GO back in time 10 years in the UK and finding a pair of MMA board or fight shorts was to say the least difficult. Most MMA fighters at the time were using surf based gear such as Quiksilver or O’Neill (rash guards too!) Who’d have thought there would be such a market in MMA shorts now!
Come 2011 No such problem exists with hundreds of offerings to choose from with old school brands such as Tapout, Sprawl and Badboy competing against newcomers such as Venum & Hayabusa Fightwear. So what actually makes a good pair of MMA board shorts?
Truth is that there are very few differences between a pair of surfing shorts and a pair of MMA Fight shorts the main ones really are in the styles and some minor innovations with the MMA sport in mind. Some have slightly wider legs such as Tapout whilst others sport splits in the legs to allow high kicks. Sprawl shorts went with elasticated waists whilst many opt for the less forgiving “board” style with a simple tie at the waist often to the side. Fairtex put a little lining inside the shorts whilst Jaco use a little lycra in the actual material to allow some give in the shorts themselves.
Much of this is down to actual comfort preferences which have very little practical advantage. The only real defining factor I can see in differentiation in MMA shorts is durability and avoiding anything that may cause discomfort whilst grappling. Tapout went through a phase of adding big rubbery fastenings at the front of their shorts which was copied by many later on. I always felt this was an uncomfortable and unpractical “innovation” with no actual practical use, ties being much more effective and certainly not causing discomfort to the user. One of the new kids on the block “Jaco” who boast some big name endorsees have been very innovative in their use of fabrics and materials with a kind of hybrid between board shorts and vale tudo trunks but to date they have not been particularly well received perhaps down to their being different and straying from the pack.
Whatever your choice look for shorts that are hard wearing and comfortable everything after that is pretty much fashion!