UFC lightweight Clay Guida is as known for his hair as he is for his unlimited cardio and ability to withstand a punch. However, it won't be flying free on Friday when he faces Gray Maynard in Atlantic City. After a request from Maynard's camp to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, Guida's hair will be braided back.
Though Guida usually fights with his long, curly locks flowing free and doesn't want to put his hair back, he also doesn't want a disagreement over hair to distract him before the fight. His manager said Guida plans to comply, which means the two sides won't have to go through a hearing.
"He doesn't want to do it, and I don't believe he's 100 percent happy about it, but he's being very understanding and very cooperative about it and he agreed to it," Nick Lembo of the New Jersey commission told MMAjunkie.com. "Otherwise, if he said, 'No, I'm not going to do that,' we'd have to have a hearing on it and let both sides present their case and have a commissioner's ruling on the issue."
Guida's hair has often been the topic of discussion. When the UFC's first video game came out, Guida was not included because the game's designers couldn't recreate his hair in video game form. UFC president Dana White offered Guida $10,000 to cut his hair, but he said to add a few zeroes on the number.
"The hair's here to stay. It's part of my style, part of my trademark," Guida told Cagewriter in 2009.
Guida's hair flies around when he fights. He often has to push it out of his face as he is fighting. Because it moves every time he is punched or kicked, it can actually give his opponents an advantage. Judges can more easily tell when Guida gets hit, usually giving his opponent an advantage.
But as Guida said, his hair is his trademark. Taking it away may not be about a physical advantage, but a mental one. Maynard's camp may be engaged in a bit of gamesmanship.