We all know the story of Samson and Delilah. Samson was the judge of Israel and derived his great strength from his lengthy locks. When his enemies discovered his secret they devised a plan to cut off his hair, gouge his eyes out, and imprison him to a number of years of hard labor…geez. So how would Samson favor in the new age of MMA? Well if he fought in Ontario, let’s just say I wouldn’t exactly put the house on it.
Under Ontario Athletics Commision fighters must be clean shaven or wear a closely cropped mustache prior to competing. This left welterweight Emil Meek as well as two other fighters dumbfounded and shocked prior to their 206 bouts.
“After I had cut weight, I just checked the weight with the UFC commission [liaison team]. I was waiting to get called up to the official weigh-ins. As I was there, the Ontario commission sat there and asked if they could have a word with me. I just sent my cornerman since I was dehydrated,”
“He yelled at me, ‘Emil! You need to shave your beard.’ I was like, ‘Uh, that’s funny.’“
Nope, it’s a thing. Meek discovered the hard way what many fighters have had to deal with for years. These rules started from boxing and were implemented into MMA, stemming from reasons from making the sport more palpable to the public to being able to medically inspect cuts and bruises. Other reasons include possible beard grabbing, friction from rubbing, hygiene, and possible cushioning. Fortunately, Unlike Samson, Emil “Valhalla” Meek doesn’t derive his strength from his sweet sweet Norwegian beard and pulled off a unanimous decision over a lackluster Jordan Mein.
But despite the red tape, do these reasons really post any significant advantage to the fighters who chose to grow out their mane? If cushioning is the reason then guys with long hair would be immune to head kicks, if it’s being able to inspect cuts and bruises, most of those things happen over the eye and nose. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a fight stopped via chin cut. If it’s a broken jaw they’re looking for well that’s determined from the inability to close your mouth, and/or protruding teeth or jaw – nothing to do with facial hair.
With that being said, there are many wrestlers who will tell you grappling a guy with a long beard is no fun. In the high stakes world of MMA every little bit counts, and competitors are always looking for an edge, could this be the next budding issue of MMA?
Hit us up with you thoughts and comments below.