Watching the UFC events, you may have noticed how most UFC fighters have clean and smooth bodies. Most of them have less body hair than a kid going through puberty, which makes you wonder, do UFC fighters shave their bodies before the fight?
There is no written rule saying UFC fighters need to shave their bodies, but most do so to prevent the pain, as MMA involves a lot of grappling, grabbing, and pulling on the skin. They also shave body hair to reduce friction as smooth skin mixed with sweat makes the body slippery.
In this article, you will learn all about why fighters shave their bodies and, of course, the hairiest UFC fighters in history.
Why Do UFC Fighters Shave Their Bodies?
UFC fighters shave their bodies for various reasons related to their performance inside the octagon. They also do this for aesthetics and to highlight their muscles, but the key reasons are related to functionality.
Reduces friction and makes the body slippery
One of the main reasons why UFC fighters shave their bodies is friction. Smooth skin mixed with sweat makes the body slippery. This is crucial for MMA, where there is a lot of grabbing, holding, pulling, takedowns, and fighters ending in nasty BJJ chokes and joint locks.
The beginning of the bout is where skilled grapplers have the best chances of winning. The bodies are still dry, making it easier to secure a firm grip and holds, score takedowns, or place submissions.
UFC fighters would shave their bodies from neck to bottom to reduce friction. As soon as they start sweating, their body will become slippery, which makes it harder for grapplers to impose their will.
The least friction there is, the better chances fighters have to escape out of the submissions like armbars and leg locks or defend takedowns and throws.
When fighters engage in a grappling exchange, there is always much grabbing on the joints and pulling involved. Once a fighter grabs you by the arm or leg, they will start pulling and squeezing on the skin as hard as they can to take you down or force you to tap out.
The squeeze is already painful enough and can easily damage the skin and cause minor injuries. But having hairy legs and arms elevates the pain to another level because the hair will get pulled out under pressure.
MMA is a cruel sport where the rate of injuries is high in competition and training. Thus, UFC fighters shave their bodies because wounds heal faster on hairless skin. Also, oils and various creams could be applied much easier if the skin is smooth.
Last but not least, keeping your body hairless makes your life less painful during the recovery. Most injuries are treated by applying various medical types of glue and bandaging the wound. Over time, bandages stick to the skin, and we don’t have to tell you how painful it will be when you have to take these off.
MMA athletes must wear various protective gear in training, such as shin pads, armbands, compression shorts, cups, and rash guards. Body hair can often get caught in sports equipment and cause pain and discomfort.
The same stands for compression cloth which tends to “pull” onto your skin and hair. So shaving your body makes a lot of difference in this case.
More effective massages
Many athletes have massages a couple of days a week or daily in a training camp. They use different types of massages for recovery to complement intense training sessions and to relax and relieve stress. And massage always feels better when you have smooth skin to rub on.
Highlights the muscular physique
Like all other people, MMA fighters love the way they look. They undergo rigorous training to prepare for a fight, and a muscular physique is one of the results of their work they are indeed proud of. Getting rid of body hair is the best way to highlight the muscles and intimidate the opponent.
Showing off the muscular physique might send a strong message to the opponent that you worked hard and come prepared.
Best Body Groomers (Top 3)
Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7000
Phillips is among the strongest brands in the body groomer industry. Their 7000 series is among their best-selling body hair removal products.
The best feature is a dual-sided design with an integrated trimmer on one side, while on the other end is a system that adapts to the skin’s contours, enabling you to trim any length of hair in all parts of the body, including the sensitive ones.
It has 5 adjustable lengths, an ergonomic grip, a showerproof case, and 80 minutes of battery life.
Braun MGK7221 is an all-in-one type of body trimmer and technologically advanced too. Its auto-sensing beard technology senses the length and thickness of your body hair an incredible 13 times per second, and it self-adjusts the power for maximum comfort.
On top of that, Braun MGK7221 is waterproof, cordless, has 10 different grooming tools, and has a 100-minute battery life, which means a few weeks of shaving without recharge.
This body groomer is the cheapest on this list but does not fall behind the two more expensive ones regarding quality.
This product is highly recommended as it offers optimum maneuverability in both directions. Without pulling or cutting, it can groom all body areas, including sensitive ones.
It is also waterproof, so you can use it while taking a shower. It comes with skin protector guards that prevent skin irritation.
Hairiest UFC Fighters Ever
Most modern UFC fighters prefer to shave their body hair to look clean and smooth and highlight their muscular physique. But throughout UFC history, there have been fighters who didn’t care about aesthetics, such as:
Akman is a Swedish MMA fighter who has fought under the UFC banner twice. Although he lost both fights via unanimous decision, Akman didn’t leave the UFC without making a solid impression on the fans.
In both events, he showed up completely covered in hair from the neck all the way down to the toes. All the tattoos he has on his body are completely covered in hair.
Ben Rothwell is the former UFC contender and a mountain of a man. Throughout his career, Rothwell always looked chubby and out of shape, and many UFC fans know him as a man who preferred not to shave his body.
On some occasions, he would get rid of the body hair. But sometimes, he would show up looking like a bear, making it really uncomfortable for his opponents. In his long UFC career, Rothwell clashed horns with some of the best of the best, and he beat big names such as Josh Barnett, Alistair Overeem, and Brandon Vera.
Matt “The Immortal” Brown is a fan-favorite UFC fighter and true brawler who never cared much about whom he was fighting, when, or where. He is one of those fighters who always show up in phenomenal shape, and with a hairy body, predominantly across his chest and arms. But to be honest, this adds to his overall image and violent fighting style.
Do UFC Fighters Have to Shave Their Body Hair?
UFC fighters do not have to shave their bodies if they don’t want to. They can show up to a fight with excessive body hair and look like a grizzly bear, and no one can take that right from them.
In fact, there have been situations where fighters would show up, not only with excessive body hair but without taking a shower for a week. Although this is horrible, they would do this on purpose to get the advantage over the opponent.
Hair in your face and a foul smell is a distraction and something that throws you out of the element, which in MMA increases your chances of losing. But modern-day UFC athletes prefer to look clean and like world-class athletes.
UFC fighters shave bodies to prevent pain when their skin gets grabbed and pulled during the grappling exchanges and to reduce friction. This enables them to get out of chokes, joint locks, and other grappling attacks more efficiently.
They also shave bodies to look like a world-class athlete and highlight their muscular physique.
Nowadays, you will rarely see UFC fighters with hairy bodies, mainly because it is old-fashioned and impractical.