Why do they put Vaseline on MMA fighters’ faces?
When watching a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight, you may have noticed that the fighters’ faces often appear shiny and greasy. This is because their cornermen apply a thin layer of Vaseline to their faces during the breaks between rounds. The use of Vaseline serves several purposes and has become a common practice in the sport. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the application of Vaseline on MMA fighters’ faces from various perspectives.
1. Protection against cuts and abrasions
One of the primary reasons for applying Vaseline on the faces of MMA fighters is to minimize the risk of cuts and abrasions. Vaseline acts as a lubricant, making it harder for an opponent’s strikes to cause significant damage to the skin. The greasy texture of Vaseline allows punches and kicks to slide off the face, reducing the likelihood of cuts and abrasions.
Additionally, Vaseline helps in preventing the reopening of existing cuts or wounds during a fight. By creating a barrier between the skin and the outside elements, it minimizes the chances of blood flow and keeps the wounds sealed, allowing the fighters to continue competing without excessive bleeding.
2. Reducing friction and preventing mat burns
Another benefit of applying Vaseline on MMA fighters’ faces is to reduce friction and prevent mat burns. During grappling exchanges on the ground, fighters’ faces often come into contact with the rough surface of the mat. The application of Vaseline creates a slippery layer, making it difficult for the mat to cause friction burns or irritate the skin.
By minimizing the discomfort caused by mat burns, fighters can focus on their techniques and strategies without distractions. This allows for a smoother and more efficient performance inside the octagon.
3. Making it harder for opponents to secure submissions
The application of Vaseline on the face can also make it more challenging for opponents to secure submissions. When grappling, fighters often aim to control their opponent’s head and neck to set up chokes or joint locks. The greasy surface created by Vaseline makes it harder for opponents to maintain a firm grip on the fighter’s face, reducing their ability to secure submissions.
This advantage can buy valuable time for the fighter to escape or counter their opponent’s submission attempts, potentially turning the tide of the fight in their favor.
4. Psychological effect on opponents
The shiny and greasy appearance of a fighter’s face due to Vaseline can have a psychological effect on their opponents. The slickness of the skin might make opponents feel less confident in their striking abilities, as their punches and kicks may not land as effectively as they would on a dry surface.
Moreover, the visual impact of a fighter’s face covered in Vaseline can create a perception of invincibility or toughness. This can intimidate opponents and potentially affect their performance, giving the Vaseline-applied fighter a psychological advantage.
5. Enhancing visibility for the fighter
Contrary to popular belief, the application of Vaseline on the face does not impair a fighter’s vision. In fact, it can enhance visibility during a fight. Sweat and blood can often accumulate on a fighter’s face, obstructing their vision and making it difficult to see their opponent’s strikes and movements.
Vaseline helps repel water-based substances like sweat and blood, preventing them from sticking to the skin. This ensures that the fighter’s vision remains clear throughout the fight, allowing them to react more effectively to their opponent’s attacks.
6. Tradition and ritual
The application of Vaseline on MMA fighters’ faces has become a tradition and ritual within the sport. It is a practice that has been passed down from generation to generation, with cornermen taking pride in preparing their fighters for battle.
Applying Vaseline has become a symbol of care and support from the cornermen, as they take the time to tend to the fighter’s needs during the breaks between rounds. This ritualistic aspect adds to the overall spectacle and tradition of MMA, making it an integral part of the sport’s culture.
In conclusion, the application of Vaseline on MMA fighters’ faces serves various purposes. It provides protection against cuts and abrasions, reduces friction and mat burns, makes it harder for opponents to secure submissions, has a psychological effect on opponents, enhances visibility for the fighter, and holds a significant tradition within the sport. This practice has become an essential element of MMA, contributing to the safety, performance, and overall experience of the fighters and the audience alike.
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