A few months ago, I interviewed UFC featherweight contender, Cub Swanson, shortly before his fight with Dustin Poirier. Cub, who has had a history of hand issues, now seems to have them sorted out, and hasn't had fractures over the last couple years. One thing he spoke of during that interview, was his negative opinion of MMA gloves, and he went into detail of exactly why they are, in his opinion, 'crap'. Here's what he had to say:
I think MMA gloves are crap, to be honest. First off, they're square. When they give them to you, they're a square piece of 4 ounce glove. They say that they're open fingered so you can grapple, and then you can close your hand to punch. I believe the gloves should be rounder, because we hit from weird angles. If you relax your hand, the way the gloves are now, the natural position is for the hand to be completely open, which is why so many people get poked in the eye. If they were curved, and you put them on and relaxed your hand, your hand would follow the curve, not completely open. You'd only have to squeeze a little bit to make a fist with a more curved glove. It's a balance that's missing with the current gloves. The padding, instead of just falling off at the sides, should follow the curve of the hand more.
When we get the gloves, the UFC tries to help out by sort of curving the gloves for you overnight. You also have to kind of stretch them out a little bit, because they're brand new and stiff. Some commission guys, like in Toronto, they wouldn't let anybody touch my gloves but me, and the problem with that is I can barely get them on. When you can't break them in, they're very uncomfortable. I had to put them on early and start hitting the pads early, the day of the fight, just so I could feel comfortable, and not have the circulation cut off in my fingers. If I do less handwraps, then I might break my hands again.
After last night's eye poke stoppages, I thought now would be a good time to resurrect this quote. One thing is for sure, the manufacturers, commissions and / or promotions definitely need to look into coming up with a better design for the safety of the athletes.
You can follow Cub via his Twitter account, @CubSwanson