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Can You Compete In MMA With Poor Vision? (Contacts, Glasses...)

Robert Green
Published: July 19, 2021
Updated: July 19, 2021

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You may have heard that you need 20/20 vision to compete in MMA. This is not true! In fact, there are some fighters with poor eyesight (including contacts) who do very well and even find success in the UFC!

So if you’ve been told that your poor vision will prevent you from becoming a successful fighter, think again... it's possible!

First off it's definitely worth noting that having 20/20 vision is a massive benefit as you can clearly see everything that's going on. But even if your vision is fuzzy, unless you are completely legally blind, you should be able to see punches and kicks coming.

boxing with glasses

You definitely cannot wear glasses during MMA sparring or fights. Imagine getting punched in the face while wearing glasses. The glasses could break, or in the best case scenario they would simply serve to magnify the below, and probably break some bones.

Wearing contacts during MMA fights is another poor decision. If you get hit in the eye, the contact can be pushed into it or into the back of the socket. For that reason, MMA fighters do not wear contacts. But even if you have poor vision, again, as long as you can see you can fight.

Interestingly enough, Rampage Jackson wore contacts, and would always take them out before fights.

Fighters with poor vision try to train this draw back in the gym, and some may even be able to telegraph even better because they are looking at whole body motion, instead of the singular fist. By understanding how a body moves before a punch is coming, it gives you more time to maneuver out of the way.

If you are terribly shortsighted, a doctor will likely recommend not fighting whatsoever. That's because the shape of your eye increases the likelihood of having a detached retina or additional tear. If this happens, your vision is at risk, and you may go blind. Even if you don't, there will be a men's pain and expensive surgery to fix a detached or torn retina.

At the same time, if you have extreme shortsightedness, you can still train on a heavy bag, but actual sparring without headgear or a competition should not be done unless you have spoken with your doctor and understand the risks here.

Something that's even more important than the clarity of your vision is having peripheral vision. If you don't have good peripheral vision, you won't be able to easily understand when kicks and punches are coming from your opponent. This is much more important than having 20/20 eyesight.

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