why do mma fighters shave their bodies

why do mma fighters shave their bodies

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters are known for their intense physical training and preparation. One aspect of their preparation that often catches the attention of spectators is their decision to shave their bodies. This article aims to explore the various reasons why MMA fighters choose to shave their bodies, examining both practical and psychological factors.

Hygiene and Safety

One of the primary reasons why MMA fighters shave their bodies is for hygiene and safety purposes. Body hair can trap sweat and bacteria, increasing the risk of infections and skin irritations. By shaving their bodies, fighters can maintain better personal hygiene and reduce the chances of contracting skin-related ailments.

why do mma fighters shave their bodies

Furthermore, smooth skin reduces the likelihood of mat burns or friction injuries during grappling and ground fighting. Without body hair, the skin can glide more easily across the mat, reducing the risk of painful abrasions.

Improved Grip

Shaving body hair can also enhance a fighter’s grip. In combat sports, having a strong grip is crucial for executing various techniques and maintaining control over an opponent. By removing body hair, fighters can improve their ability to grip their opponents, whether it be during clinching, grappling, or striking exchanges.

Additionally, smooth skin allows for better grip on training equipment such as gloves, pads, and even clothing. This improved grip can enhance a fighter’s performance and overall effectiveness in the ring or cage.

Weight Cutting

Weight cutting is a common practice in combat sports, where fighters aim to shed excess weight before a competition to compete in a lower weight class. Shaving body hair can contribute to weight cutting efforts by reducing the overall weight of the fighter. While the amount of weight loss from shaving is minimal, every ounce counts in weight-restricted divisions.

Appearance and Muscle Definition

Shaving body hair can enhance a fighter’s appearance and muscle definition. Without body hair, muscles appear more defined and prominent, highlighting the hard work and dedication put into training. This aesthetic advantage can boost a fighter’s confidence and potentially intimidate their opponents.

Moreover, shaving can help display tattoos or other body art, allowing fighters to express their individuality and personal style in the ring or cage.

Reduced Injuries

Shaving body hair can also contribute to reducing injuries in MMA. Hair can get caught in joints or during submissions, leading to painful pulls or even dislocations. By shaving their bodies, fighters minimize the risk of such injuries and can focus more on their technique and strategy.

Furthermore, during cuts and lacerations, body hair can interfere with the healing process and increase the risk of infection. Shaving the affected area allows for better wound care and reduces the chances of complications.

Psychological Factors

There are also psychological factors that influence why MMA fighters choose to shave their bodies. Some fighters believe that shaving makes them feel more professional and disciplined, contributing to their mental preparation for a fight.

Additionally, shaving can create a psychological advantage by intimidating opponents. A hairless body can give the impression of being more serious, focused, and physically prepared, potentially affecting an opponent’s confidence and mindset.

Pre-Fight Rituals

Shaving may also be part of a fighter’s pre-fight ritual or superstition. Just like wearing specific clothing or listening to certain music, shaving can become a routine that helps fighters get into the right mindset before a competition.

Some fighters may also believe that shaving brings good luck or helps them connect with their fighting spirit. These personal beliefs and rituals can play a significant role in a fighter’s mental preparation and overall performance.


There are various reasons why MMA fighters choose to shave their bodies. From hygiene and safety to improved grip and weight cutting, shaving offers practical advantages in the world of combat sports. Additionally, the psychological factors, such as appearance, confidence, and pre-fight rituals, contribute to the decision to shave. Ultimately, the choice to shave or not is a personal one, with each fighter having their own reasons and preferences.

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