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10th Dec 2016

UFC newcomer forced to shave off beard before stepping into the Octagon

Seems unfair

Ben Kiely

UFC 206’s Emil Meek really isn’t receiving the warmest of welcomes in Canada.

The Norwegian welterweight (8-2-1-1NC) is set to make his promotional debut against veteran Jordan Mein (29-10, 3-2 UFC) in the lion’s den in the PPV main card opener on Sunday morning.

Although he appears to be really enjoying himself in the world’s largest MMA promotion, the 28-year-old has not been getting things his own way during media week.

One of Meek’s trademarks is that he carries an axe around with him as a prop to media obligations. The axe is blunt for added safety, but it has been notably absent in the build-up to this fight.

He told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that he tried to bring the axe to his media day scrum, but officials made him leave it at the door. He vowed to try to sneak it into the weigh-ins on Friday, but there was no sign of it then either. Instead, he brought a polaroid camera and took a photo of the crowd.


To make matters worse, the always strange Ontario Athletic Commission are forcing the fighter to shave his beard before he enters the Octagon. Meek made the revelation on Facebook, explaining that even matchmaker Sean Shelby thought it was ridiculous. The official line is that if his beard is long enough to be grabbed, it’s too long for competition.

Meek is very proud of his fuzzy face friend and although he doesn’t want to lose it, he admitted it’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make in order to fight for the UFC. Until it comes time to shave the whiskers, the two are enjoying their last few moments together.

This fight will mark Mein’s return to the sport following retirement. The Canadian hung up his gloves at just 25 years old in August 2015, but entered back into the USADA testing pool in 2016. He then accepted the offer to take on the debutant on home soil.

Meek enters into this bout off the back of a sensational first round knockout win over one of the filthiest fighters in the sport – Rousimar Palhares – at Venator 3. “Valhalla” was originally matched up against Jessin Ayari for UFC Hamburg, but was removed from the event  after telling USADA that medication he had been taking after a recent medical procedure may have breached their rules. When all that was cleared up, he was rebooked to fight Mein in Toronto.