8. The Worst Cauliflower Ears in MMA

If you are a regular viewer of the UFC or have friends who train in grappling, chances are you have noticed something called cauliflower ear, or traumatic auricular hematoma as the doctors call it. Cauliflower ear is a condition that occurs when the external portion of the ear suffers a blow, blood clot or other collection of fluid under the perichondrium. This separates the cartilage from the overlying perichondrium that supplies its nutrients, causing it to die and resulting in the formation of fibrous tissue in the overlying skin. As a result, the outer ear becomes permanently swollen and deformed, resembling a cauliflower. That sounds rather unpleasant.

Without quick treatment involving the draining of the swollen ear, it will calcify and remain deformed for life, however, most fighters are not so quick to seek treatment for several reasons. The most quoted reason is that it has become something of a badge of honour for the super tough, a sign that the bearer of such ears is a trained fighter or grappler who has put in their time in the training room. Another reason not to seek treatment is because of the high likelihood of the injury reoccurring during another training session. Fighters don’t like to wear head gear, so they simply accept the cauliflower ear look and get on with it.

Not all cauliflower ear is created equal of course, so let’s take a look at some of the worst occurrences in the brief history of mixed martial arts!