Since it was first introduced in the U.S. in 1993, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has begun to replace boxing and wrestling as American's favorite spectator combat sport. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of people (both men and women) who participate in MMA. However, relatively few people have yet to gain the professional ambition to become a competition fighter. Instead, many of the new participants joined after discovering the health benefits of the excellent cardiovascular workout that the MMA training regimen utilizes, as well as the valuable self-defense techniques it teaches.
Compared to most sports, there is a relatively small amount of equipment that is necessary, or even allowed, during a MMA competition. One important element, however, are the proper gloves. MMA gloves come in two major types: the amateur gloves, which start out at around 6 ounces (170 g) and can weigh in at as much as 10 ounces; and the professional type, which top out at 4 ounces (110g). The latter type is pretty well useless for training, since it has little in the way of padding. So, for more effective training purposes, when just starting out it is recommended that you choose amateur gloves that are about 10 ounces in order to build upper arm and shoulder strength and endurance; next to the hip and leg muscles, those of the arms and shoulders are the most vulnerable to strain and possible injury.
Under the category of amateur gloves, there are a few different varieties. Bag gloves are designed for just that: bag workouts. Since there is relatively little padding, you'll want to use handwraps with these in order to protect your knuckles. Aside from bag gloves, there are other amateur gloves that most people just basically refer to as MMA training gloves because they have become widely associated with training purposes. They are similar to boxing gloves and are good for sparring as well as bag workouts.
Once you are ready to step into the ring, it's time to start thinking about actual MMA, or "grappling" gloves. These have separate openings for the four fingers and thus allow for the use of wrestling moves as well as padding over the knuckles. Recently, a "hybrid" type of glove has come on to the market, which combines the benefits of both the training as well as the fight glove, providing some extra padding around the knuckle area while enabling the wearer to use grappling moves in the ring.
Although many gyms keep gloves on hand for use by their members, it is highly recommended that you purchase your own training equipment and gear for health reasons. There are many different companies today that produce MMA gloves, and not all are created equal. You can spend as little as $20 for a pair, but chances are these won't be durable; you'll be replacing them about every three months. Plan on paying between $60 to $100 for a decent pair. Although this may seem like a considerable investment, you'll get much more use out of them. Some of the highest quality MMA gloves are now manufactured by brands such as Boon, Combat, Fairtex, and Windy. Additionally, at least one motorcycle company, Hayabusa, has broken into the MMA industry and is also making quality gloves. Hayabusa must figure that durability fit to withstand the rigors of motorcycling will most certainly serve you well when it comes to combat.