UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping claims that some current mixed martial arts fighters rely on vaseline to gain an upper hand in their fights. 

Rubbing vaseline on your body in MMA is illegal. Fighters would apply an excessive amount of vaseline to their face and body before a fight to reduce the risks of cuts and allow their body to maneuver around more easily. The UFC has guidelines in place that limits the use of vaseline. If a cutman applies too much vaseline, referees are responsible for removing it. 

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Michael Bisping Alleges That Current-Fighters Apply Vaseline Leading Up To Their Fight

During a new video on his YouTube channel, Bisping spoke about how current fighters are using vaseline to their advantage despite regulations. He says the combination of sweat and lubricant used by a fighter makes it “impossible” for their opponent to control them. 

Trying to control a fighter covered in sweat who’s also applied like a lubricant like a Vaseline, that’s damn near impossible! And that’s why a lot of fighters in the history of mixed martial arts have tried to do [so],” Bisping said.

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In fact, I’ve been present speaking to people, other fighters where they’ve told me some of their methods. They used to say ‘what I do is I apply Vaseline to my body 2, 3 days before, I allow it to soak in and then afterwards I shower so it feels like there’s nothing there, and then in the fight when you start sweating, it comes out.” (h/t Middle Easy)

Notably, the UFC encountered a vaseline controversy in 2009. At UFC 94, then-welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (GSP) was applied with vaseline by cornerman Phil Nurse. In between the first three rounds, Nurse put the substance on the shoulder and back of St-Pierre. Ringside officials saw it and quickly rubbed down the applied substance. The UFC Hall of Famer ended up winning the fight with a fourth-round TKO by doctor’s stoppage. St-Pierre and his team denied any intentional wrongdoings. 

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In 2018, the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) implemented new guidelines that allowed vaseline to be reapplied on fighters’ faces between rounds only by a licensed cornerman or cutman.

Marc Ray has lived his entire life in Houston, Texas, where he was born, raised and attended the University of Houston, studying broadcast journalism. As you may imagine, he spends much of his time watching mixed martial arts as part of his daily routine — not only to pump himself up, but also because he deeply enjoys the sport. Ray has worked for Houston Public Media, where he interned in the newsroom and produced community stories. Ray also created sports features in Houston for El Gato Media Network and occasionally produced content for an internship at AARP.