Why Fighters Have Weird Ears?

If you are regularly watching UFC fights or you have friends that are offering grappling training, then you might see fighters with weird ears.

Alexander Gustafsson

Weird ears are also known as cauliflower ear, traumatic auricular, and doctors called it hematoma.

Most of the fighters have weird ear because when the external portion of the ear suffers a blow, collection of fluid, or blood clotting under the perichondrium. It results in the separation of cartilage from the overlying perichondrium that is responsible for the supply of nutrients, and fibrous tissues are formed in the overlying skin.

So, as a result, the outer ear permanently remains swollen, and its shape looks like a cauliflower. 

Famous Boxers with Cauliflower Ears

  1. Frankie Edgar
  2. James Thompson
  3. Alexander Gustafsson
  4. BJ Penn
  5. Randy Couture
  6. Leslie Smith
  7. Kazushi Sakuraba

If the fighters don’t go for a quick treatment option, and no draining of swollen air is performed, then the ear might remain deformed for life.

Frankie Edgar

It has been seen that most of the fighters don’t go for quick treatment due to several reasons.

  • The most important reason is they consider it a badge of honor. They want to show the world that they are trained fighters and have spent a good time in a training room.
  • Another reason for not getting treatment is the chance of reoccurring of the injury during the other training session. Most fighters don’t want to wear headgear, so they open heartily, accept weird ears, and want to go with them. 

Causes of Weird Ears

The most frequent and common cause is hit to the ear. Repeated hits to the ear can result in the collection of blood, and that blocks the flow of nutrients and blood. When the outer layer of the skin is pulled from cartilage, it results in the deformed ear. Most of the time, cauliflower ears are because of sports injuries, but it is not necessarily true all the times. If you have an infection in the ear lobe, you might have weird ears. Trauma to the ear can also cause cauliflower ear. 

If the tissues die because of a lack of blood supply and nutrients, you may have a deformed and swollen ear. The effects of cauliflower may become more prominent and permanent over time. But the good news for the fighters and the common man is cauliflower ears can be prevented even after the injury. 

Who are at risk of cauliflower ears?

Weird ear occurs in those people who participate in contact sports, such as boxing and wrestling. Let’s take an example of wrestling; trauma can result due to hitting one another or rubbing the opponent’s head or even by touching with a wrestling mat. Weird ears are common in people who practice martial arts and rugby payers. People who participate in these sports are at more risk than others. Protective headgear can be used in these sports. 

It is not necessary that only sports players will have weird ears, it can happen with other people as well. Weird ears may be the result of an accident or any other physical altercations. If the higher area in the ear, such as cartilage is infected, it can result in a cauliflower ear. 

Symptoms of Weird Ears

The initial symptoms that lead the ear to weird or cauliflower ears can be similar to the blunt trauma. The first and visible symptoms can be red ear and swelling. So, if you have received multiple blows or even a single blow to your ear, don’t take it lightly, and it can result in permanent deformation. So, the quick and timely treatment can prevent the development of cauliflower ear, but it should be performed before the tissue faces the lack of blood flow. 

Treatment of Weird Ears

If you suffer from any injury that can result in blockage of the tissues of the ear, then there are great chances that you may develop a cauliflower ear. The purpose of treatment is to ease the blood flow so that tissues can gain the required blood. A doctor can help you to remove clot blood or to drain excess fluid. For reconnecting tissues, stitches are required, and to put pressure on the affected area; special bandages are used. This dressing needs to stay in place for a quick recovery for a few days or weeks. You will have to frequently visit the doctor to avoid the signs of infection and further treatments. For quick healing, the doctor can prescribe you antibiotics. 

Prevention of Weird Ears

The best thing to do in any situation is “Prevention.” If you are involved in any activity or sports such as boxing, rugby, wrestling, or any other contact sports, the risk for trauma is high, so to prevent this, wear protective headgear. Before buying, make sure that the headgear is a proper fit for you. Because the loose helmet can slip out of place and result in a severe injury. Too tight headgear can also be damaging as it will interact with your ear while wearing and taking it off. Athletes must wear headgear during practice and training sessions as well. 

Another important prevention of weird ears is, see your doctor if you feel any chances of trauma. Treatment can prevent your ear from permanent deformation. For good results, it must be done as soon as the injury occurs. 


As a spectator, when we watch fighters, we start thinking, why they have such weird ears? We consider their ear as the misshapen ear. At first, we might consider it as some sort of ear defect. Most of the MMA fighters have weird ears. As it is mentioned earlier, such ears can be because of blows to the ear. Some fighters consider it as an honor badge and don’t want to hide by using headgear. So, if you notice swelling and redness, visit your doctor. If the issue is not addressed for some time, it may result in permanent deformation. The best way to prevent weird ears is by using a headgear. Make sure that the headgear is a proper fit for you. Loose or tight headgear can cause severe injury. It is not necessary that only fighters may have a weird ear, a common man can also have a weird ear as well. 

Sky Hoon. About
Martial Art Fan
He started his love on martial arts by watching MMA and Angela Lee. He then started this blog to learn more about the different martial arts.
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