Cauliflower Ear, Do Fighters Wear it as a Badge?

Why do fighters perserve their cauliflower ear?  Cauliflower ear is a deformity that is repairable.  It results from head trauma to the side of the head on the tissue of the ear which leads to a ‘perichondrial hematoma.’  Essentailly this medical terms means there is a ton of blood trapped between the cartilage in the ear and its skin.  When it is untreated it turns into cauliflower ear.

The clotting of the blood in the ear tissue can be a result of so many things in fighting.  Most think it is just being headlocked.  The head does a lot of grinding when ground fighting. Additionally, strikes (knees, elbows, punches and even kicks)  can cause this type of soft tissue injury.  Any trauma to the ear can lead to cauliflower ear.  It is just more common to happen in sports like MMA, rugby, wrestling, boxing and kickboxing.  But why do so many fighters ignore having their ear repaired immediately, which may be as simple as just draining the blood.  Once it is left and injury to the area is repeated, the tissue may then require plastic surgery.
When fighters re-enter the cage with cauliflower ear they are bringing an exposed weakness into the fight.  It is no different than the days when boxers fought without allowing their brow to heal from a previous cut.  It is a legitimate strategy to strike at an area that will cause excessive bleeding.  Areas like the brow or undereye, along with the ear can bleed profusely when opened.  Although the injury iteself may not be considered to be life threatening or serious, the amount of blood severly impacts the fighter’s ability to perform.  Furthermore, it creates the impression that the fighter may be hurt more seriously than he really is at the time.  Excessive bleeding requires the ref to stop the fight, a doctor to examine the fighter and if the bleeding can not be controlled or stopped by the cutman, the fight may be called.  Or worse, your ear could be accidentally riped off like it was to Shigeyuki Uchiyama in his Pancrase match his past summer. 
To see the graphic details of this you can click below on posted in June.

If you know anyone with cauliflower ear and wish they would get it fixed, here is a link to research the options.

Filed under: Mixed Martial Arts, MMA

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