Can MMA Fighters Or Boxers Have Long Hair? | oneshotmma (2022)

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.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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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.


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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Are MMA fighters allowed to have long hair? ›

MMA fighters can have long hair to fight in most competitions, including the UFC. But it is a personal choice of the fighter whether to have their hair tied up, braided, shaven, or even left loose. Most fighters choose to boxer braid long hair so that it doesn't get in their face during the fight.

Can you have long hair as a boxer? ›

Boxer dogs with long coats are a rare but undeniable part of the Boxer family. Although science is yet to give definitive answers, long haired Boxers seem to arise both from a likely gene mutation in purebred Boxers and as a result of good old fashioned cross breeding.

Can MMA fighters grab hair? ›

Hair Pulling

A fighter pulling hair would be painful and could be used to gain a position or stop the fighter from gaining position. Hair pulling could cause a stoppage in the action and a point deduction.

Can you use long hair as a weapon? ›

No. Hair is too short and soft to act like a whip with any force. Precision would also be a problem. Some martial arts movies add needles and razor blades to hair, but that's just in the movies.

Do you have to cut your hair in boxing? ›

Training for boxing with long hair is fairly simple. You don't need to cut it off; you just need to learn a few techniques for securing your hair away from your face. One of the first things you need to do is ensure that you are always carrying spare hair ties with you.

Can you have long hair in the military? ›

Hair should be no longer than 4.0 inches. Hair may not touch the ears or collar. It also cannot extend below the eyebrows. Hair bulk cannot be more than 2.0 inches.

Why are so many boxers bald? ›

The answer may be science over substance, as hormones play a vital role in hair loss in both men and women. High testosterone has traditionally been linked to hair loss and some have wondered if fighters have high levels due to training, etc.

Why are all boxers bald? ›

But why are UFC fighters bald? Typically, UFC fighters are bald just because they have hereditary male pattern baldness to make them bald. But some fighters' baldness can be increased or worsened from persistent grappling training like in Wrestling or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Hair can even get pulled out during fighting.

Why do boxers shave? ›

Fighters shave their bodies to reduce friction during fights. The reduced friction leads to a slippery body, allowing fighters to escape holds. Lack of body hair can also make deep-tissue massages more bearable. Some fighters feel lighter without body hair, while others shave to highlight muscles.

What is not allowed in MMA? ›

Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea. Fingers outstretched towards opponent's face/eyes. Clawing, pinching, twisting the flesh. Kicking and knee-striking the head of a grounded opponent (see Soccer kick)

Why are all UFC fighters hairless? ›

Why do MMA fighters shave their bodies? Many MMA fighters will shave their whole bodies to prevent the pain of body hair being pulled during the fight but also to give their opponents less grip. The least amount of friction a grappler has the better it is for their opponent to slip out and prevent being submitted.

Is tickling legal in UFC? ›

Is Tickling Allowed in the UFC? Well, strictly speaking, tickling is not prohibited in the UFC as it is not in the list of illegal moves.

Does UFC have rules about hair? ›

a. Pulling of the hair in any fashion is an illegal action. A fighter may not grab a hold of his opponent's hair to control their opponent in any way. If a fighter has long hair, they may not use their hair as a tool for holding or choking in any fashion.

Is long hair a disadvantage in a fight? ›

Defend from grabs at long hair. Long-haired people have the disadvantage when it comes to a face-to-face assault because the opponent can easily grab onto it. This self-defense technique is useful for women with long hair.

How do you tie long hair for MMA? ›

Hair Braiding for Krav Maga, Jiu-Jitsu, or MMA Training - YouTube

Are beards allowed in UFC? ›

10, which centers on 'appearance': “all contestants shall be cleanly shaven immediately prior to competition, except that a contestant may wear a closely cropped mustache.” Notably, Meek - or Dustin Ortiz and Jon Makdessi, two other UFC 206 combatants who Meek says were also required to trim their beards - was not ...


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