why do mma fighters wear nail polish

why do mma fighters wear nail polish

Why Do MMA Fighters Wear Nail Polish?

When watching mixed martial arts (MMA) fights, you might have noticed that some fighters wear nail polish. This might seem surprising at first, as nail polish is typically associated with femininity and beauty. However, there are several reasons why male and female MMA fighters choose to wear nail polish during their matches. In this article, we will explore the various reasons behind this practice.

1. Personal Expression

why do mma fighters wear nail polish

One reason why MMA fighters wear nail polish is for personal expression. Just like tattoos or unique hairstyles, nail polish allows fighters to showcase their individuality and personal style in the ring. It can be seen as a form of self-expression and a way for fighters to stand out from the crowd.

Moreover, nail polish can also serve as a symbol of empowerment. By wearing it, fighters challenge traditional gender norms and demonstrate that they can be both strong and feminine.

2. Sponsorship and Branding

Another reason why MMA fighters wear nail polish is for sponsorship and branding purposes. Many fighters have endorsement deals with various companies, including beauty and cosmetic brands. By wearing nail polish, they can promote these brands and fulfill their contractual obligations.

In addition, nail polish can also help fighters establish their personal brand. It can become a recognizable trademark that fans associate with a particular fighter, similar to their fighting style or signature move.

3. Psychological Advantage

Believe it or not, wearing nail polish can provide a psychological advantage for MMA fighters. The vibrant colors on their nails can serve as a distraction to their opponents, momentarily diverting their attention and potentially giving the wearer an edge in the fight.

Furthermore, nail polish can boost a fighter’s confidence and self-esteem. Feeling good about their appearance can translate into improved performance inside the cage.

4. Protection

One practical reason for wearing nail polish is protection. MMA fighters often train extensively, including grappling and striking techniques. By keeping their nails short and coated with nail polish, they can reduce the risk of scratching or injuring their opponents during training or fights.

Nail polish can act as a barrier, preventing accidental scratches that could lead to infections or other complications. It also helps to reinforce the importance of maintaining proper hygiene and cleanliness in the sport.

5. Tradition and Ritual

In some cases, the use of nail polish in MMA can be attributed to tradition and ritual. Certain fighters may have personal or cultural reasons for incorporating nail polish into their fighting attire.

For example, some fighters may come from martial arts backgrounds that have a long history of using nail polish as part of their rituals or ceremonies. By continuing this practice, they pay homage to their heritage and maintain a connection to their martial arts roots.

6. Visibility and Identification

During a fast-paced MMA fight, visibility and identification can be crucial. Nail polish can help spectators, judges, and referees easily identify the fighters in the cage.

The bright and contrasting colors of the nail polish can make it easier for the audience to distinguish between fighters, especially from a distance or in low-light conditions. This ensures that the right fighter is credited with their actions and prevents any confusion or mistakes in judging.


The reasons why MMA fighters wear nail polish are diverse and multifaceted. From personal expression and sponsorship opportunities to psychological advantages and practical protection, nail polish serves various purposes in the world of MMA. Whether it is a conscious choice or a tradition passed down through generations, the presence of nail polish in the sport adds an intriguing element to the fighters’ overall image and performance.

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