Reach is a stat on the tale of the tape which shows stats of two different fighters for comparison. It can be used to determine the relative striking distance between two combatants.
There are two different ways to measure a fighter’s reach.
How is Reach Measured in the UFC / MMA
In the UFC, reach is measured in the traditional way by measuring fingertip to fingertip with the fighter’s arms out parallel to the ground and at shoulder height. The arm span or wingspan measurement is displayed in inches.
How is Reach Measured in Boxing
In boxing, the traditional arm span measurement is used for reach, but the arm length stat is also sometimes used. Arm length is measured from the armpit to the end of the fist. Arm length is generally regarded as more accurate.
Why do Some Fight Promotions use Arm Length?
Some fighters’ reach changes from fight to fight. This is because wing span is inconsistent.
Since reach is a sum of each arm, hand, and shoulder-width measurements, it can change unintentionally. It can also be easily manipulated by pulling in your shoulders and making them seem shorter than they really are.
Fighters who manipulate their reach do it to confuse their opponents. For example, the opponent’s camp might set up sparring partners who match the shorter reach. He or she will be can caught off guard when they are suddenly in the striking range of the fighter’s true reach.
Why is Reach Important?
Having longer reach is important because it increases your striking range and allows you to hit without getting hit. That’s one of the biggest objectives in fighting sports. Do damage without taking it.
It’s also important because it gives you more arm length to use in guard for blocking strikes and in the clinch.
Reach is not the be all end all as some fighters with short reach, like Iron Mike Tyson, are good at getting in “the pocket” and take the reach advantage away.