The Surprising Reason Why Many MMA Fighters Paint Their Toenails

Many MMA fighters have a strict grooming routine that includes hair and skin care. One practice that may come as a surprise to some is the practice of painting their toenails.

While it may seem unusual or unexpected, painting toenails has been a common practice among MMA fighters for many years.

This practice is not just an aesthetic choice but also has a functional aspect.

This article will explore the history, benefits, and tips of painting toenails for MMA fighters, including how it can prevent injuries in the ring.

The benefits of painting toenails for MMA fighters

Painting toenails may seem like a small and insignificant practice, but it can greatly impact a fighter’s performance in the cage. For starters, it can prevent injuries and improve recovery by strengthening the nails and protecting them from trauma.

In addition, it helps the fighters prevent their toenails from cracking or splitting up. A layer of nail polish above the toe reportedly hardens the toenail, which minimizes the danger of the nail being battered during the fight – while kicking or enduring toe stomps.

Additionally, painting toenails can also have mental and emotional benefits for fighters. It can help them relax, focus and boost their confidence before a match.

The practice of painting toenails

The practice of painting toenails is not new to MMA and has been around for many years. It is believed to have originated in various cultures and spiritual practices, where painting toenails is seen as a way to connect with the earth and promote healing.

Many MMA fighters, particularly those who practice martial arts that originated in Asia, still adhere to this practice. One notable examples of fighters with painted toenails is Andrei Arlovski:

Tips for painting toenails for MMA fighters

When painting toenails for MMA fighters, it’s important to use the right nail polish. Regular nail polish can chip and wear off easily, which is not ideal for fighters. Instead, they should opt for a long-lasting, chip-resistant nail polish that can withstand the rigors of training and competition. Some popular brands that are suitable for MMA fighters include OPI and Essie.


In conclusion, painting toenails may seem like an unusual practice for MMA fighters, but it can greatly impact their performance in the cage. Painting toenails can provide various benefits for fighters, from preventing injuries to boosting confidence.

It is also an easy and inexpensive way to take care of oneself. Many fighters also find it a way to connect with their cultural or spiritual roots.

By following the tips mentioned in this article and using the right type of nail polish, MMA fighters can safely and effectively paint their toenails and reap the benefits it provides.

Remember, small things like this can make a big difference in your training and performance. Give it a try and see how it works for you.


Why do MMA fighters paint their toes black?

MMA fighters paint their toes black as it is a traditional practice in many martial arts and is believed to have spiritual significance. It is also thought to provide a sense of focus, discipline, and power. It is also believed to help prevent injuries by strengthening the nails and protecting them from trauma.

Do UFC fighters paint their toenails?

Many UFC fighters paint their toenails, a common practice among MMA fighters.

Can you have painted nails in BJJ?

It is generally allowed to have painted nails in BJJ as long as the polish is not chipped or worn off. However, it is always best to check with the specific school or tournament’s rules and regulations, as some may have different guidelines.

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