Can You Wear Face Paint in MMA?

By Logan •  Updated: 12/27/21 •  3 min read

MMA fighters are not permitted to wear face paint for a fight. The thought is it could change the outcome of an event. Face paint could cause a blow that would otherwise land hard to slide off the side of the face. That’s unfair. It could also cause issues for a fighter who gets it in their eyes.

Let’s look at what would happen if MMA fighters did wear face paint or makeup in the cage. Then, we’ll see what the official rules are in the UFC. Keep reading to see why you can’t wear face paint during an MMA fight.

Can You Wear Face Paint in MMA?

Why Can’t You Wear Face Paint in MMA Fighting?

Face paint and makeup are composed of various ingredients. MMA fighters can’t wear face paint because it could end up in the eyes of themselves or their opponents. That would cause issues during the fight and could affect the results. 

It could also create an unfair advantage for the wearer. The UFC has created regulations that make fights fairer. They established uniform rules, so fighters are on a more even playing field with one another.

Can MMA Fighters Wear Makeup?

Neither male nor female MMA fighters can wear makeup for a fight in the UFC. There’s been some debate over whether female fighters should be allowed to wear cosmetics, though.

The UFC came down with a hard no on makeup for women fighters. The organization wants its events to be all about the sport and the fights themselves. They don’t want female athletes to be viewed as glamourize hype attractions. The women are respected athletes who enter the cage for a serious fight.

What Do MMA Fighters Put on Their Face?

Generally, coaches and trainers will apply petroleum jelly, like Vaseline, all over the heaviest targeted areas of the face. It makes the skin more slippery and elastic. It protects against tearing. 

A tear in the skin on the face often causes a lot of bleeding. Blood in the eyes is a serious disadvantage. If it’s hard to see a hit coming, the fighter cannot block or evade well. The petroleum jelly is meant to keep wounds from opening up.

What Is Not Allowed in MMA?

So, face paint and makeup are not allowed in MMA. What else is on the unacceptable list?

These are regulations directly related to the UFC organization. Amateur clubs and other organizations may have different rules.

Can MMA Fighters Paint Their Nails?

They can and often do paint their toenails. MMA fighters usually paint their nails to make them look better, to keep them from cracking, or to express themselves.

Final Thoughts

MMA fighters cannot wear face paint in the UFC. They’re allowed to put petroleum jelly on their faces but are not allowed face paint or makeup. It’s considered unsafe and could lead to a change in the results of a fight.


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.

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