Why Do MMA Fighters Use Vaseline?

There is more to a mixed martial arts fight than meets the eye. Fighters have their routines and their cornermen work alongside them to prepare them for their bout.

If you have ever watched a fighter make their entrance to the octagon, you may have noticed the fighter stop to get Vaseline rubbed on areas of impact, but why?

Why Do MMA Fighters Use Vaseline? 

Fighters use vaseline or petroleum jelly to make the skin around major areas of impact more elastic and slippery. This makes those areas less likely to tear and can prevent fighters from bleeding during a fight. Cutmen apply vaseline to fighters before and during a fight to help with swelling.

There are several benefits to using vaseline before and during a fight and this article will cover everything you need to know about it.

Read on to learn about the benefits of Vaseline during training, the benefits of Vaseline during a fight, and what the best Vaseline products for fighters are. In this article, you will find an in-depth look at how effective Vaseline is for MMA fighters.

Does Vaseline Really Work?

Yes, vaseline works for fighters. Although cutmen are allowed to use vaseline on those vulnerable areas of a fighter’s body, there are rules as to where the vaseline can be applied. However, legal areas like the fighters face, show several benefits from vaseline during the fight.

MMA is a dangerous sport and fighters can bleed at any moment. Some fights end up being stopped early because a fighter’s cut is so bad.

Cornermen look and find the areas of the face that are taking the biggest beating during the fight and apply the Vaseline to it to cure swelling and create a line of defense for potentially bad wounds.

If you have ever used Vaseline before, you know that it is a slippery substance and therefore the idea that it makes a fighter’s skin more elastic and slippery is not a far-fetched one. It is for this exact reason, however, that fighters are not allowed to rub Vaseline all over their body before or during a fight. 

Although vaseline adds a layer of protection to keep skin from tearing, that does not mean it is always going to work.

Fighters will still bleed and all the Vaseline can do at times is simply temporarily protect wounds and bruises from getting worse. Vaseline serves its purpose but is not a perfect, complete solution to preventing cuts. 

How to Apply Vaseline to a Fighter

Cutmen need to have their Vaseline ready and available at all times for their fighters. Fighters and cornermen alike need to know all the legal body parts where Vaseline can be applied beforehand. Once that is understood, the cutman should put gloves on and apply Vaseline accordingly. 

  • Cutman puts gloves on.
  • They place vaseline on one glove and use their finger on the other hand to scoop the necessary amount of vaseline.
  • They apply the vaseline gently to wounded and swollen areas or areas that are vulnerable to tears.
  • They are sure to keep vaseline away from the eyes and mouth.

Applying Vaseline to a fighter is a simple process, but it is up to the cutman and the fighter to communicate with each other on what areas need to be focused on when applying the Vaseline.

Even if a fighter is not showing swelling or potential cuts, it is important to reapply Vaseline that sweat may have worn off. 

It cannot be understated how important it is for the cutman to keep the Vaseline away from the fighter’s eyes. If Vaseline gets in the eyes of a fighter, it can damage their vision and put them at a severe disadvantage during the next round and potentially for the rest of the fight. 

Why Do Fighters Use Vaseline to Cut Weight?

Fighters use Vaseline to cut weight because it helps them drop excess water weight before their weigh-in date. When a fighter is cutting weight, their diet consists of very little eating and a lot of water, but sometimes even the most strenuous weight cutting still is not enough for a fighter to meet weight. 

Although making weight is a necessary part of a fighter’s job, it can be difficult to do for many fighters. The key is to lose weight while not losing muscle, and the most effective way to do this is by focusing on cutting water weight.

Fighters will use a Vaseline wrap because it has a higher melting point than normal body temperature.

  • A vaseline wrap will hold heat inside the fighter’s body.
  • This will cause the person to sweat more of the water weight out.
  • After a 20 to 60 minute period, the fighter will remove the vaseline wrap and their body temperature will help them sweat out the remainder of the water weight. 

Basically, vaseline will work as a homemade sauna. Some fighters use trash bags, plastic bags, hot showers, or steam rooms for weight cutting, but many feel that vaseline is a safer and more convenient route to take. 

Best Vaseline for Fighters

Some vaselines market to people in the fighting world, but the truth is that most commonly store-bought vaselines work just fine for MMA fighters. Everything will pure petroleum jelly should work just fine for any fighter looking for strong and effective vaseline for their next fight. 

All of the petroleum jellies listed above can be found on Amazon or at your local convenience store. Most fighters use the Vaseline 100 percent brand for their fights. It is an affordable and easy to find option and can be used for fighting as well as for cutting weight and several other day-to-day situations. 

Where Can Vaseline Be Applied on a Fighter?

As mentioned earlier, vaseline is a slippery substance that helps protect vulnerable areas of a fighter’s body from tearing easily. However, vaseline being slippery makes it illegal to use on other parts of the body besides the fighter’s face. Vaseline would make it difficult for an opponent to grip or grapple a fighter. 

Fighters can be disqualified from a fight if a referee or judge notices that they have vaseline or any other kind of slippery substance on their body during a fight. During UFC:94, two of the sport’s most popular fighters in BJ Penn and George St. Pierre fought in what some people refer to as the “vaseline smear job.”

BJ Penn accused St. Pierre’s cornermen of applying vaseline on George’s chest and shoulders, making it increasingly difficult for Penn to grapple during the fight. Penn would go on to lose the fight in the fourth round but appealed the loss due to accusations of illegal vaseline use. 

After an investigation was done, no evidence was found of illegal or excessive use of vaseline on St. Pierre, but the accusations caused the UFC to become stricter on their vaseline rules and regulations. As of now, vaseline can only be applied to a fighter’s face before and during a fight. 


A vaseline is an important tool for fighters to take advantage of. Whether it is used before or during a fight to make areas of the skin more elastic and slippery and thus less likely to tear or if it is being used for weight cutting and training, vaseline has several benefits for a fighter.

Fighters should make sure to know the rules when it comes to Vaseline.

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