Some people are paranoid about getting it, some think it’s sexy, guys try to figure out of it will get them laid, some people hate it, some people think it’s a badge of honor, others warn people away from it, some include it in their FAQ for BJJ newbies. The New York Times even had an informative and interesting article about it!
What is it? Cauliflower ear, and everyone who knows what it is has some opinion or twelve on subject.
Maybe you’re so new to BJJ that it’s somehow escaped your notice. Maybe you would have made it your whole life, happy about having any concept of what it is. It’s time to grow up.
That’s Randy Couture, a UFC fighter. That chewed up wad of chewing gum hanging off his head is his ear. He repeatedly gets punched in the ear and has the deformity to show it. He explains what cauliflower ear is in this funny scene from The Expendables.
Trauma to the ear causes a permanent deformity if it is not treated. It’s a common injury in BJJ because we press our faces and ears and heads up against our partners and pivot on said areas and traumatize our poor, helpless ears. Or we get kneed or elbowed or head butted in the ear. Whatever the cause, it’s common to see in BJJ academies. The Fightworks Podcast featured a small article on Cauliflower Ear in BJJ and included a few reasons WHY you should avoid it; my favorite reason was because your mangled ears will no longer be earbud friendly! 😀 They also had a podcast episode about it, in which they interview a doctor about what cauliflower ear is, how it’s caused, treatment options, etc.
I must confess that the real reason I wanted to post about this is because I found out that the Korean for “Cauliflower ears” is 만두귀 “mandugi” because it looks like “mandu,” Korean dumplings and “gui” is the Korean word for ears – so “Mandu ears.”
Oh wait–what was that you say? You can’t really picture it? Sigh. Fine. Let me photochop it for you. The pains I go through to keep you entertained! Here it is.
Looks delicious, right ladies? 😉
You can prevent it by wearing headgear, which Slideyfoot talks about here.
THIS kind of headgear:
Okay, so you’ve decided you’re far too fashion conscious/cool/embarrassed/lazy/unconcerned to wear headgear. Then one day OH NOEZ! You get an ear trauma and realize part of your ear is filled up with fluid like a hot-water bottle. Never fear! There is still TIME to get it fixed before it is a permanent deformity. You can find a sparkly boy named Edward and have him suck on your ear. Or you could attach a leech onto the affected area. Or if you’re really ballsy, you could pull a Van Gogh.
If none of those options are appealing to you, you can buy a syringe and suck the fluid out at home, or go to the doctor and have him slice open your ear. Georgette wrote a DIY home ear-draining article that Martha would be proud of. It involves puncturing your ear many times with insulin needles and making a few withdrawals. My ENT doctor friend informed me that this needle is far too tiny for the job, and would rather slice the ear and gut it like a fish, then sewing cotton pads onto it until it heals, thereby keeping you off the mat for 2 weeks but FULLY healing your ear. As we all know, Georgette is far too addicted to stay off the mats for 2 weeks. Grapplearts also featured a good article about fixing cauliflower ear, including a few personal anecdotes from BJJ people.
In my gym we have a few cases of mandugi, including my instructor, who does MMA. I don’t think it’s bad IF it is mild and your ear still resembles an ear rather than a fetus attached to your head.
I never want it. I want my sexy ears. Okay, mine aren’t really sexy–I’ve had too many ear piercings for them to look sexy. Now they look like someone came at my ears with a stapler, so I can’t afford to have them look any weirder than they already do. The first sign of any kind of cauliflower and I will go to my ENT doctor friend, have him cut me open like a corpse in an autopsy, and get rid of anything remotely food-like. Afterward I will wear headgear like a lonely girl on prom night until I get bored or forget about it, then the disgusting cycle will begin again. Like tapeworm!
Attention retailers: I would DEFINITELY wear headgear if it came in Princess Leia style.
So toss in your 2 cents about cauliflower. What do you think about it?