HomeBoxingHow Come UFC Fighters Have Cauliflower Ears But Boxers...

How Come UFC Fighters Have Cauliflower Ears But Boxers Don’t?

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The UFC has come a long way since its early days, wherein the fights seemed like modern-day gladiators due to its brutality and inconsistent regulations. Today, the organisation can already be considered top-tier in the world of sports. Their main events are always sold out, while Pay-Per-View subscriptions constantly make millions, especially during money fights. The current top UFC fighters are a few of the most generously paid athletes globally. No wonder why these MMA fighters train and work so hard under the UFC camp.

Meanwhile, boxing, which is a far more established sport compared to MMA, is still holding its ground in the world of fighting sports. Gone are the days when they totally dominated the industry because now they have the UFC to share the stage with. Main fight boxers still enjoy great purses for their fights, but the tight competition from UFC draws some of their fans and followers.

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Professional fighting sports are challenging and close to brutal when it comes to physical stress. Punches and kicks are part of the job, wherein serious injuries are the worst-case scenario. Bruises and scratches are all part of a day’s work. On the other hand, MMA fighters and boxers still pursue the job because of the promising paychecks that await them if they succeed at the professional level. Also, they are really passionate about fighting sports, and they enjoy their job, which negates all these physical stress and injuries. Meanwhile, you may want to check out J9.com for sports betting and various premium casino games.

The Cauliflower Ears

The Cauliflower ear is one of the most prevalent injuries among UFC fighters, but boxers rarely suffer. This type of injury has a straightforward name because the fighter suffering from it will have deformed ears looking like the vegetable cauliflower. According to Healthline, the expert health guidance website, cauliflower ears happen as ears suffer too much stress and constantly receive trauma. This damage can cause blood to clot and create bulges. Ears are naturally soft, and only cartilages support these organs.

Fighters do not suffer cauliflower ears after a single fight. They usually develop it after months or years of training and fighting. Cauliflower ears are generally harmless, but there are times when the bulges pop if it continues to get bludgeoned. This situation will leave a bloody scene, and there are times that fights get called off because of popped cauliflower ears even though the fighter is still well and able to fight. The bleeding becomes uncontrollable.

A good example of this is Leslie Smith’s fight against Jessica Eye at UFC 180. Leslie was suffering from cauliflower ears, and Jessica caught her ears straight, which caused the cauliflower ear to pop. It wasn’t a knockout blow, and Leslie seemed fine on her feet after the punch. However, her ear already looked gruesome, with the appendage flapping at the side of her face. The doctors and referee called off the fight, and Jessica Eye won via TKO.

According to Bleacher Report, many MMA fighters think of cauliflower ears as a badge of honour instead of an injury. This thought is specifically true among wrestlers because even Khabib Nurmagomedov, one of the best UFC fighters of all time, has fought with cauliflower ears in the past but constantly dominated his opponents. Khabib Nurmagomedov is a special talent as one of the strongest UFC fighters ever. Maybe his skills and qualities just surpassed the disadvantage cauliflower ears can give.

Why MMA Fighters Are More Prone to Cauliflower Ears

As mentioned above, the main cause of cauliflower ears is constant stress and trauma to the ears area. Boxers wear protective headgear when sparring, and their heads are only free of protection during fight nights. This reason is why they rarely suffer from cauliflower ears despite constantly fighting or receiving punches and assaults. On the other hand, mixed martial artists are more balanced in fighting because they have to practice different arts to keep their skills well-rounded. UFC fighters also do boxing, but it is just a facet of their overall fighting skills.

The biggest factor why UFC fighters suffer from cauliflower ears is their wrestling training. It may often be overlooked, but when MMA fighters wrestle, they receive constant pressure on their ears and the area at the side of their face as they tend to protect their faces from getting punched while grappling. The side of their face could get pressed towards the opponent, and the ears unnoticeably receive damage, yet they do not realise this since it is just minor pain. Just imagine the amount of trauma the ears suffer for the greatest UFC fighters after decades of grappling and wrestling training.

How To Cure Cauliflower Ears and Tips on How to Avoid This Injury

It would be elementary to say ear protection is the obvious solution to prevent cauliflower ears. Wearing protective headgear when sparring or training definitely helps. However, if you are into MMA or aspire to have a career in the UFC, it is inevitable for you to train without headgear. It interferes with wrestling or grappling training, so wearing protective headgears is discouraged.

Our healthcare tip to avoid cauliflower ears is to ice the ears area or apply cold pressure to prevent the blood clot from forming. If you are already suffering from cauliflower ears, you can ask your doctor to drain blood from the area. However, do not expect your ears to become normal right away after draining blood once. You need to repeat the process a few more times until the cauliflower ears disappear. You can also opt for otoplasty, a special form of surgery to restore your ears back to their normal state.


Cauliflower ears are not really a life-threatening injury and may not affect your performance as a fighting athlete in general. However, the area can be fragile as it could pop up when severely hit. Prevention and addressing cauliflower ears is best advisable to avoid a bloody mess if an accident happens. Always consult your physician as well instead of using alternative methods to cure cauliflower ears.

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