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Brian Ortega explains decision to shave his head coming into UFC Fight Island 6

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The temporary pain of cutting weight brought out a new sense of solidarity with cancer patients Ortega had visited over the years, prompting the drastic cut.

UFC Fight Night: Ortega v The Korean Zombie Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Brian Ortega shocked the MMA world when he returned after nearly two years to completely dominate “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung at UFC Fight Island 6, taking their fight 50-45 on all three judges’ scorecards. But before that amazing performance, he shocked us with his seemingly insane decision to cut off his flowing locks of beautiful hair just before hitting the scales to weigh in.

Some speculated that it was a desperate attempt to literally shave off that last half pound of weight after a hard cut. And who knows, maybe it was, partially. But to hear “T-City” explain it after his big win, it was also about showing some understanding and solidarity with cancer patients. Here’s Ortega explaining how the buzz cut came about.

“So we were cutting weight... I’ve been wanting to cut my hair for a while, not completely bald, but trim it a little bit,” Ortega said during the post-fight press conference. “Go back to the slick back Bryan, or something. I understand now why some of these girls cut their hair off. After every run I got to re-bundle it up and put it this and that, and showering, it’s just a freaking hassle.”

“I do miss my looks with it I’m not gonna lie. But I was cutting weight and I was like, ‘Bro, I feel like s**t’ ... and there’s some people who are going through some things right now. I visited countless children’s hospitals, met lots of kids who were sick with cancer. The stories you would see always stuck with me. Walking in these rooms playing tough, making them smile, and walking out and crying your freaking tears out because you know these stories.”

“And I was suffering during the weight cut. I haven’t had a weight cut in over two years. While I was suffering, I was like man, I have to deal with this for a little bit. Some people don’t have this choice, they have to deal with it every day. And I was talking about it while I was in the tub cutting weight. ‘Man, I don’t know how some people lose weight constantly and go through all these therapies.’”

“And maybe it was in my feelings, I get emotional when I cut weight. But I was like ‘Yo man, go get me the clippers right now.’ They were like, what? I said ‘Go get me the freaking clippers.’ I was about to fight my homie. I just went straight for it, I think he filmed it. I was like ‘We’re gonna donate this. It’s done.’”

But don’t get too used to this new bald Brian Ortega.

“I’m growing my hair back,” he said with a laugh. “My hair is growing back. I can’t stay bald, brother!”