Man-Panties VS. Board Shorts

For mixed martial artists, the days of wearing gis and singlets are over. To be recognized as a serious contender, you’d better be wearing one of two things when you step into the cage:



Not exactly sure what’s what? Here’s the breakdown:


Man-panties (at least that’s what I call them) are form-fitting, elasticized, spandex briefs. The shorts can extend a few inches down the thighs and are usually made of Lycra.


Board shorts are the durable, quick-drying shorts that surfers (hence the word “board”) made popular. The shorts usually extend to the knees and are comprised of a polyester or nylon blend.


How It All Came to This

Somewhere around 600 BCE, the Greeks decided they needed a combat sport to test their skills and determine who the alpha males were. Accordingly, Pankration – a combination of boxing and wrestling – was born. The rules were simple:

1) Two men enter the stadium and fight until one gets knocked out or submits.

2) No eye gouging.

Sound familiar? That’s right, the Greeks invented MMA. But there was a catch to Greek Pankration. The combatants were naked. And there was nothing in the rules prohibiting one fighter from punching another in the junk. To their credit, the Nevada Athletic Commission (and others) modified this rule and fighters are now required to wear shorts and cups to cover up their business.


Like Apples and Oranges

Which brings us to the question at hand – what does a fighter wear to cover up his business – board shorts or man panties? Is it a question of comfort? Can shorts improve performance? What are the risks of injury? Are there style issues involved?

Make no mistake about it, fighters think about these things before they step into the cage. Or, they at least they will now.



Hands down, board shorts win this one. If you think I’m wrong, why aren’t more people walking around the street in man panties? Enough said.


Performance You’ve got to go with man panties on this one. The streamlined design makes it easier to kick, scramble, and slip out of precarious situations. There’s a reason swimmers wear Speedos. It’s all about performance.



Fighters can get their feet, hands, fingers, and toes stuck in the loose fabric of board shorts. It was rumored that Jens Pulver tour his meniscus after getting his foot caught in a pair of board shorts while practicing. Bottom line, board shorts are more dangerous. So wearing them in the cage might give you a small advantage in hurting your opponent. Just be sure to wear the man panties when training.



No, not fighting style, but personal style. Let’s face it; some fighters need all the image help they can get. Bad haircuts, missing teeth, tattoos needled in by cousin Pookie – none of this is shocking in the Octagon. But what about the fighter who promised his mother he wouldn’t get a tattoo, and instead wants to make a statement with his shorts? Here are a few of the style categories that board shorts and man panties fall into:


The Patriot

Do you want to represent your country? Take a page out of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s book and wedge your 200 pound thighs into a pair of Croatian flag man panties. Or maybe Roger Huerta’s Mexican flag man panties are more your style? Dare I bring up the fact that Butterbean drapes his lower half in the largest American flag shorts ever made. This is exactly what Betsy Ross had in mind for the stars and stripes when she sewed the first US flag back in 1776. Regardless, nothing says “I’m a devoted patriot” like having a flag on your ass.


The Nickname

Oh, you have a nickname? Well then, thank God you can have it readily visible on your shorts. If Chuck Liddell didn’t have icicles on his board shorts, who would know he’s the “Iceman?”


The Sponsor

Fighters have to make a living, don’t they? Sometimes it pays to have on your shorts. Just ask Chris Leben, Pete Sell, or Andrei Arlovski. It seems that everyone and their mother is now sponsored by a sports drink, supplement company, or condom vendor. Who will be the first to advertise for women’s hygiene products? That will take a real warrior. Where is Andy Wang (of The Ultimate Fighter 6 fame) when you need him?


A Brief Closing

The reasons behind a fighter’s outfit can be as simple as what’s readily available or who is paying him, or as deeply rooted as a superhero fixation. Regardless of what a fighter wears when he enters the ring, he’d better make sure he can kick a little ass. No one wants to be knocked out in front of millions of people wearing little more than a fig leaf.


And one more thing: Superman wore man panties, and he can kick everyone’s ass.


Three Man-Panty Wearing Men You Don’t Want to Insult


Fedor Emelianenko

If Fedor and his man panties were around in the 1960s, Russia would have won the Cold War.


Bas Rutten

He once said, “If someone put their gi in my face, I would blow my nose.” I’m sure he feels the same way about board shorts.


Rickson Gracie

Although he wore a diaper-looking pair of man panties, he’s not to be scoffed at. His unblemished record speaks for itself.

Comments are closed.