ABU DHABI – There’s no need to panic. Brian Ortega’s hair will make a return.
The UFC featherweight contender promised to grow back his mane now that his bout with Chan Sung Jung is in the rearview mirror. Ortega (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) dominated “The Korean Zombie” in a unanimous decision in the UFC on ESPN+ 38 main event Saturday at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Ortega outpointed Jung 50-45 on all three judges’ scorecards.
But the impressive win and the new tools to his game weren’t the only things that made headlines for Ortega. The 29-year-old competitor shocked the online MMA community when he shaved off his long hair. Now victorious, Ortega promised the hair will have its comeback.
“I’m growing my hair back. My hair is growing back,” Ortega said at the UFC on ESPN+ 38 post-fight news conference. “I can’t stay bald, brother.”
Although it was a big loss for the MMA world, it was all done for a good cause. Ortega donated his hair to the Locks of Love charity for children undergoing chemotherapy.
“We’re cutting weight and I’ve been waiting to cut my hair for a while – not completely bald, but at least trim a little bit and go back to the slick-back Brian or something,” Ortega said. “I now understand why some of these girls cut their hair off, man. After every round, I have to re-bundle it and put it up and this and that, and showering, and that and – it’s just a frickin’ hassle.
“I do miss my looks with it, I’m not going to lie. My looks, I miss them. But I was cutting weight and I was like, ‘Bro, I feel like (expletive) and there’s some people that are going through some things right now.’ I’ve visited countless children hospitals and met a lot of kids who are sick with cancer right now. The stories that I saw will always stay with me. Walking in rooms playing tough, making them smile, and then walking out and crying your tears out because you know these stories.
“I was suffering during the weight cut and I haven’t had a weight cut in two years. So while I was suffering, I was like, ‘Man, I have to deal with this for a little bit. Some people don’t have that choice. They have to deal with it every day.’ I was talking about it while cutting weight and I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know how people lose weight and go through all these therapies.’ Maybe I was in my feelings and I got emotional while cutting weight, but I was like, ‘Go get me the clippers right now. Get me the frickin’ clippers right now.’ And they were like, ‘No, relax, Brian. Relax.’ I had to fight my homies. I was like, ‘Get me the (expletive) clippers right now,’ and I just went for it. Just went straight for it. And I was like, ‘We’re going to donate this. That’s it. It’s done.’”