Cauliflower Ear – the Pride of UFC Fighters

One of the typical injuries received by UFC fighters is Cauliflower or in the medical world better known as Perichondrial Hematoma. The condition of the injury is a type of disability caused by blunt trauma that directly hits the ear area.

Hematoma is a condition when blood becomes trapped in the area around the ear that is traumatized. If the injury continues, it can lead to a buildup of blood (swelling). As a result, there is an increase in pressure so that the blood flow around it will also be disrupted and can result in damage to cartilage tissue that does not get blood supply.

Cauliflower ears form due to untreated damage to the earlobe. The part of the ear that is damaged will fill with gore. If allowed, the blood will harden and form a permanent cauliflower ear.

The name Cauliflower Ear itself is none other than because the shape of the earlobe is similar to the structure of cauliflower. The injury was obtained from repeated hard hits which is the hallmark of full contact sports like the UFC.

In fact, Cauliflower’s ears can be cured with early treatment to prevent permanent deformity. Surgical procedures are required to remove the damaged tissue. Wearing a head protector (headgear) can also be used to prevent perichondrial hematoma injury.

However, UFC fighters only want to use headgear during practice. Most of them also refuse to undergo surgical procedures to heal their ears. As true fighters, instead of being embarrassed or worried about the deformation of the earlobes, they are proud. There are even some fighters who intentionally injure their own ears to form a Cauliflower which is considered a living trophy.

A common interpretation in the world of battle, the bigger the Cauliflower one has, the more formidable a fighter is. For them, the injury is not a trauma or disability, but a hallmark of a contact athlete. The Cauliflower’s ears are a badge of honor indicating that the fighter has high flight hours and excellent fighting experience.

Not without danger, the condition of a very fatal injury was experienced by a UFC female fighter from US, Leslie Smith. Leslie’s Cauliflower ears exploded after receiving a hard jap from Jessica Eye during the UFC 180 match in 2014. Yes, Leslie’s ears literally exploded at that point.

As a result of the blood gushing profusely from her ears to her chin, the referee had to stop fighting in the second round. Leslie got stitches and was allowed to continue the fight. However, unfortunately, blood flowed back from her ears. The fight finally had to be stopped for Jessica’s victory because the referee judged that Leslie could no longer continue the fight with bleeding ears.

Uniquely, the female fighter nicknamed The Peacemaker did not feel pain when she was still in the octagon. When the fight was over, Leslie just felt a pain in her ear. Leslie told ESPN that she was even willing to lose her ears, as long as she could win at that time.

In line with other UFC fighters, Leslie thinks her Cauliflower ears are a cool thing and she will not perform any surgery to correct the shape of her ears. She will let that ear shape for the rest of her life. “It’s freaking evidence I’ve put a lot of hours on the mat to get this mark of my ear. I’m definitely not going to get it fixed. I’m going to keep it forever.” ~ Leslie Smith

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