Hydration For MMA Fighters – Our Guide To Tap Out Dehydration

When it comes to hydration for MMA, the violent nature of the sport makes hydration critical for the safety of fighters.

Hydration is hardly an exciting subject. Most people would prefer to learn about other, more exciting topics such as how to train optimally, and what supplements to take.

But, the truth is, hydration is a fundamental part of our athleticism. Without it, all of our other efforts would be in vain.

To that end, we’ve put together this article on hydration for MMA fighters – why it’s so important, and what are some practical takeaways for you.


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The Importance of Hydration

Hydration for mma

Research shows that as little as two percent dehydration can significantly impair our cognitive function and athletic performance. In crossover studies, dehydrated fighters become fatigued more quickly and can’t exert the same power.

Dehydration also seems to lead to muscle cramps, which can significantly hinder our athletic performance.

What’s more, not drinking enough fluids leads to:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Inability to sweat (and cool your body) adequately

If it becomes severe enough, dehydration can also lead to:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fast & irregular heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Severe muscle weakness

Simply put, when your body doesn’t have enough fluids, it can’t function properly.

Hydration for MMA

MMA is an intense sport that requires a lot of energy and adequate hydration.

When it comes to combat sports, hydration is extremely important. Inadequate hydration can increase the risk of brain injuries and decrease athletic performance.

That is why inadequate hydration in MMA is no Joke. ONE FC has managed to effectively abolish weight cutting with its hydration tests. In addition, the UFC has banned IV rehydration, to ensure fighters are not relying on drips for rehydration.

How to Stay Hydrated – Tips and Tricks

We are all different, and there is no single recommendation that will work perfectly for everyone. How much fluids you need every day will largely depend on factors such as your:

  • Sex
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Activity level

How much you sweat is another factor. Some MMA fighters tend to sweat less, while others break a sweat from the smallest of physical tasks. The climate of your country also plays a role. If you live in a relatively warm environment, then you will probably need to drink more water than someone who lives in a more moderate climate.

As a rule of thumb, men should aim for about 100 ounces of fluids per day, and women should aim for 65 to 70. Of course, these are starting points, and you should then make adjustments if you find that you need a bit less or more.

According to the American Council on Exercise, we should also strategically drink water before and during our training. More specifically:

  • Drink up to 20 ounces of fluids two to three hours before training
  • We should have another eight ounces of fluids shortly before the workout begins
  • We should consume up to ten ounces of fluids for every twenty minutes of exercise

Of course, it’s best to go by feel, but be objective and remind yourself to drink water throughout the day.

We recommend these items to help with your hydration for MMA.


Hydration for MMA athletes is one of the easiest fixes, but has a massive impact on martial artists performance. Poor hydration for MMA can lead to increased risk of brain damage as-well-as poor athletic performance.

Remember to drink constantly throughout the day, consider using a supplement to aid with hydration or a large water bottle. These simple tricks to help with hydration for MMA will help reduce injuries in increase MMA peformance.

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Gareth Davies

I'm a martial arts competitor and enthusiast. Over the last 15 years, I have trained and competed in several martial arts. I live in Manchester U.K working as a strength & conditioning coach when I'm not travelling and exploring martial arts around the world.
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