Even professional athletes, with the high priced athletic cups, still get hit in the groin, and it is often very painful.  And sometimes it’s worse. 

Some sports, MMA in particular, have a history of occasional, but serious groin injuries.  Recently, in UFC 251, Zhalgas Zhumagulov didn’t get kicked once, but twice in his cup. But his cup protected him from serious injury. 

But that is not always the case.

Poor quality or poorly fitted athletic cups can injure you…

MMA has seen its share of “cup accidents” due to the athlete’s cup being “out of place”, or being “too loose”.  Both can cause the cup to slam into the very organs they are trying to protect.  In 2017, at Road FC39 in Seoul, South Korea, Chinese fighter Aorigele was groin kicked just seven seconds into the fight leading to him being hospitalized.

Although unconfirmed by Aorigele himself, it was later reported that his cup was “out of place” when he was kicked.  This type of injury, which can (and does sometimes) lead to the loss of a testicle, is mostly preventable and is often due to the support system that holds the cup in place.

The cup can cause the problem.  Not the kick. 

Where is your Cup? 

As an athlete moves, the cup must move with them, and stay where it needs to be. Male or female, the device must always be over the genitals. Always!

A survey of males under 30 showed that a large number of “debilitating testicle pain” injuries in sports were issues where the cup had moved, was the wrong size, or for the wrong sport.  But this is largely preventable. 

There are many high-quality cups that are designed to correctly hold the protective device in place as you move.  There is one cup that has a patented design where the straps/cords connect directly to the cup itself.  This would tend to hold the cup in place more secure than a standard jockstrap, or cup-inserted compression short. 

The Best Genital Protection Systems

The best genital protection doesn’t have to be complex.  It’s a high-quality athletic cup, a support system to hold it in place, and a proper fit.

Remember, there can be two hits.  

First, the hit to the cup. Then, if not worn correctly, the hit to the testicles as the cup slams into them.  Using common sense, and good practice, most serious genital injuries in sports are preventable.

Serious genital protection is not an accident, but it can avoid one.


Watch and learn how you can change your game

Ben Thulen
Sports Injury Researcher, United States

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    Hits can result in anything from pain, severe pain, or a trip to a doctor’s office. Men, teens, and even boys should and must wear groin protection for any martial arts training. This is unfortunately sometimes overlooked with boys because parents don’t think kicks and hits are that hard. They don't have to be hard since the testicles are so sensitive to impact.

    The primary reason males wear an athletic cup is for good testicle protection, obviously. So first, an athletic cup has to fit your sized genitals. Men should not wear a teen-sized groin cup, and an 8-year-old playing baseball should not wear an adult-sized athletic cup. “Size matters” in groin cup protection!
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