may only date back to 1993, when television critic Howard Rosenberg used it while reviewing UFC 1.

Modern mixed martial arts reached peak popularity in the mid- and late-2000s, when a series of UFC events captured the public's attention like never before. Chief among these blockbuster fights was a rematch between then UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, and former champion Tito Ortiz. For the first time, mixed martial arts events were rivaling and surpassing even the biggest boxing events in Pay-per-view sales.

Modern mixed martial artists often train with head gear, heavy gloves, strike shields, and shin protectors to limit their injury exposure. Headgear is regarded as especially important thanks to its concussion prevention potential.

Similarly, amateur mixed martial arts is practiced with protective gear that includes shin protectors and larger MMA gloves.

MMA And The Law

The legal status of mixed martial arts varies by country.

In the United States, professional MMA is governed by the Association of Boxing Commissions, which permits competition in every American state. In 2012, MMA attained "national sport" status in Russia, making it legal and encouraged.

While modern MMA is legal in much of the world, some countries specifically prohibit its practice.

For example, in 2012 the Sports Authority of Thailand banned all MMA competitions, citing the potentially damaging effects the sport could have on the country's native Muay Thai industry.

In Norway, any sport that involves scoring or winning with knock-outs is banned. Despite the ban, there were nearly 50 MMA gyms in Norway in 2012. In Norway competitions follow a strict set of rules that limit the kinds of strikes a competitor is permitted to make.

France has a similar position, and currently bans all full contact MMA competition. MMA bouts in France do not permit striking on the ground, and include several other limitations.

While not illegal, MMA is not recognized by the government as a sport in India. This means any organized MMA bouts are regarded as street fights, with respect to the law.

The Professional MMA Landscape

With many hundreds of MMA promotions and organizations throughout the world, making sense of the professional landscape can be daunting.

The most popular and successful modern MMA organization is the UFC, which came to mainstream prominence around 2006.

In 2007, the UFC merged with Pride FC, effectively eliminating its largest competitor.

Currently there are three other organizations that regularly feature top-ranked fighters on their cards: The California-based Bellator MMA, Singapore's One Championship, and Invicta FC, headquartered in Enka, North Carolina.

Beyond those four organizations, there is little competition for the eyes and ears of the worldwide MMA viewing public. However, some organizations have risen to regional prominence, and may someday threaten UFC's stranglehold on the industry.

Among them is London's Cage Warriors Fighting Championship, the Russia-based M-1 Global, and Jungle Fight, which stages fights chiefly in Brazil.

Below the organizations in the global hierarchy are many hundreds of MMA training facilities. Based on the success of the fighters they produce, the most effective gym in the world is Nova Uniao, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The second most accomplished gym in the world is the Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA gym.

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Last updated on May 10, 2018 by Ben G

Ben is a writer from California. He mostly dives into film, videogames, and science fiction literature. Also Hello Kitty. He likes Hello Kitty a whole lot.

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