I am a shark, the ground is my ocean...and most people don't even know how to swim. - Rickson Gracie

Search Grappler Blog

воскресенье, 22 февраля 2009 г.

Cauliflower ear in bjj and judo

I never even heard of cauliflower ear, until i got a bit more serious with my training. For those that don't know what it is:

"Cauliflower ear (also hematoma auris or perichondrial hematoma) is a condition most common among amateur wrestlers, rugby players, mixed martial artists, and grapplers. If the external portion of the ear suffers a blow, a blood clot or other fluid may collect under the perichondrium. This separates the cartilage from the overlying perichondrium that is its source of nutrients, causing the cartilage to die. This leads to a formation of fibrous tissue in the overlying skin. When this happens, the outer ear becomes permanently swollen and deformed, resembling a cauliflower." - Wikipedia

This kind of crap happens to pretty much everyone involved in bjj and judo at some point but these are not the only sports where people get them. Boxing, rugby and a bunch of other activities where there is physical contact typically have to deal with cauliflower ear.

Headlocks and pretty much any kind of rough contact with the ear can cause this. Randy Couture, a famous wrestler and MMA fighter who you can see above has a bad case of cauliflower ear. The picture basically shows what can happen when it is untreated. The only thing that really can be done to help prevent it is using an ear guard.

First lets look at the reasons to avoid cauliflower ear:


I think this really is the #1 reason not to have it. Some say that guys look tough with cauliflower ear and some women are in fact attracted to this. For some its like a "badge of honor"! I would however not recommend it. At the end of the day, its way better to keep your ears the way they are. Your new girlfriend may not appreciate it as much as the old one.

For girls of course it is far worse. Certainly no guy in my opinion would ever appreciate cauliflower ear. Something to look into though. I wonder what do all the top female bjj players do about this. Do they really wear headgear all the time? Of course competitions in bjj do not allow ear guards which means many will still get it.

If you've got a really bad case of cauliflower ear that is easily noticeable, then this will certainly be a problem with the employer. Imagine going to an interview with huge swollen ears! It just makes you look nasty and why would your company want a nasty looking guy working with its clients. This just makes you less desirable.


If you didn’t care much about the first one, the second one is a reason to wear an ear guard. The swelling can occur in different parts of the ear, and if it does occur near your ear hole and swells heavily, you may struggle to hear (not only from your bjj instructor but everywhere else! :)
If untreated, the ear will deform, then swell, then deform again and this will go on and on. In addition to that you may also run the risk of ear infection. The swollen skin may be less resistant to germs. The ear being continuously hit will also cause pain - putting a hat on, washing your head.. pretty much anything.

And yes, if you go to the doctor quick enough, he may drain most of the blood out. If you wait, you can do cosmetic surgery which is going to be very expensive. In any case, I think i have just mentioned another couple of reasons why cauliflower ear sucks.


Cant really enjoy listening to music with your ipod! Well. I think that’s small but also not great.
The other thing, don’t do it yourself. You really run the risk of screwing your ear up even worse. Infection is one reason not to do it. If you didn’t go to the doctor right away, just buy yourself an ear guard or head guard for wrestling and use it all the time.

Personal Experience: this is a really nasty thing to have guys... and does not look good at all! You walk around with screwed-up ears. You feel pain when somebody grabs your head or if its really bad when just somebody hugs you and makes contact with your ear.

I drained once each of my ears and wear the ear guard every time I train now with no exceptions. Once you get cauliflower ear, you seem to keep getting it more and more. Draining also did not do much for the second time I did it because I think too much time went before the ear got drained. It dried up and so there wasn’t much blood to drain.

The annoying thing is also that the ear fills up back with blood afterwards so if you haven’t got time to go to the doctor and keep draining ears all the time then just wear the head guard.


The only way to prevent cauliflower ear is to use protective head gear. Please see my post about head gear and ear guards here.

1 комментарий:

  1. but also the thing to remember is that cauliflower ear is really a normal thing for this kind of sport. Almost everybody who has trained seriously in bjj, judo or grappling have got it.