MMA: Do Fighters Communicate with Their Hairstyles?

Dorothy WillisSenior Writer IMarch 4, 2010

When my sons were competing in football and wrestling in high school, there was always a period of mystery for the parents of the athletes as they wondered what hairstyle the new season would bring.

Some seasons the team opted to have Mohawks, other years they opted to buzz off all their hair for the domed look. As they became upperclassmen, they decided to keep whatever style would look best in the yearbook photos.

From observing the variety of styles the fighters in the MMA sport, I have to question whether the guys are trying to send a message with the variety of their looks.

No one can look at Jason "Mayhem" Miller or Dan "the Outlaw" Hardy and not wonder at the message they intend to send to their fans and opponents. I doubt that they are simply trying for a good laugh or to lighten the mood.

Many movies have brought out the fact that the crazier an assailant appears, the more fright he brings to his victim, or, in this case, the movie audience. It is my opinion that this is the effect for which Mayhem and the Outlaw are going.

The expression "if looks could kill" could be used to describe the MMA pre-fight stare-downs between MMA combatants, so the more menacing the hair the greater the intimidation factor.

Not only do spiked Mohawks or bald heads give a "gangsta" look to the scene, many baldies have tattoos applied to their scalps for what has to be a shock factor. I am not sure what the words or symbols translate to, but one won't see beautiful flowers and cute little birdies on the fighters' heads.

Chuck Liddell is easily identified by his closely clipped "hawk" and tattoo on the side of his head. It would be easy for him to let his hair grow out to mask his identity, but of course, publicity hound that he is, he is unlikely to change his look. His rockstar status depends on keeping his unique image.

Although I am not fond of red dyed spiked haircuts, I do love the different multicolored advertisements for which Jonathan "the Road Warrior" Goulet rents out his hair space. I have a fantasy of someday renting out that very space to send my message to the viewing public. (The message and money to send it are as yet to be determined.)

Other than sending a message, perhaps there is a particular purpose to some of the hairstyles. Psy-ops, trademarks, or to help psych themselves up, being a few.

An uninhibited "fro" could be used to cushion blows to its owner's pate, or a chrome dome could be a hell of a weapon if ground into a clavicle or sternum repeatedly. I realise that headbutts are illegal, but hey, it happens, as in the Matt Serra Matt Hughes fight. Once done, it cannot be recalled.

Although cornrows may be utilized to tame long surfer locks in an orderly manner and improve vision, I have it on good authority that cornrows, when properly done, hurt like hell! How can Uriah Faber fight with all that torque on his head? Ouch!

Could it be that cornrows help keep scalp cuts from bleeding into the eyes and furrows blood flow down the back of the head so as not to affect vision and prematurely end a fight?

In one early UFC no holds barred fight, I remember one combatant pulling another's braid (que?) out with his bare hands. I will never forget the blood that was suddenly unleashed. Yuck! Too gross to recall.

Fortunately for follicular-challenged individuals, handsome bald fighters have made "bald is beautiful" in again. Mmm, I'm thinking Georges St. Pierre of course, but no one can deny that BJ Penn would appear very strange—with the hairline he has and an exceptionally high forehead—if he had hair.

Perhaps I should have called several fighters with unusual haircuts to ask if they were trying to say something with their hairstyles. The way I am, however, I would rather fantasize and ponder the many possibilities, essentially, because I have little else to do with my time.

Since I am certainly not a fighter, for me, my hair says it all. Short is easier.

Yes, I am that lazy!