Having diffused a potentially hairy situation, UFC lightweight contenders Clay Guida and Gray Maynard are now focusing on what promises to be a thrilling fight at Revel in Atlantic City on Friday night.
Their five-round bout is the main event of a 13-fight card that represents the UFC's first card in Atlantic City in seven years. They agreed to fight each other three months ago, but then had to clear up an issue involving Guida's curly, shoulder-length locks.
For the first time in his 39-fight mixed martial arts career, Guida will be required to braid his hair for the fight as the result of a protest filed with the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, the state's governing body for contact sports.
"I really didn't have much to do with it," Maynard said after a brief workout at Revel on Wednesday. "I let my (managers and trainers) handle that stuff. I'm a fighter. I fight. I don't worry about that other stuff."
Maynard's handlers initially phoned Control Board commissioner Aaron Davis and legal counsel Nicholas Lembo out of concern that Guida's hair could prove to be a distraction, then followed up with a written appeal.
They were prepared to take action in the form of a hearing before the Control Board when Davis and Lembo contacted Guida's camp about wearing braids. Lembo said Wednesday that Guida was "less than 100 percent" behind the move, but eventually agreed.
"Sometimes I put my hair up in a ponytail when I train, but I've never been asked to do anything like that for a fight," Guida said after a workout Wednesday at Revel. "I'm not even thinking about it anymore. This fight is going to be more about heart than hair."