UFC unveils new glove design that addresses cut and illegal grab issues, but eye pokes still a problem


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UFC fighters have new hardware. The promotion unveiled new glove designs on Friday that will go into effect starting with UFC 302 on June 1.

UFC is advertising improved construction features, fit and sizing, weight, shape and material development with the new equipment, and an authenticator chip. The most significant promises involve reducing facial lacerations and illegal glove grabs, plus improving protection for vulnerable bones in the hand. UFC claims to have solved glove-induced cuts by moving all seams to the palm of the glove. The design mitigates illegal glove grabs by removing space on the wrist that an opponent can grab.

“We have been working on these gloves over the past few years with the best designers, engineers, and athletes in the world,” UFC CEO Dana White said in a statement. “This redesign will truly be a game changer for the entire sport of MMA. These gloves will feel lighter, fit fighters’ hands better, prevent injuries, and provide maximum flexibility during the fights. You’ll start to see these in competition this summer.”

One major issue these gloves don’t address is eye pokes, a leading cause of penalties in competition. Bellator MMA previously introduced gloves that curve at the fingers but the UFC did not follow suit. Combat sports writer Ben Fowlkes tested a sample glove. He noted that while it is “absolutely still possible to poke someone in the eye,” greater glove flexibility may encourage fighters to close their hands.

The new gloves come in various color palettes. UFC champions will be fitted with gold gloves while non-champions and “The Ultimate Fighter” contestants will sport a traditional black color. “Contender Series” athletes will wear blue gloves. There is also an unbranded red version for projects like “Road to UFC.”

UFC fighters will officially wear the gloves for the first time at UFC 302, set to take place in Newark, New Jersey on June 1.



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