Can You Break Bones in MMA?

By Logan •  Updated: 12/06/21 •  4 min read

MMA fighters frequently break bones during fights. The most common broken bones are in the hands. Small bones in the hands are subject to breaking because they’re not made to withstand the impact they experience during a fight. 

In this article, we’ll look into the most common bones MMA fighters break during fights. We’ll also look at some of the other possibilities. So, read on to find out more about an MMA fighter’s world in the cage.

Can You Break Bones in MMA?

How Common Are Broken Bones in MMA?

Due to the nature of MMA competitions, broken bones are somewhat common. Their severity ranges from minor fractures all the way to total breaks.

Bones in the hands and face are the most commonly broken. However, sometimes bones in the arms and legs also get broken.

Let’s look at the most common bone breaks in MMA.

Boxer’s Break or Hand Brake

The most common bones MMA fighters break are those in their hands. There are many bones in the hand. A human hand has 27 bones in total. Most of them aren’t designed for hard impacts. 

The hand bones that break most frequently are the ones behind the last two knuckles. When fighters throw punches, those last two knuckles are what they’re meant to use to land the hit. That’s why they often get broken.

Nose Break

MMA fighters take a lot of hits to the face. Your nose is centrally located on your face. At the same time the other guy might be breaking the bones in his hand, his opponent may be getting his nose broken. 

Unfortunately, once a nose is broken the first time, it’s even easier for it to get broken again. 

Orbital Fracture

As we mentioned above, these fighters take a lot of hits to the face. Just above the nose are the eye sockets. The eyes are surrounded by rings of bone that make up the eye sockets. 

When an orbital fracture occurs, there’s often trauma to the eye, as well. They may experience double vision, some other impairment, or vision loss. Fighters with fractures to these bones typically feel a good bit of pain because of the number of sensory fibers in this area. 

Orbital fractures don’t always heal the best. They may leave the fighter with a deformity in the eye socket bones. It sometimes causes MMA fighters to live with social anxiety or depression. So, a broken bone may lead to other issues, as well.

It’s certainly not illegal to break your opponent’s bones in MMA. It’s the nature of the beast. When fighters lock into a submission move, it consists of holding the opponent in some sort of locked position until they submit and the fight is called. 

During those submission locks, bones sometimes snap under the pressure. It’s incidental, so as long as the opponent in the lock was given ample time to tap out, this would be viewed as legal and fair. 

Can You Break Someone’s Neck in MMA?

There is a submission lock called the neck crank. Though technically this could break a neck, it’s highly unlikely that it will in a fight. The torque force it would take to break the neck is more than one human can produce.

Neck cranks can and do cause many other serious neck injuries and issues, but they don’t break neck bones.

Final Thoughts

Bones are broken in many MMA fights. Fighters often break bones in their hands when hitting their opponents. MMA fighters also experience broken noses and orbital fractures quite regularly. While it’s not legal to intentionally break your opponent’s bones, it’s a common occurrence in this sport.


Hi, I've been an avid MMA fan all my life. I've been training in martial arts for the last 5 years and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way to help to aspiring martial artists get started.

Keep Reading