Why Do UFC Fighters Apply Vaseline?

Learn the truth behind why UFC fighters coat themselves with Vaseline before entering combat, plus get tips on alternative forms of skin protection here!

Cutman Applying Vaseline To The Face
Cutman Applying Vaseline To The Face

Do you ever wonder why UFC fighters use Vaseline? It is a legal practice in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but many people are unaware of why exactly it’s used. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits and usage of Vaseline for MMA fighters and explain how better protection can be achieved when using it during fights.

We will also provide tips on alternative forms of skin protection for combat sports athletes who want to stay safe while still performing at their best. If you’re an MMA fan and looking to learn more about fighter preparation before entering the Octagon or street fight, then read on!

Key Takeaways:

  • Fighters often apply Vaseline to their face to reduce the risk of cuts.
  • UFC fighters are only allowed to use Vaseline on their face.
  • Rubbing Vaseline on the body is illegal in MMA.
  • Vaseline makes the skin more slippery and elastic.
  • Vaseline decreases the friction between the face and the glove.
  • Vaseline is applied to the fighter’s face to lower the likelihood of a cut.
  • Getting hit with a leather MMA or boxing glove against the face can cause lacerations.
  • Vaseline is often applied to the fighter’s face by a cutman.

What is Vaseline?

Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is a translucent and odorless jelly-like substance made from petroleum. It’s primarily used as a lubricant to reduce friction between the skin and clothing or other objects.

Vaseline has various medical benefits for humans such as protecting and moisturizing the skin, relieving minor cuts, eliminating chapped lips among many more. In Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters use it to protect their face from cuts during fights due its protective properties. UFC rules only allow Vaseline to be applied on the fighter’s face which provides an extra layer of protection from punches and kicks during combats.

Vaseline in MMA

Why UFC Fighters Use Vaseline on Their Faces?

The use of Vaseline on a fighter’s face is a preventive measure to reduce the risk of cuts during a fight. By applying petroleum jelly to the skin, it becomes more slippery and elastic, making it less prone to tearing. In the unfortunate event of a cut, Vaseline is applied to the wound to slow down the bleeding, allowing the fighter to continue the match.

This practice of applying Vaseline to the face is not unique to UFC but was inherited from boxing. In boxing, it is the responsibility of the cutman to stop the bleeding during the fight, especially between rounds or when requested by the referee.

To achieve this, the cutman uses a miniature iron-like tool to press against the fighter’s face, which helps to cool down any swelling between rounds. Once the bleeding is controlled, the cutman generously applies Vaseline to the affected area to aid in the healing process.

Despite the use of Vaseline and the cutman’s best efforts, some weight classes in UFC have fighters who hit hard, making cuts inevitable. In such cases, the referee may intervene and stop the fight if the cut is too severe and poses a danger to the fighter’s health.

In conclusion, the use of Vaseline on a fighter’s face during a match is essential in reducing the risk of cuts and facilitating the healing process. UFC fighters rely on the expertise of the cutman to minimize the risk of severe cuts and injuries, ensuring the safety of the fighters during the match.

Benefits of Using Vaseline For UFC Fighters

Vaseline can provide multiple benefits to UFC fighters, such as reducing friction, preventing cuts and bruises, minimizing swelling, forming a protective barrier over the skin, and promoting healing. Keep reading to learn more about why UFC fighters wear Vaseline.

Reduces Friction

Vaseline is often applied to fighter’s faces before, during and after fights to reduce friction. This helps fighters avoid getting cut or bruised on their face due to punches from opponents.

By creating a slippery barrier between the boxer’s skin and the glove, Vaseline allows for punches to be absorbed without damaging the face of one’s opponent. It also makes it much easier for UFC fighters to move and continue fighting with greater speed and agility despite taking multiple punches, thus reducing fatigue levels during fights.

Prevents Cuts And Bruises

Vaseline is often used in MMA fights to prevent cuts and bruises. It creates a slippery layer on the skin that acts as an extra barrier between punches, reducing friction and impact.

Since it has a low melting point it quickly melts when rubbed onto the fighter’s face, creating an additional level of protection against cuts. Cutmen use Vaseline on fighters’ faces before they enter the ring, apply it during matches, or even put some on their gloves as they fight in order to further reduce the risk of facial lacerations from strikes.

Minimizes Swelling

In fights, swelling can occur due to the impact of punches and kicks. Applying Vaseline on the fighter’s face helps minimize swellings as it forms a protective layer against physical trauma.

This is why Vaseline is one of the most important items for cutmen in MMA fights. According to research, using an ointment like Vaseline has been scientifically proven to reduce both inflammation and swelling. Furthermore, it prevents additional injury or tears by providing cushioning that absorbs shock from punches and kicks while lessening further damage.

Reduce Visibility Of Bruises

When it comes to UFC, the bruises on a fighter’s face are typically the most visible sign of the battle. Applying Vaseline, or any ointment such as petroleum jelly can reduce visibility of these bruises and help conceal them before and after a match.

The protective barrier formed by Vaseline on your skin reduces impacts from punches, meaning less skin discoloration left behind. Since it also moisturizes and nourishes the skin simultaneously, its effects can last for up to several hours after initial application.

Moreover, it helps in providing hydration thus preventing further damage due to lack moisture while protecting against infection caused by dirt or other debris that gets into cuts during a fight. All things considered, using Vaseline in MMA fights is essential for fighters looking to obscure cuts and hide their bruises from view even after intense physical contact has occurred during combat.

Forms Protective Barrier

Vaseline forms a protective barrier on the fighter’s face, reducing the effects of punches and kicks during combat. By creating this slippery surface it is more difficult for opponents to grip or lock onto skin which can reduce damage caused by take downs or grappling techniques.

It also limits how much blood gets pushed out when someone takes a punch as Vaseline helps prevent tearing of skin and capillaries beneath the surface. Finally, due to its water-resistant properties, Vaseline can help protect against sweat running into cuts and slowing down recovery time between rounds.

Reduces Moisture Loss

Vaseline can reduce moisture loss in the skin, helping to keep fighters’ skin hydrated and healthy. Due to sweat and other environmental factors, such as heat or humidity, moisture can easily be lost from the fighter’s body when competing in an MMA match.

A thin layer of Vaseline applied to the face of a fighter can help protect the skin from rapid moisture loss during a fight. Additionally, Vaseline is also known for its protective properties which can act as a barrier between punches, kicks and elbows that may be thrown around in an UFC match.

Prevents Skin Irritation

Vaseline is used by MMA fighters to prevent skin irritation while fighting. It helps create a protective barrier in order to keep the fighter’s face from getting overly dry, which can lead to itching and irritation. Fighters may also be using Vaseline for other purposes such as reducing friction between their body and opponent’s gloves, or keeping sweat out of their eyes when grappling on the ground. Vaseline not only keeps the fighter comfortable during a fight but also protects them from any potential skin irritations that could occur without it.

During competition, fighters should apply Vaseline far in advance of the bout so it can be absorbed into their skin and provide maximum protection during combat. The cutman will often check on a fighter throughout the match to make sure they still have appropriate levels of protection around the face, neck, shoulders or wherever else needed due to excessive sweating or taking punches. A few applications of Vaseline here and there not only prevents skin irritation but also helps fighters maintain optimal performance through an entire fight.

Promotes Skin Healing

Vaseline is often applied to a fighter’s face to promote healing of any minor cuts and bruises that may occur during the match. It helps soothe sore skin, moisturize, reduce inflammation and irritation, and keep scabs from forming.

Additionally, Vaseline serves as a barrier between the fighter’s skin and the glove or floor surface reducing further damage. The jelly-like texture also keeps dirt particles from entering an open wound helping it heal faster without complications. In addition to topical application of Vaseline, fighters should drink plenty of water before a bout for overall health benefits including rapid wound recovery.

How Do Fighters Apply Vaseline?

Cutman Treating Fighter
Photo by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann

Fighters typically apply Vaseline to their face before and during the fight, as well as after the fight for skin healing purposes.

Before The Fight

Before a UFC fight, fighters often apply Vaseline to their face and body in order to reduce friction between the skin and gloves and reduce the risk of cuts. This practice is also known as “greasing” or “slicking up.” Fighters use Vaseline because it creates a slippery layer on the skin that repels punches and other contact impacts.

Additionally, Vaseline helps create an elastic barrier around the face which protects it from bruises caused by hits. Lastly, using Vaseline can help prevent moisture loss during the fight due to sweating.

During The Fight

During a fight, the cornerman and cutman will frequently apply Vaseline to the fighter’s face. This is done to minimize friction caused by punches and grappling.

The Vaseline also helps prevent cuts and bruises, as well as reducing swelling or discoloration of facial injuries. Fighters can also request a sponge filled with petroleum jelly which they can then apply while in the octagon, enabling them to grease their faces quickly when necessary. This is especially important during long MMA fights where fighters may get hit numerous times in quick succession without time for cornermen assistance.

After The Fight

At the end of a fight, UFC fighters need to be sure that their skin is fully healed. Applying Vaseline at this stage in the fight helps reduce inflammation and promote faster healing.

It can also minimize any post-fight bruising or swelling. The Vaseline acts as a protective barrier between your skin and potential contaminants while also helping to keep moisture locked in so that the skin doesn’t dry out too quickly after a bout. In addition, it can help provide a soothing feeling which will aid with recovery and should help you return to full health much sooner than if you hadn’t used it.

Is Vaseline Allowed In The UFC?

Vaseline is allowed in the UFC and is typically used by fighters for a variety of reasons. The use of Vaseline on the face between rounds is specifically permitted and is often applied by a cutman primarily to reduce friction and prevent cuts for MMA fighters.

However, it has also been known to help minimize swelling, reduce visibility of bruises, form a protective barrier against moisture loss as well as skin irritation, and promote healing from any existing wounds. All other uses of Vaseline are illegal in combat sports such as UFC while fighting inside the octagon or boxing ring.

Alternatives To Vaseline

include Petroleum Jelly, Coconut oil, Aloe vera gel, Lanolin, Tea Tree Oil and more. Get to know more about other alternatives to Vaseline that could help reduce friction in the octagon and secure a win!

Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is a form of semi-solid mineral oil that has many medical and skin related uses. It is commonly used for treating minor cuts, burns, and scrapes as it forms a protective barrier over the wound and helps keep out dirt, germs, and other irritants.

Petroleum jelly is also effective in reducing friction during MMA fights which can help prevent bruising to delicate facial tissue. It also accelerates skin healing by blocking moisture loss from the skin’s surface.

Petroleum jelly is easy to apply directly on the face or through a cloth such as a Vaseline sponge. In addition to its protective properties, petroleum jelly may be applied before or after combat activities to limit swelling of injured areas such as bruises or abrasions caused by punches or grappling maneuvers during MMA fighting events.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be used as an effective alternative to Vaseline for UFC fighters. Coconut oil is naturally moisturizing, reduces friction as well as soothes the skin and helps prevent bruising.

It also has anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce swelling, helping to protect the fighter’s face from potential cuts and bruises caused by punches. Coconut oil is completely natural and contains no potentially harmful chemicals or additives like some petroleum-based ointments and creams.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is an effective alternative to Vaseline. This natural ingredient helps fight inflammation and reduce irritation while promoting skin healing.

Aloe vera gel contains polysaccharides, which are known to increase moisture levels in the skin and help maintain a healthy outer layer of cells that provide protection from outside contaminants. In addition, aloe vera also contains antioxidants which can help repair damaged skin tissues as well as promote cell growth and regeneration for faster healing process. It also provides a cooling sensation on the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which make it ideal for reducing swelling and pain caused by MMA fights or boxing matches.


Lanolin is a greasy substance that can be used as an alternative to Vaseline in combat sports, such as MMA and boxing. It helps fighters reduce friction between their skin and the glove, therefore reducing the risk of cuts and bruises.

Lanolin also forms a protective barrier on the fighter’s face, preventing skin irritation caused by sweat or moisture build-up during matches. Additionally, lanolin helps prevent water loss from the skin due to its thick consistency which reduces evaporation from the surface of the epidermis. Finally, it has been known to promote faster healing in damaged areas of wounded fighters.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a powerful essential oil that provides many benefits for medical and cosmetic applications. Tea tree oil is an effective natural remedy for skin infections, fungi and bacteria.

In the UFC, tea tree oil can be applied to the face before and after a fight to help reduce bruises, swelling, acne scars and infection risk. Furthermore, due to its anti-inflammatory properties it helps limit irritation caused by punches in combat sports such as MMA or boxing.

Additionally, thanks to its antiseptic qualities it helps treat cuts caused by punches during a fight while promoting healing of damaged tissue. As a result of this tea tree oil has become increasingly popular among UFC fighters looking for an alternative to Vaseline protection during their bouts.

How Much Vaseline Do Fighters Put On Their Face?

Most fighter put on a thin layer of Vaseline to the area around the eyes and nose. A light layer helps with sweat to make sure it does not cause stinging in the eyes, as well as provide some protection from punches that may result in facial cuts or cauliflower ear.

It also helps reduce visibility of bruises so that opponents cannot gauge how much damage is being inflicted by punches. Fighters typically don’t apply a large amount because doing so can decrease skin elasticity and limit blood flow, making you more vulnerable to facial injuries and knockouts. Additionally, too much Vaseline will leave excess grease on your opponent’s body or gloves which could lead to penalties during competitions according to UFC regulations.

Can You Put Any Medication On Fighters Face During A Fight?

As regulated by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, fighters are not allowed to use any kind of medication during a fight. According to USADA rules, fighters cannot put on “any type of prescription or non-prescription drug” topically (meaning applied on the skin). The only exception is Vaseline which is used as face protection by many MMA and boxing fighters as it helps absorb sweat and acts as a protective barrier against punches and kicks. However, medical personnel such as doctors may apply ointment or other treatment if they consider it necessary for health reasons.

If there is an open cut on a fighter’s face that requires additional medical attention then special coagulant will be applied in order to stop the bleeding and close up the wound. Additionally, certain medications are allowed to treat potential swelling that may occur after taking too many blows during fights or matches – but only with permission from USADA authorities. Fighters should stay prepared and know exactly what sort of medication can be used in case injuries occur during their UFC fight so that they do not get disqualified due to violations of anti-doping regulations.

How Are Cuts Treated During The Fight?

Cuts are treated during the fight by a cutman. A cutman is usually in the corner of the fighter who wipes away excess blood and treats any cuts using Vaseline, coagulants or pressure to the area.

Cuts are treated with Vaseline which creates a barrier between skin and glove to help limit friction when punches enter contact with skin thus preventing further damage to wound. Coagulants are also applied around wounds which help reduce bleeding allowing fighters more time as they last up to 8 minutes before needing renewal.

Pressure is used as well on deeper cuts since it restricts blood flow, helping stop bleeding faster. Lastly, some fighters have been known to use petroleum jelly mixed with Vitamin E oil for better protection against grazes and scratches too.

How Is Swelling Treated During The Fight?

Packed ice is applied to the swollen area immediately after a fight. UFC fighters use a variety of techniques, such as holding ice packs against their skin or immersing an injured limb in an ice bath, to reduce swelling and inflammation during combat.

Ice therapy helps regulate blood flow in damaged tissue, reducing pain and allowing for faster healing. An anti-inflammatory ointment may also be applied to minimize puffiness and bruising between rounds. Fighters may also use topical creams with active ingredients like arnica, aloe vera,and vitamin E to further soothe bruises caused by punches.

Additional Tips For UFC Fighters

For UFC fighters, following these tips can help ensure better performance and overall health. Be sure to read more about the benefits of using Vaseline in combat sports for an edge during your next fight!

Drink Plenty of Water

Water consumption is vital for all fighters, as it helps to replenish lost nutrients and hydrate the body. Proper hydration also allows muscles to work harder and longer with less fatigue.

UFC fighters should aim for at least 2-3 liters of water a day to ensure their bodies stay in peak condition. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids before a fight can help reduce post-fight muscle soreness.

This can be especially helpful if they are going into multiple rounds or have an intense fight planned ahead of time. Staying hydrated during a fight is important too; maintaining proper hydration will help prevent exhaustion that could potentially lead to early defeat.

Boxing Athlete With Water Bottle

Wear Light Clothing

Wearing light clothing is important for UFC fighters as it can reduce the amount of friction caused due to contact with the opponent during a fight. Lighter frames also require less energy from a fighter and helps him/her focus more on their techniques and strategies instead of worrying about heavy clothes.

Additionally, light clothing allows the fighter to move faster, allowing them to quickly dodge punches or counterattack when necessary. This can be particularly beneficial for wrestlers who need quick reflexes to get out of difficult submission holds without getting injured. Taking off any jewelry that can potentially cause harm during combat is also recommended by experts in order to minimize risk.

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is always a great way to protect the skin from the harsh environmental conditions encountered in UFC fights. It can also be used to reduce long-term skin damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Sunscreen should be applied before and during UFC events, as well as in between rounds when fighters go back to their corners for cutsmen and cornerman checkups. During these breaks, applying sunscreen can help soothe tight or sore skin while also providing necessary protection against UV rays.

Additionally, it may even limit facial discolouration after knockouts or eye pokes that cause bruising of the fighter’s face. Aside from just fighting purposes, sunscreen should also be worn on non-fight days in order further protect the skin and promote healthy cellular regeneration.

Stay Properly Hydrated

Maintaining proper hydration levels during an MMA fight is critical to ensure one’s performance is at its peak. Proper hydration helps fighters stay alert and focused, while also allowing them to feel stronger and move faster.

UFC fighters should make sure they are drinking plenty of water leading up to the fight, as well as on the night of their bout. Drinking lots of water before a match can help reduce muscle fatigue which may occur due to dehydration or over exertion in sparring sessions. Additionally, fighting with optimal hydration can help prevent heat-related ailments such as cramping or exhaustion from occurring in the octagon.


What does Vaseline do for a UFC fighter?

Vaseline is applied to the face of a UFC fighter before and during bouts to reduce friction, skin abrasions, and sweat from interfering with the fighters’ vision. It also provides protection against cuts that might be caused by an opponent’s punches or elbows.

How is Vaseline applied in UFC fights?

A coach or cornerman typically applies a thin layer of Vaseline to the fighter’s face and any other exposed skin before the fight. They focus on areas that are more likely to be injured, such as the forehead, cheeks, and nose. The corners of the fighter’s mouth and ears may also be coated in Vaseline to prevent cuts and abrasions.

Is the use of Vaseline in UFC fights regulated?

Yes, the use of Vaseline in UFC fights is regulated by the Athletic Commission in each state where the fight takes place. The commission sets rules and guidelines for the application of Vaseline, including the amount that can be used and where it can be applied. In some cases, commission members may even apply the Vaseline themselves to ensure that it is used correctly.

Can Vaseline give fighters an unfair advantage in UFC fights?

No, the use of Vaseline is not considered to give fighters an unfair advantage in UFC fights. Some have raised concerns that fighters may use Vaseline to make their skin slippery, which could make it more difficult for their opponents to get a good grip. However, these concerns have not been supported by any evidence, and the use of Vaseline is generally accepted as a legitimate and safe practice in MMA.

What happens if Vaseline gets in a fighter’s eyes during a UFC fight?

If Vaseline gets in a fighter’s eyes during a UFC fight, it can cause serious problems such as blurred vision and discomfort. The fighter can request that the referee temporarily stop the fight to allow them to clear their eyes and continue fighting. In some cases, the fighter may also request that the Vaseline be removed from their face to prevent it from getting into their eyes again.


In conclusion, Vaseline is an essential tool that UFC fighters use to protect themselves during fights. The slickness of the gel helps reduce friction and allows a certain level of skin protection from punches, grapples, eye pokes and other contact during combats.

It also provides benefits such as reducing swelling, minimizing visibility of bruises and forming a protective barrier over cuts. These advantages make it easier for fighters to compete in the Octagon while also helping them heal faster after each fight.

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