Anyone that has been involved in MMA and BJJ knows about the cup check. This is when your instructor either asks if you’re wearing a protective cup or taps you to find out (not fun).
A protective groin guard, often called a cup, is an important piece of equipment that will protect your genitals and groin area from injury.
There have been many cases where fighters have suffered everything from severe bruises to ruptured testicles as a result of not wearing a cup.
The bottom line is, that you need to wear a cup and we’re going to teach you what you need to know.
Without further ado, here is the information you need to know to choose the best cup for MMA & BJJ.
Comparison of Our Top Picks
Diamond MMA Cup & Shorts
Shock Doctor Cup & Shorts
Diamond MMA Cup & Jock Strap
Venum Cup & Jock Strap
RDX Cup & Jock Strap
Meister MMA Cup
Loo Bloo Thai Style Cup
McDavid Cup & Shorts
What is a Cup?
Alright, let’s start out with the very basics. A cup is a roughly in the shape of a triangle with smoothed sides that is designed to be able to comfortably fit and remain in place in the groin region. They will absorb the impact from hard blows that happen as a result of an errant kick or blow on the mats.
Cups tend to be made from two different materials, plastic and steel.
Plastics are used for both soft cups and rigid cups depending on the level of protection that is required for the sport. For the most part, you will be wearing a rigid, hard plastic cup rather than a soft one when you are doing BJJ and MMA, or most martial arts for that matter.
Steel cups are strong and made to take some serious punishment while protecting your nether regions. They offer powerful protection and have gotten a lot more comfortable from the older models on the market.
Cups tend to be perforated to allow airflow and are worn in two ways. First, you can wear a protective cup in a pair of compression shorts. The cup can be sewn into the material and fits snuggly or placed inside a pouch.
The other option is a jockstrap. This is a waist-band that is designed solely to hold a cup firmly in place.
Alright, now that you’re more familiar with cups, let’s take a look at the reasons you need to wear one.
Why Wear a Cup?
As we’ve already said, wearing a cup is a key to preventing groin injuries of many varieties when you are taking part in contact sports. Both MMA and BJJ and even Muay Thai are disciplines that can result in injuries even if you are being careful.
There are a lot of injuries that you might not have considered possible that a cup will protect you against. You might wince as you read this, but here’s the truth.
You can suffer anything from testicular fracture or rupture, testicular torsion, severe bruising, and many other injuries. Not only are they going to be so painful that you could pass out on the mat, but they will usually require surgery to fix.
The best way to look at it is this: do you want to buy and wear a relatively comfortable piece of protection, or face an injury that will change your life and prevent you from taking part in sports?
Personally, it's a simple choice, but there are still several things to consider when looking into getting the cup that’s right for you.
If you want to hear a horror story about not wearing a cup, then check out the video below... you've got to laugh and Ariel's reaction though!
How to Choose the Best Cup for MMA & BJJ
Type of Cup
There's a few different types of cups and groin guards that you'll come across:
The first type of cup that you can find for MMA and BJJ is built into compression shorts.
These are some of the more advanced gear. They look just like regular compression shorts but have a sleeve that you can fit your cup into. The cup is held in place by the tightness of the shorts so you don’t have to mess with it once it’s in place.
Jock straps come in a few varieties. They can vary from pieces that look like underwear or could be a smaller groin guard that is held in place by several straps. A jock strap also has a cup compartment that you can use to fit your cut into and change it out if necessary. Jock straps used to be the only type of holder for your protective gear, but more types are becoming available all the time.
Plastic or Steel?
Like we’ve already mentioned, there are generally two materials that are used for cups in the present day: plastic and steel. While steel is definitely going to be able to stand up to more abuse, if the cup isn’t a really good fit for you, then it can be uncomfortable.
On the other hand, you can use plastic like most people tend to do. Plastic will give you good protection and tends to be a little more forgiving if the fit isn’t perfect.
Basically, you need to figure out the type that works best for you.
The fit of the cup is important for you to consider when picking one out. You want a cup that is going to be snug enough so that it doesn’t slip out of place while you are sparring or rolling. If it does, you will be vulnerable to a whole host of different potential injuries that we already outlined.
The other thing that you have to think about with fitting your cup is that it isn’t going to be a distraction to you. You don’t want a cup that is so tight that you are constantly tempted to readjust yourself mid-fight. You need to strike a balance with the protection and the comfort provided by the cup that you choose to wear.
You get what you pay for is a good motto to live by when it comes to buying a protective cup, or any protective gear for that matter.
Consider what your cup is protecting and then think about whether it’s worth going with a tried and true brand or whether you want to save a few bucks and buy some off brand. The answer should seem obvious because you can never put a price on proper protection.
The best BJJ cup might cost more than the ones you dig out of a value bin, but the investment will be worth it after someone accidentally lands a knee to your groin and you can still talk without squeaking.
List of the Best Cups for MMA & BJJ
Right, let's crack on with the list.
Diamond MMA Cup & Compression Shorts - OUR #1 RATED
The Diamond MMA Cup & Compression shorts are a high quality compression shorts and cup product that are designed to provide powerful protection specifically for people that are involved in martial arts.
These compression shorts are designed using top-level materials featuring military-grade elastic and spandex that is made to be protective and comfortable.
The first thing that most users wonder about is the comfort of the product that they are using. In this case, you can count on the compression shorts being breathable and not affecting your movement to a great degree.
These shorts use their signature four-strap jock to make sure that the cup doesn’t move once you have set it in place. The cup won’t slide out of its placement no matter how much you work out. After all, these shorts are part of a system that includes a specially-made cup that is designed to fit into these shorts and give you the comfort and protection you need.
The cup is made from some pretty serious material. It’s tough but flexible like the best plastics and is constructed from polycarbonate which is used to make some of the toughest things out there like bullet resistant glass.
Aside from being very strong, the cup is also made so that is comfortable as well. The edge of the cup is made from an elastomer material that makes it softer than the rest of the cup without making it less protective. The result is that the cup is less likely to feel like it is digging into your groin or leg so you won’t be distracted or uncomfortable.
With all that in mind, there is one final piece about the Diamond MMA Athletic Cup and Athletic shorts to think about. This product was considered by a board of urologists to be among the best and safest of all cups on the board, and that approval carries weight.
Overall, this is a trustworthy and effective product that you can use to keep yourself safe while engaging in martial arts training and it definitely stands out among other similar products.
Shock Doctor Athletic Cup
Another contender for best cup for BJJ & MMA is the Shock Doctor Athletic Cup. The Shock Doctor brand is well known for their dedication to creating products designed to keep athletes safe.
These compression shorts and cup format that is used here is a very common way of ensuring that the user is protected and not distracted due to various straps.
The cup is fitted into these shorts using an X-Pocket Retention System that prevents excessive movement of the cup and also has the cup ride a little lower than some other models. This will give you more of a range of motion without feeling the cup slide against any sensitive parts.
The fabric is designed with flatlock seams that are built to provide a close yet comfortable fit that doesn’t retain moisture. In fact, these shorts are made to wick moisture away from your body so you don’t have a gross feeling while you’re spending time training.
Another one of the most important factors about the cup is the Bio-Flex design. Basically, the cup is made from strong plastic yet still manages to form to your body’s anatomy to provide great protection while you’re exercising.
All in all, there is a lot to like about this cup because it provides the right kind of protection for a lot of different activities. The emphasis on comfort has attracted a lot of people who need to bend and flex without feeling the cup so much, and that is exactly what they have delivered.
Diamond MMA Jock Strap
It should not be a surprise that the Diamond brand appears again when looking at the best MMA cup products. The Diamond MMA brand is known for its amazing protection offered by its cups. Unlike the compression shorts system that is also described on this list, the cup is fitted into a jock strap which is less restricting on your body and functions better for some people.
The jock strap is made from military grade elastics so you can count on this product to stretch and bend along with you without snapping. Moreover, the material is designed so that it doesn’t hold in moisture, giving you a comfort along with practical measures to avoid feeling sweaty and gross after a hard workout.
The jock strap is part of a 4-strap system that holds the cup in place while you are wearing it. The straps fit comfortably around your hips and butt without digging into your skin. It will feel more lightweight than most compression shorts and cup systems.
The cup is specially-made to fit into the jock sleeve on this product so it won’t slip around or become dislodged. You can count on not having to worry about it moving side to side or up and down no matter how rough things get on the mats.
Much like the other Diamond MMA products, the cup here is made from the same kind of polycarbonates used in bullet resistant glass, so it can take some serious blows without giving in.
Finally, the jock strap has a drawstring that you can use to get a custom fit for yourself. That solidifies the comfort of the jock strap so you can make it just as snug as you see fit.
All in all, this brand is known for delivering amazing products, and that’s exactly what you get here. This jock strap is designed for safety and has the benefit of being cost effective, too.
Venum Challenger Cup & Jock Strap
If you’re familiar with the top brands of MMA gear, then you know it was only a matter of time before Venum showed up. The Venum Challenger Cup & Jock Strap is a great contender for being counted among the groin guards for MMA. There are a lot of things that this product does right in an effort to keep their users safe.
The first thing that a lot of people notice is the somewhat minimal design of the jock strap. Instead of featuring straps on the hips and buttocks, there is only a waistband, two straps, and the actual sleeve for the jock strap.
The materials for this lightweight jock strap are made from Dry Tech, so they wick away moisture to keep you comfortable while also being very flexible.
Another reason that this is a great jock strap is the rubber shield on the cup. This takes the brunt of the blow, reducing the impact and distributing the force... that kick to the groin won’t feel nearly so bad!
Better still; the cup has two layers of shock absorption built into it so it gives you even more protection from blows.
The cup is a tad longer than many others, giving you a good fit for your anatomy and keeping you protected from all angles.
All in all, Venum delivered a solid product that falls in line with many of the other cups listed here in terms of its price point, which is a relief on its own.
RDX Cup & Jock Strap
The RDX Cup & Jock Strap is a groin protection system that balances cost effectiveness and protection pretty well.
There are some pretty stark differences between this model and others. Unlike some of the other models that we have reviewed so far, the cup is actually built into the jock strap and can’t be removed.
That comes with the benefit of a very snug fit that won’t move up or down, but also means that you have to wash it by hand and can’t replace it yourself.
Another interesting part about this jock strap is that it is not made out of plastic. This one is made from steel, so you can count on it being able to take a massive beating without damage.
The cup itself features a closed-cell rim design so that it's comfortable to wear and won’t rub against your groin or thighs. This padding on the edge of the cup also works well with the steel design to disperse any force that is applied to the cup.
Basically, when you take a kick, elbow or even knee, the chances are you'll only feel the pressure on around the protected area instead of actual pain.
The Quick-EZ straps on this jock strap make it easy to adjust so that you can set it up to be a perfect fit for you every time.
Basically, anyone can wear one of these jock straps given that there is a size for them, and you can make it a more custom fit for you. All in all, it’s a quality product with a great price point. It’s a tough, durable product that would be a great addition to your safety gear.
Loo Bloo Cup (Thai Style)
There are not many jock straps and cups that are going to have a lower profile than this one. That is the first thing that you’ll notice. Instead of a thick waistband and additional straps, this product has a thinner waistband and two banded cords to secure the cup to your body
While it might look odd at first glance, the fact of the matter is that it is going to be hard to find a more comfortable and form-fitting piece than this. Your movement will be completely uninhibited when you’re wearing this cup and that’s precisely what it was designed to do as a piece of gear made for many fighting disciplines.
The cup is said to be able to withstand 4 tons of pressure being applied to it without crumbling, so it’s going to provide great protection against strikes... unless your fighting The Mountain from Game of Thrones.
You’ll be protected during exercises and you don’t have to worry about this cup sticking out a whole lot. It’s a pretty low-profile piece that is hard to notice when you wear it.
Using the straps on the groin guard, you will be able to get a really precise fit so you don’t have to worry about the cords pinching or the cup slipping out of place.
Speaking of slipping, you don’t have to slip this cup into a sleeve. The bands are directly anchored to the cup, requiring less material to be in contact with your skin and freeing up your movements.
If you want the feeling of wearing nothing at all while getting great protection, this could be the cup for you. With a moderate price point and a construction that was inspired by actual martial artists, this cup definitely earned a spot on the list.
McDavid Athletic Cup & Compression Shorts
McDavid might not be one of the biggest names that you can expect to find in terms of fighting gear, but that doesn’t make their products any less worthy of being examined. This particular piece of equipment features an athletic cup that slots into compression shorts.
The shorts themselves are made mostly from polyester as well as spandex, providing you with a lightweight and comfortable pair of compression pants. They feature a sleeve that holds the cup in place while you are engaged in physical activity.
The compression shorts feature Hydravent Moisture management that helps keep the user dry while they are using them and helps wick away wetness. The fabric is stretchy, too, so you can get a good range of motion while using this piece of equipment.
Also, the cup itself is designed for both comfort and protection. You might look at the vents on the sides and wonder how this is structurally sound, but you have to understand the flexibility and force dispersing power is how this cup works. There is a lot of ventilation for the cup, so you won’t get wet and uncomfortable while you’re using it.
The sizing for the product is good for both children and adults, so everyone can find a piece of gear that works for them. All you need to do is use the sizing chart and you will be completely ready to order.
All in all, this is definitely a good piece of equipment for BJJ and MMA and represents a cost effective method of getting protection. It’s certainly lower on the scale of cost but don’t count on it coming with any fancy bells and whistles!
Meister MMA Groin Protector
Although Meister MMA is a relatively unknown brand, they've undoubtedly released one of the best MMA groin protectors on the market.
Thanks to its Polypropylene construction, the groin protector is both lightweight and highly protective. This material also has a certain amount of 'give', which essentially means that it can flex slightly. This is extremely helpful in terms of comfort, as it helps to prevent the cup from being rigid and digging into your skin.
What's more, in order to add a level of comfort, Meister have implemented rubberised edges. This in turn prevents the Groin Protector from causing any irritation or unwanted chaffing.
Another aspect worth mentioning is that this cup is sized to allow it to fit into both jock straps and shorts cup pockets. This is pretty great as it means that you won't need to go ahead and get a specific jock strap or pair of shorts designed to house the Meister groin guard.
Top all of this off with a great price tag, and you've got yourself a very, very good groin protector.
CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE: Unfortunately, the Hayabusa ExoForged cup is no longer available. I'll keep and an eye and update this article should it become available in the future.
Hayabusa ExoForged Cup
Hayabusa is a major player in the realm of MMA gear, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see their name on this list. This cup is designed to be used with any of their compression gear, but it stands alone as almost a piece of art among other products.
This cup uses a thermopolymer plastic design that is both lightweight and incredibly good at protecting the user. Since protection is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of this product, you’ll be happy to learn that it is marketed as being completely impenetrable even though it does have some “give” to it.
The cup is light so you don’t have to worry about having the equivalent of a steel plate in front of your groin while you’re sparring or competing.
The cup has several flex zones so that the cup doesn’t dig in or rub your skin while you’re moving around which can be very beneficial for people that have sensitive skin or other issues with chaffing. Combined with the high-breathability of the cup, you’ll be both well-protected and comfortable.
Another great feature of this product is that it has a low profile. Some cups stick out a little bit too much and can easily catch a kick that was never meant to happen. You’ll barely notice this cup during competition, and that’s exactly what it’s made to do.
All in all, this is a great cup that is designed to be comfortable, effective, and gives the user a feeling that they are barely wearing anything.
Best MMA & BJJ Cup Brands
We’ve looked at a lot of different MMA and BJJ cups throughout this review. They have come from a variety of brands.
Some of them are big names in the world of fighting and protective gear and others are not. Yet, there are brands that stand out more than others because they are innovative and consistently put out good products. Here are some of the brands that worked to make the best products for practitioners of BJJ and MMA.
Diamond MMA is renowned for creating some of the best groin protectors for martial arts. Unlike some other companies that only delve into groin protection products, Diamond MMA has made this their sole business.
They are known for producing high-end, top quality products that protect people from groin injuries.
Their products are usable for people of all backgrounds in terms of martial arts and are available for individuals of any skill level.
A beginner or a professional can both benefit from using the protective gear that is made by Diamond MMA. They have patented numerous compression and jock systems like the 4-strap jock system that is made to keep their cups in place with no shifting.
Diamond MMA is definitely one of the top names in protective gear, so look for every one of their products to be among the best.
Shock Doctor is a brand that is not works to produce a wider variety of safety gear than just groin protectors.
They are renowned for their work with mouth guards for contact sports, claiming the most highly rated mouth guard in the world among their creations.
Yet, Shock Doctor has also made its way into other areas of protection like groin protectors.
With a history of creating protective items that extends back almost three decades, it doesn’t seem like this company is showing signs of stopping any time soon.
With both jock straps and compression shorts among their repertoire, Shock Doctor is a brand that is gives their users exactly what they need in terms of flexibility and protection.
Venum are a relatively new brand that caters to the MMA, BJJ and boxing community.
They are known for their really flash brand of products that feature their snake symbol and the tendency to delve into all kinds of different gear.
Venum makes everything from gi’s to protective gear. Even though they offer a broad range of products, one thing remains true for all of it: everything they make is high quality and vigorously tested.
You can count on finding all kinds of protection for your body amongst their gear, especially for the groin area.
While their groin guards are limited in terms of the number of designs, they are top-quality and offer a lot in terms of protection. Basically, if you see the Venum name on a product, there is a pretty good chance that it is among the best.
Below are some frequently asked questions about MMA & BJJ cups.
Q). How Long Do Groin Protectors Last?
This depends on a few things: the quality of the groin protector, how often you train and the kind of training you do. That being said, the chances are the cup will last for years, as it's unlikely you'll be struck in that region on a regular basis.
Q). Can They be Washed?
Yes, most MMA groin protectors can be washed. Just make sure you check the packaging when the cup arrives. If you can't see any information regarding washing, hand wash the cup in warm/hot water.
Q). Do I Need More Than One?
No, the chances are you won't need more than one cup. The only time I would recommend having more than one is if you're competing. Having a competition cup and a cup solely for training can be a good idea.
That being said, I would probably get the same model cup twice. This way, when you're competing, the cup won't feel any different to normal and won't distract you.
Q). How Do I Wear a Cup?
You can either put the cup into a slit in your compression pants/ shorts, or you can get a jock strap to put the cup in. I personally prefer going the compression shorts method, but it's purely down to preference.
Best BJJ & MMA Cups: The Verdict
Alright, the time has come to examine the best cup for MMA & BJJ. We’ve gone over the evidence and showed you what we think of several different major forms of protection.
Remember, these cups and their various holders are all that stands between you and the potential for some pretty serious injuries.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at three distinct classes of gear. We have come up with the best cup and compression shorts, jock strap, and cup.
Take a look at each of these and see what they offer.
Best cup & compression shorts - Diamond MMA Cup & Compression Shorts
When looking for a cup and its compression short counterpart, you really can’t do any better than the Diamond MMA Cup & Compression Shorts. They come with military grade elastics that are comfortable and have a cup that is specifically designed to fit into the pair of shorts.
The cup itself is made of the same kind of plastics that they use to stop bullets, so it’s definitely going to keep the family jewels safe. While the cup is as tough as they come, you don’t even need to worry about the edges digging into you because of the ergonomic edge.
Between the soft and moisture-wicking compression shorts and perfectly-fitted cup, it will feel like you’re barely wearing anything under your fighting gear. With a price point that tends to be on the higher side, consider this product a worthwhile investment into your safety. The bottom line is that these are amazing compression shorts that you should definitely consider if that is the style of protection that you want.
Best Jock Strap - Diamond MMA Jockstrap & Cup
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the company that specializes in high-end gear for groin protection also comes up as the top jock strap too. In this case, there are a lot of reasons that the jock strap was chosen from amongst many others. For example, this jock strap features the patented 4-strap jock and cup system that has made Diamond MMA famous in the world of groin protection.
You get both protection and a lot of comfort when using this 4-strap system, allowing you to have unparalleled mobility while using a cup that is going to stop anything that you throw at it. The sleeve in the front of this jock strap fits the same patented cup that is used in the Diamond MMA compression shorts.
Basically, this cup is made from an incredibly powerful polycarbonate that will not break when it is hit and will not shift while it is inside of the sleeve. The protection moves with your body but doesn’t rub your skin or bite into your thighs when you squat or roll.
The jock strap and cup were made by researchers at Stanford and the entire system was reviewed and highly recommended by renowned urologists. That means you have actual doctors that approve of how well this system protects you from harm. What more could you want from a cup and jockstrap system?
Best MMA Cup - Hayabusa ExoForged Cup
Finally, we have the best cup for MMA & BJJ. As a standalone project, the Hayabusa ExoForged Cup is a tremendous product. Earlier in this review we said that it resembles a work of art due to the all the care that was taken to ensure that everything about the cup is as close to perfect as possible.
The cup provides a lot of protection, featuring a cup designed from materials that are about as impenetrable as you can get. It’s great for people that don’t want a protruding cup while they are taking part in BJJ and MMA. Its low profile means that you aren’t likely to catch an errant swipe from a foot while you’re on the mats.
The cup is known for its flexibility despite the strength with which the product is made. The thermopolymer makes the cup lightweight and strong enough to withstand serious blows. However, the cup is also known for having precision flex zones that allow you to be comfortable while you’re in motion. Nobody likes to have a cup dig into them, especially when rolling for BJJ.
All in all, this is an affordable and powerful product that can be used in the other Hayabusa compression shorts and jock straps. It’s definitely worth buying if you’re in the market for groin protection.
Overall, there are a lot of systems that are in place for groin protection in MMA and BJJ. We’ve taken some time to review why you need to protect yourself and the best forms of protection out there today. As always, thanks for reading and feel free to comment or reach out to us to let us know what you think of our list!