Do MMA Fighters Shave Their Bodies?

By Logan •  Updated: 12/07/21 •  5 min read

Do MMA Fighters Shave Their Bodies?

If you have ever managed to catch an MMA weigh-in on TV, you have undoubtedly seen a parade of men all completely hairless as they step onto the scales. Hairlessness and MMA go hand in hand. But why is this? Why is it that fighters choose to shave their bodies? 

Yes, MMA fighters do shave their bodies. A clean-shaven body helps to reduce friction and aids in fighters escaping submission holds. Shaving can also be considered as a fashion statement or used as an intimidation tactic. Ultimately whether a fighter chooses to shave is down to personal preference. While the majority of fighters do decide to shave, others do not. 

Do MMA Fighters Shave Their Bodies?

Why Do MMA Fighters Shave Their Bodies?

The most popular answer is for performance purposes. Body hair increases fiction. This increase in friction can allow an opponent to grip onto a fighter easier and tighter. By shaving their bodies, fighters reduce the likelihood of being caught in a submission or the clinch.

As a fight progresses, the level of friction reduces further as fighters begin to sweat. With no hair to trap sweat, fighters become slippery and harder for their opponent to lock in a submission hold or maintain their grip. 

Also, there is the pain factor. Getting punched and kicked is painful enough as it is. The last thing you want when grappling is having your chest hair pulled out. Having a shaved body helps reduce any unnecessary pain.

Another potential factor is respect. Nobody wants to be rubbing up against a sweaty chest hair during a fight. It’s gross, uncomfortable and potentially unhygienic. A fighters decision to shave their body can be viewed as a sign of courtesy.  

On the other hand, not shaving could be a tactic to make an opponent feel uncomfortable and used as a form of intimidation.  

Why Do MMA Fighters Shave Their Heads?

As the hairiest part of a body, having a shaved head is one of the easiest ways to shave off (literally) excess weight before a fight. For your average healthy male, this would only come to a few ounces. But in MMA, where fighters go to the extremes to make weight, having a shaved head is an easy, straightforward solution.  

There is also a certain degree of style when understanding why MMA fighters shave their heads. The shaved head look can be seen across the MMA world. Some of the most regarded fighters rocked a shaved or bald head, Anderson Silva, Randy Couture, the Diaz brothers. A fighter shaving their hair could be them paying homage to those that came before them. 

A shaved head could also be an intimidation tactic. A shaved head is often considered as aggressive and somewhat thuggish in modern society. By shaving their head, this could be a fighter’s attempt to lean into that stereotype, reappropriating it as a means to psyche out their opponents. 

Do MMA Fighters Shave Their Legs?

Again this is down to personal preference. Some fighters shave their legs. Others do not.

One of the main reasons cited for fighters shaving their legs is to reduce fiction. A tock layer of leg hair can allow opponents to grip legs better. When a fighter shaves their leg hair, it reduces the chances of another fighter getting a grip of the leg and applying a submission.

This tactic also becomes more effective the longer a fight lasts. With no hair to trap sweat, shaved legs become more slippery and harder for fighters to grip. It also helps when fighting in a submission. Suppose an opponent has a fighter in a heel hook or kneebar. In that case, sweat can act as a natural lubricant, making it easier to escape. 

While something as minute as shaving one’s legs may seem excessive for such a slight advantage of being able to slip out of a submission, remember MMA is a competitive sport. Fighters will do anything to win. Winning means a bigger purse, more notoriety and moving up the ranks. It is another step close to a championship bout. 

So if there is something that can be done to give you a leg up on your opponent, even if it is as small as shaving your legs it is worth doing. It could be the difference between winning and losing.

 Final Thoughts

MMA fighters do shave their bodies, however it is personal preference and not a necessity. More and more MMA fighters are now choosing to shave the hair off their body before they compete because it has been proven that increased friction can lead to skin irritation which can result in lacerations. For some fighters, shaving is also a good aesthetic choice because it will make their muscles stand out more.


Hi, I've been an avid MMA fan all my life. I've been training in martial arts for the last 5 years and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way to help to aspiring martial artists get started.

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