Can MMA Fighters or Boxers Have Long Hair?


Long hair does not always work out well for fighters. Despite an impression from a certain Hollywood movie, Ancient Greeks shaved their beards and cut hair before a fight. Now we have rules for modern fights, like those in MMA. 

Can MMA Fighters Have Long Hair?

MMA fighters can have long hair. Long hair is not against the rules of most leagues including UFC. However, in most cases, long hair can become a nuisance, so people who plan to fight with long hair will need to work to keep it manageable in order to fight successfully.

In fact, there are quite a few MMA fighters who compete with long hair. Because of this, the UFC made some rules to guarantee fair competition for people who choose to fight with long hair. As such, hair pulling is banned in UFC and many other leagues. But with such rules in place, long hair can be a major disadvantage. Read on to learn more about the MMA rules regarding fighters and their hair length.

Are Boxers Allowed to Have Long Hair? 

Most MMA competitions including the UFC allow their participants to have long hair. Many famous MMA fighters, both male and female, compete with long hair, and some are even known for fighting with long hair like Clay Guida. When it comes to female fighters, it is especially usual to see participants with longer hair.

For male fighters, there is an even more interesting question: can you fight with facial hair? Yes, facial hair is also allowed by MMA leagues including UFC. Some people even believe that having facial hair gives a slight advantage in a fight because beards can somewhat cushion a direct hit to the jaw. This might have some merit, although many people doubt this theory.

Long hairstyles in boxing and other martial arts have roots in our everyday fashion. Cornrows, a style of hair with small braids close to the scalp, are also known as boxer braids, and not without reason. Cornrows are quite popular among fighters with long hair. 

Can You Pull Hair in UFC? 

UFC fighters cannot pull hair during fights. The rules of UFC clearly ban hair pulling just as many other MMA leagues do. Hair pulling is an unfair tactic and has not been used for a couple of decades now. 

In the days of the early 1990s, UFC’s slogan was, “There are no rules.” However, the UFC has always had rules. Some of these regulate illegal moves that a fighter cannot do and these include really dangerous actions like eye pokes or pushing an opponent’s eye with fingers. 

Hair pulling is not so dangerous but can give an opponent an opportunity to win in most situations without much thought—just pull hair and win the fight. So, even if hair pulling is not all that dangerous, it is still unfair.

As of now, and for quite a while, hair pulling has been banned by UFC. But even if there was no such limit, it was customary to avoid this move. Jason Fairn and Guy Mezger, both fought with long hair, agreed not to pull each other’s hair during their match as early as 1994.

However, UFC only bans direct hair pulling, which is when a competitor knowingly takes a bunch of hair with their palms and pulls. This rule does not apply to blocking an opponent’s hair from moving. For instance, if a fighter’s hair is on the ground, there is not much limit to physically pinning hair to that ground with a hand or a knee. That will be within UFC’s rule limits and will make any action from your side complicated.

Is Long Hair a Disadvantage in a Fight?

Long hair can be a disadvantage in a fight. Although hair-pulling is usually banned or considered immoral, your opponent still can use your hair against you in a fight. Besides, many competitors find fighting with long hair uncomfortable. However, there are some instances when long hair can become a slight advantage. 

There are reasons why people in the military usually have short hair, and one of these reasons is not to give an opponent an advantage of pulling long hair in a fight. The same applies to some martial arts, where some leagues do allow hair pulling. Although it is certainly an unfair move, it can be legal in some mixed martial arts scenarios. 

Aside from the obvious, long hair can be a disadvantage even when hair pulling is banned.

  • Long hair can get in your way during practice and during fights. It can block your vision or make your movements somewhat constrained because long hair sticks to your face.
  • Even if the hair-pulling rule applies to your competition, there are some loopholes that might allow your opponent to use your long hair against you.

However, long hair can provide some advantages too. In an MMA setting.

  • The head can move quickly and hair moves with it, sometimes even quicker, and can strike your opponent’s face.
  • If the hair is wet, this strike will hurt a lot.
  • The velocity and strength of such a strike will feel like a strike with a whip. This is not a pleasant feeling and can damage your opponent.

It is better not to use this move on purpose, though, as it gives an unfair advantage and will probably be considered close to cheating. Still, it is good to know that it is available if you choose to fight with long hair. 

How to Tie Your Hair for a Fight?

There are several ways you can tie your hair for a fight. Just like people with long hair have tied their hair back for centuries, you can tie your hair back similarly for a fight.

If you have really long hair, just a single hair tie will not do much good, so consider using several. Even if you are tying your hair into a simple ponytail, using several hair ties will help secure that style. Another common tactic is a top knot. However, to keep it strong, a top knot should be doubled. 

  • Make a ponytail on top of your head
  • Tie one knot, secure it with hair ties
  • On top of one knot, make another
  • Secure it the same way

Make sure that the knot is very tight. Your knot will loosen as the fight goes on, so you want it to be extra tight before the fight begins to ensure it does not fall out.

However, whatever you do, avoid using pins or clips. Only use ties that are made from soft materials. They will not only protect you from unwanted consequences of a hit into the head but also your opponent from unwanted injuries. While MMA is fighting, it is still a sport where respect for your health and your opponent’s health is paramount. 

Tying your hair will last for a single practice or a single fight. But, if you want to keep long hair and not mess with tying it all the time, consider getting a more permanent solution like the aforementioned boxer braids. They will not be as annoying during a fight as normal long hair. 

Use Chemical Solutions

Tying hair is one way to secure it during a fight. But in the 21st century, it is not the only way. You can also use something like a hair gel with a very firm hold to keep your hair in place.

For something like an MMA fight, you are going to need a really good solution with a very firm hold. However, even with a firm styling product, you will have hair flying all around. In this case, you will be saved from smaller strands that stick to your face or fly into your eyes. The best way is to combine a chemical solution and hair ties with a ponytail or a top bun. 

Conclusion 

There are many MMA fighters who compete with long hair. It is very natural to see both male and female participants wearing long hair and men who have facial hair. There is no reason to choose one or the other when it comes to MMA and long hair. With certain solutions, you can have both.  

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