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If you’re a fighter, wrestler, or grappler you know all too well what cauliflower ear is.

For those that don’t, it’s when your ear experiences some form of blunt trauma that disrupts the connection between the skin and the ear’s cartilage causing a blood clot to develop underneath the skin.

Left untreated you’ll end up looking like Randy Couture, well maybe not that bad.

The feeling is easily recognizable during training. I’ll try to free my head from a guillotine choke and my ears bend back on themselves while sliding back through my opponent’s headlock. Then immediately after that my ears appear red, swollen, and painful to the touch. Boom, I have the initial stages of cauliflower ear.

I’ll follow up with a post on what to do IF you get to this stage. But making it to that point is completely preventable if you do one thing…

Wear Ear Guards Dummy


Forget about the whole badge of honor thing that wrestlers, grapplers, and fighters claim cauliflower ear to be.

And chicks may dig scars, but they don’t dig cauliflower ear.

So do yourself a favor and wear ear guards. This is the easiest way to to prevent cauliflower ear.

I went and bought myself some Asics ear guards like the ones above and ever since it’s like I’ve been a new man on the mat.

Believe it or not, if you’re worried about staying pretty it can seriously affect how aggressive you are.

Now that I’m not afraid of where my head is positioned for fear of what will happen to my ears my game has opened up quite a bit.

They are easy to adjust, and aren’t a nuissance to wear.

If you’re concerned about being called gay or a p#ssy, or worried you won’t be looked at as a “real” grappler, don’t be. You may get a few chuckles here and there (I’m the only one in my class that wears them), but Eddie Bravo, Joe Rogan, and Stephan Kesting (two black belts and one brown) wear them and that’s good enough company for me.

You should also consider this; if the benefits of wearing ear guards for cosmetic or aethetic reasons don’t appeal to you maybe you’d want to weigh the medical element.

Accompanying ear deformity is the possible loss of hearing and frequent infection. None of those seem like very exciting effects to me, and they shouldn’t to you.

So wear F-ing ear guards!