Why Do UFC Fighters Have Weird Ears?

The United Fight Championship arena is often packed with martial artists who are brave enough to stand up to hard blows in the face. And if you’re a fan keen enough on the details, you’ll notice that participants in the championship have cauliflower ears. But why do UFC fighters have weird ears in the first place?

UFC fighters have weird ears because of the hard blows that cause them to cramp up. During a match, fighters use their heads to lean on the opponent in defense. The movement causes the ears to develop a hematoma, which is what results in cauliflower ears.

For UFC fighters, the development of cauliflower ears isn’t a sign of weakness or defeat in a fine. For what it’s worth, many fighters don’t even bother treating weird ears because they’re a unique sense of pride.

Because, if you can stand up to continuous blows in a fight and come out strong, you’re still a champion even if you never take the trophies home.

Of course, there are things you can do to reduce the visibility of cauliflower ears. But if you’re someone who’s proud about how they look and love sport, you really wouldn’t want to bother – or would you?

How Do Cauliflower Ears Form?

two ufc fighters on the ground

Cauliflower ears form because of repeated damage to the ears’ structures, which often results from repeated blows in wrestling or martial arts match.

Attempted submission is another possible cause of cauliflower ears. Here, a fighter holds their opponent with a cross face hold or guillotine, causing the forearm to end up grinding against the ear.

To the people who don’t take part in the UFC championship, either as spectators or participants in the right, having cauliflower ears might look like a punishment from hell. But to those who take part in grappling training, such as jiu-jitsu and wrestling, weird ears are a forte to have.

Can You Treat Cauliflower Ears?

To be abundantly clear, having cauliflower ears can be extremely painful, especially if you’re just getting started with wrestling or MMA.

If you’ve been training for a while, and you often get punched and pumped with blows, so much so that your ears feel already sore, you may want to have the cauliflower shape treated.

There’s no existing home remedy for treating weird ears overnight, not to the best of our knowledge at least. The best option you have on the table is to take your ears syringed. Essentially, a professional ear specialist will drain hematoma (pool of blood) from your ears to ease the pain.

Here’s what the treatment process looks like:

  • An ear doctor cleans the swollen area with some alcohol wipes
  • They’ll insert a sterile needle in the direction of the swelling at an angle and draw the hematoma in the syringe. How long this process alone takes will depend on the size of your ears.
  • They might apply some pressure around the insertion to take out as much fluid as possible.
  • Following this procedure is the application of a compression bandage to help reconnect your ears tissues.
  • You may also have to take antibiotics to keep yourself from infection, but this is often a personal decision to make.

While we don’t qualify to make medical recommendations, we strongly suggest hiring someone who has a medical background to help treat the cauliflower ears – and do so in a clean environment.

Related article: Why Do Boxers Put Their Hands in Rice?

How to Avoid Cauliflower Ears

The best way to treat cauliflower is to avoid getting them in the first place. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t suffer from weird ears:

1. Avoid Getting Hit

UFC fighter getting hit in the face

One of the options to avoid developing cauliflower ears from UFC fights is to avoid getting hit in or around the ears.

Some people opt to wear helmets, which can go a long way to lower the impact of the blower from an opponent. The problem is that helmets tend to be heavy and somewhat obstructive, which is why professional UFC fighters don’t wear them.

2. Ice the Injury

Here’s the deal:

There is a very high chance that your opponent will hit you in the ear. After all, the UFC is about throwing heavy blows in an attempt to bring an opponent to the ground.

It’s highly likely you’ll feel pain after the fight, especially if you’re new to this kind of sport.

In this case, the best thing to do is to ice the injury as soon as you can. Icing your ears doesn’t cost a lot of time or money. All you have to do is to prepare ice packs at home and apply to all your ears. The ice packs will prevent the formation of a pool of blood in your ears and completely hinder the cauliflower ears from forming.

3. Wear Headgear to Minimize Impact

Your best bet is to invest in the right headgear to minimize the amount of trauma your ears take during grappling training or an actual MMA fight.

Headgears aren’t just for wimps. They’re suitable for anyone who wants to improve their MMA or wrestling skills without putting themselves in harm’s way.

Some of the best headgears you can use for wrestling and MMA include:

We know for sure that even the best headgear can’t guarantee 100% protection from all the blows your opponent will throw at you. But at least it will soak up much of the damage before reaching your ears, so you’ll less likely develop cauliflower ears.

Even if you don’t engage in grappling, MMA fights, and wrestling as many times as those who want to be champions do, investing in the right headgear can offer you the kind of protection you to train well and fight for longer.


For UFC fighters who have been in the game for a long, weird ears are a symbol of bravery in the championship and something to be proud of. But if you’re of the people who would rather not have cauliflower ears, the solutions we’ve shared about should help a great deal.

Show full profile Mantas Admin

Mantas is the Founder of MMAGearAddic.com and has a passion for all martial arts and travel. You can find him on Twitter @MantasLang or mantas@mmagearaddict.com

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