Do MMA Fighters Shave Their Bodies?

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When watching the latest UFC fight, you might have wondered why most fighters seem to be hairless from the neck down.

Seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? Most fights are of the men, and most men are pretty hairy.

MMA fighters will often shave their bodies because wrestling and grappling often involve grabbing and pulling on the fighter’s skin. Having body hair when your opponent is wrestling with you can cause a lot of intense pain so to avoid it fighters will usually shave their body hair.

Keep reading to see some of the funny examples of hairy fighters.

I’ll also answer even more common questions about shaving in MMA like Do MMA fighters shave their legs?, Do UFC fighters have to shave their bodies? and what body trimmers I recommend for MMA.

MMA Fighters: To Shave or Not to Shave?

There’s a handful of amusing fighters in the history of the UFC who have surprised us with their hairy bodies.

Dave Herman

Dave “Pee-wee” Herman was an American fighter in the UFC known quite well for his solid record but also his contrasting hairiness between weigh-ins and the actual fight.

For some weigh-ins, Dave would show up completely bald and hairless from head to toe:

Dave Herman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

And sometimes Dave would skip the shave altogether and show up looking like the yeti at the weigh in, like for the Stefan Struve vs. Dave Herman fight on FUEL TV back in 2012:

It seems that Dave has two different looks that are interchangeable whether he whips out the body trimmer or not. It depends on how he feels on the day… spicy or sleek.

Clay Guida

Clay has one of the most unusual fighting styles in the UFC. He’s a bit smaller than most of his opponents in his weight class at 5 ft 7 in, but comes at every opponent with the same blazing attitude of “I’m gonna run at this guy and throw everything I’ve got!”.

Just take a look at some of his highlights and you’ll see what I mean:

Just imagine that wild hair coming at you at a mile-a-minute, I’m not sure I’d know where to look or even where his chin was to land the punch!

Even at his older age (for a fighter), Clay has been competing in the UFC as late as 2021. Whenever he fights, he is most noticeable by his long curly surfer hair that he doesn’t ever but in any ties or braids, unlike most fighters.

Clay is nicknamed “The Carpenter” because in a previous life he was an actual carpenter. When it came to fighting, his sheer determination to outwork his opponents seemed to fit well with his previous job title and so The Carpenter continued into his UFC career.

Roman Dolidze

I saw Roman fight recently against Laureano Staropoli at the UFC and thought I’d have to include him here, too. He won that fight by being the superior grappler and constantly working to take Staropoli down to the ground or up against the fence and just outworked him in control.

Roman is pretty noticeably hairy across his chest. And not only that, he seems to be predominantly a wrestler.

And I’m sure you know what that means: sweaty hairy Roman squeezing his opponents tightly and making it really uncomfortable for them.

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You might even consider that this affects his opponents’ psychology and make them want to get out of the fight much quicker. Just a fan theory, but hey, I know I wouldn’t want his sweaty chest hairs in my face.

What to use for trimming your body hair for MMA

I’m not the kind of guy to use a razor for a clean shave anywhere on my body, to me it’s more hassle than it’s worth. The hair is going to grow back, and even though it’s a longer-lasting effect, I still prefer the convenience of being able to trim and go with an electric trimmer.

I’m genuinely a very hairy guy. I got hair coming out of every pore, man! I have a hairy chest, back, head, legs, and… you get the idea.

Having a decent electric hair trimmer is kind of a necessity for me. And I have felt the sting too often of being wrapped up in someone’s hold during BJJ and the hairs on the back of my neck being pulled or my knee hairs being ripped out through my Gi.

It is not pleasant!

Trimming the body hairs helps with a lot of this stuff as it removes the added friction benefit for your opponent and allows you to slip out of grappling much easier. Plus it can help you with muscle aesthetics if you’re gaining some mass, which is always a welcome bonus.

There are two different electric tools I have used to trim body hair.

The first is the Philips QT4005/15. I had this one for years and was working great until I accidentally broke it.

Philips QT4005/15 Beard Trimmer

BUT sadly because it is an older model, they don’t make them anymore. It is also intended to be used as a beard trimmer.

I’ll tell you about the similarities I know from my older model and how it works:

  • Comes with a simple recharging cable, and it charges to full very fast.
  • You can continue using the trimmer with the charging cable attached and it doesn’t get in the way, you just get full power whilst it’s continuing to charge. The last thing you want is to have to charge some batteries externally before putting them back into the device – which is not the case here.
  • The Philips trimmer has a sliding switch from 0.5-10 to select your desired trimming in millimeters. You can select each millimeter or a half, giving you 20 options ranging from 0.5 millimeters to 10 millimeters.
  • Either model comes with a beard attachment which the millimeters switch allows you to adjust the distance. Then you can start trimming and get the consistent length you want for your beard. I have a pretty big and coarse beard and it has always worked well for me. My beard flows through the guide easily and I get the trim I am after. The only thing to be careful with is how much pressure you apply when trimming, which could change the result you get!
  • I’ve successfully used my trimmer on my beard and body hair (but not down below). With the beard trimmer add-on removed, you’ll get close to zero millimeter trim and it usually works well to get rid of most stray hairs I want with a few pass-overs.

I found the next best thing available today, just for you, which is the Philips Norelco Series 5500. It seems this is the latest evolution of the old QT series, as they have just kept tweaking the functionality to create a more improved version.

Considering I’ve owned my Philips QT4005/15 for years and it is still giving me decent results I’d happily say that the new Series 5500 version looks to be a great investment. It’s one I’ll consider getting myself as soon as my current model packs in.

This trimmer I’ve mentioned is intended to be used for beards and moustaches. But of course, it is a trimmer so can cut just about any other hair.

But be careful with using it on any delicate parts. In fact, I don’t recommend it at all as I’ve had my own fair share of close calls.

Because my Philips QT wasn’t the right kind of device for the tennis balls, I had to think about choosing something else specifically for that purpose.

A while back I did a lot of research and read plenty of reviews as I was looking for a budget option for trimming the crown jewels. I came across the Philips Series 1000 BG105/10 Body Groomer.

I can quite confidently say that I was able to use this groomer happily on my most sensitive areas even without the included guard and get a very close trim. I didn’t experience much pulling, cutting, or pain from using it and so for the price, I was happy about it!

It can be used in multiple directions which is a must as the hairs down there can often be like Madagascar with no clear pattern. It’s also waterproof so you can use it in the shower and let those little hairs fall away down the drain along with your life problems.

The only odd thing about it is that it’s battery-powered, so you have to change that once in a while. I think it helps to keep it smaller and more effective for its intended use.

That model is discontinued as well, so the next best option is the Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 1100:

My hair guard, which allows you to trim in any direction with a 3-millimeter comb, sadly broke quite easily and I had to order a replacement.

But at this price for the whole thing, it’s not expensive to keep it in good working order or just buy a replacement when you need it.

Recently I’ve been trying out the Manscaped Performance Package 4.0 for the private parts and to be perfectly honest while it does have a certain level of style and build quality, the Norelco series is insanely better value.

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Common Questions about shaving in MMA

I’m going to answer some of the common questions about shaving in the MMA sport, which I’m sure will answer everything you wanted to know.

Do MMA fighters shave their legs?

MMA fighters will often shave their legs because it helps to be more slippery and escape a variety of wrestling and BJJ grappling and holds more easily. It can be extremely difficult to pull your legs out from an opponent’s grasp, so every bit of looseness helps.

For fighters who train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a lot, they will know all too well that sparring partners will be taught to grab the Gi’s trousers around the knee to control the opponent’s legs and make attacks to side control, for example. But with this technique, the grasping of knee hairs and pulling them out is a common problem. It’s painful and frequent that it could encourage a lot of fighters to just shave their legs altogether.

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.

Why do MMA fighters shave their heads?

MMA fighters will sometimes shave their heads so that the hairs don’t get in the way of the fight and to increase their ability to slip out from neck holds. Otherwise, UFC fighters with long hair often have to braid their hair to keep it tight and out of their face.

George St Pierre is a good example of a fighter who always fought at the UFC with a shaven head. For some fighters, it might just help them feel lighter, more aerodynamic, or faster so they perform better. The psychology of a fighter plays a big part in their win rate.

Do UFC fighters have to shave their bodies?

When watching a UFC event, it often seems like most UFC fighters have had to shave their bodies due to some contractual obligation. But as far as I know, there isn’t any rule that requires it.

But it is simply believed that UFC fighters who are at the top level of competition will often shave parts of their bodies to reduce friction and make them more slippery for grapplers, especially those who specialize in striking over wrestling.
It may also be just as a courtesy to other fighters because sweaty hair in your opponent’s face is unpleasant as heck.

Do UFC fighters get waxed?

There aren’t any notable UFC fighters that get waxed. Most UFC fighters will shave their bodies to help become frictionless in grappling or to appear more aesthetic.

Why do boxers have to shave?

In many boxing competitions, the fighters have to be clean-shaven and without any beard or “five-o-clock shadow” to have a uniform appearance. But it is also standard practice to reduce any more risks of damaging the eye from stray hairs ripping and getting into the eyes.

These rules are changing, though, as followers of the Muslim faith are gaining more interest in the fighting sports but were largely unable to compete. Their religious beliefs stop them from shaving or even trimming their beards, making them ineligible for competition. These rules have begun changing to allow beards in different boxing tournaments.

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