The Prevalence of Staph Infections in UFC: How to Prevent

The Prevalence of Staph Infections in UFC: How to Prevent

Skin infections are a significant concern in the UFC, particularly staph infections. These infections are not only prevalent but can also severely impact a fighter's health and performance. The high-contact nature of mixed martial arts creates an environment where staph infections can easily spread. Understanding the seriousness of these infections and how to prevent them is crucial for the safety and success of UFC fighters.

Understanding Staph Infections

What is a Staph Infection?

A staph infection is caused by the Staphylococcus bacteria, which can lead to various conditions ranging from minor skin irritations to severe infections. These bacteria often enter the body through cuts, abrasions, or skin-to-skin contact, making fighters particularly susceptible.

Why Are Staph Infections Common in MMA?

Mixed martial arts fighters are at a higher risk for staph infections due to the frequent skin contact, shared equipment, and the physical nature of the sport. Training environments, where sweat and bacteria can linger on mats and gear, further increase the likelihood of infections.

Prevalence Among UFC Fighters

Staph infections are a recurring issue in the UFC. According to medical reports, a significant percentage of fighters have dealt with staph infections at some point in their careers. These infections can lead to missed training sessions, postponed fights, and even serious health complications if not properly treated.

Case Studies: UFC Staph Infections  

Jiri Prochazka and  Islam Makhachev fighting in UFC despite battling a staph infection.

Jiri Prochazka

Before UFC 295, Jiri Prochazka faced a severe staph infection that dramatically affected his training and preparation. The infection, which spread from his leg to his ear, required antibiotics and limited his ability to train effectively. Despite these challenges, Prochazka chose to compete but ultimately suffered a second-round technical knockout. His experience underscores the detrimental impact a staph infection can have on a fighter's performance and health​ (Sherdog)​.

Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev also dealt with a staph infection before one of his fights, confirming the rumors that had circulated. His infection highlights the ongoing challenges UFC fighters face with these infections. Despite receiving treatment, the physical toll of the antibiotics and the infection itself can significantly hinder a fighter's performance in both training and competition​ (Sherdog)​.

Understanding the prevalence and impact of staph infections in the UFC is the first step toward implementing effective prevention strategies. By maintaining rigorous hygiene practices and utilizing protective products, fighters can reduce their risk of infection and maintain their health and performance levels.

Impact of Antibiotics on Fighters' Performance: UFC Staph Infections

Negative Effects of Antibiotics

Antibiotics are crucial for treating staph infections, but they come with several side effects that can negatively impact a fighter's performance. Common side effects include:

  • Fatigue: Antibiotics can cause significant tiredness, reducing a fighter's energy levels and ability to train intensively.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Many antibiotics lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, and other digestive problems, which can affect overall health and nutrition absorption.
  • Weakened Immune Response: Long-term use of antibiotics can weaken the immune system, making fighters more susceptible to other infections and illnesses.

These side effects can hinder a fighter's ability to maintain peak physical condition, impacting their performance in both training and competition.

Impact on Training

The side effects of antibiotics can severely impair a UFC fighter's ability to train effectively. Fatigue can limit the duration and intensity of training sessions, while gastrointestinal issues can disrupt dietary routines and nutrition intake. A weakened immune response can lead to more frequent illnesses, further reducing training time.

For example, Jiri Prochazka's training was significantly disrupted due to his need for antibiotics to treat a severe staph infection. This lack of effective training time directly impacted his performance during UFC 295, where he faced a tough defeat.

Risk Factors for UFC Fighters

Close Physical Contact

UFC fighters are constantly in close physical contact during training and matches, increasing the risk of transmitting staph infections through skin-to-skin contact. This close contact facilitates the spread of bacteria, especially when fighters have open wounds or abrasions.

Shared Equipment and Training Mats

Fighters often share equipment, such as gloves and pads, and use common training mats. These surfaces can harbor bacteria, including Staphylococcus, if not properly cleaned and disinfected. Shared equipment and mats create an environment where staph infections can easily spread among fighters.

Frequent Injuries and Cuts

Mixed martial arts is a physically demanding sport that often results in cuts, abrasions, and other injuries. These open wounds provide an entry point for bacteria, making fighters more susceptible to infections. The high incidence of minor injuries in MMA increases the risk of staph infections.

High-Risk Environments

Training environments such as gyms and locker rooms are high-risk areas for staph infections. These spaces are often humid and can facilitate bacterial growth if not regularly sanitized. Fighters spending extended periods in these environments face a higher risk of contracting staph infections.

Understanding these risk factors and their impact on fighters is crucial in developing effective prevention strategies to combat staph infections in the UFC. By addressing these risks, fighters can better protect themselves and maintain their health and performance levels.

Prevention Strategies

Importance of Hygiene and Regular Cleaning

Maintaining proper hygiene and regular cleaning practices is crucial in preventing UFC staph infections. The high-contact nature of mixed martial arts makes fighters particularly vulnerable to these infections, which can spread rapidly if hygiene protocols are not strictly followed. Regular cleaning and disinfecting reduce the bacterial load in training environments, thereby lowering the risk of staph infections.

Best Practices for Fighters to Prevent Staph Infections

Personal Hygiene

  • Showering: Fighters should shower immediately after training or fighting to wash away sweat and bacteria. This practice is essential for removing any contaminants that might have been picked up from mats, equipment, or other fighters.
  • Washing Hands: Regular handwashing is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of bacteria. Fighters should wash their hands before and after training sessions, as well as after using the bathroom or touching potentially contaminated surfaces.
  • Keeping Wounds Covered: Open cuts, abrasions, and any broken skin should be promptly cleaned and covered with sterile bandages. This prevents bacteria from entering the body through these vulnerable points and reduces the risk of infection.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Equipment and Training Areas

  • Disinfecting Equipment: All shared equipment, such as gloves, pads, and protective gear, should be thoroughly disinfected before and after use. This practice ensures that bacteria do not linger on surfaces and get transferred to different users.
  • Sanitizing Mats: Training mats are hotspots for bacteria due to the sweat and dirt that accumulate on them. Mats should be sanitized multiple times a day, ideally after each training session, to maintain a hygienic environment.
  • Personal Items: Fighters should avoid sharing personal items like towels, razors, and water bottles. These items can easily transfer bacteria from one person to another, increasing the risk of staph infections.

Role of Gyms and Training Facilities

Gyms and training facilities have a significant role in preventing UFC staph infections. They should implement rigorous cleaning protocols and ensure that all equipment and surfaces are regularly sanitized. Providing accessible hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes can encourage fighters to maintain hygiene. Additionally, gyms should educate fighters about the importance of personal hygiene and the risks of staph infections, promoting a culture of cleanliness and awareness.

How Matguard Can Help

Matguard disinfectant products for preventing UFC staph infections.

Matguard’s Range of Products

Matguard offers a comprehensive range of products designed to prevent staph infections. These include disinfectant sprays, disinfectant wipes, and body wipe cleansing solutions, all formulated to kill bacteria on contact and provide a protective barrier against infections.

Science Behind Matguard’s Products

Matguard’s products are backed by scientific research and are specifically designed for athletes. The disinfectants contain potent antibacterial agents that effectively eliminate bacteria from skin and surfaces. These products are also gentle on the skin, making them suitable for frequent use without causing irritation or dryness.

Using Matguard Products Effectively

  • Disinfectant Sprays: Matguard disinfectant sprays should be used on training equipment and mats before and after each use. Spraying these surfaces helps kill any lingering bacteria and creates a safer environment for training.
  • Wipes: Matguard disinfectant wipes are convenient for quick sanitation of hands and small surfaces. Fighters can use these wipes to clean their hands after touching shared equipment or surfaces, reducing the risk of bacterial transfer.
  • Body Cleansing Wipes: Incorporating Matguard body cleansing wipes into a post-training hygiene routine is crucial. These solutions help remove bacteria from the skin, especially after intense training sessions where sweat and bacteria accumulation is high.


Preventing UFC staph infections requires a comprehensive approach that includes personal hygiene, regular cleaning, and the use of effective disinfectant products. By following best practices and utilizing Matguard’s range of products, fighters can significantly reduce their risk of infection. Regular hygiene routines and the use of Matguard products not only protect fighters from infections but also ensure they maintain peak performance and longevity in their careers. It is essential for fighters and gyms to take proactive steps in maintaining health and hygiene to avoid staph infections.