MMA fighters are tough, hardened warriors. They spend years mastering their craft and transforming their bodies into perfect fighting machines.
The training is brutal and unforgiving, and broken bones are very common. But what about broken noses? If the average person can suffer a nosebleed with something as seemingly innocuous as a sneeze or errant fingernail, how common are these injuries for people whose 9-to-5 consists of getting punched, kicked, and elbowed in the face?
Do UFC Fighters Have Broken Noses?
Unsurprisingly, UFC fighters break their noses all of the time. They suffer from nasal fractures in the gym and in the octagon.
Fractures occur when the bones and cartilage in the nose break. All of those punches and kicks place a great deal of pressure on the nose and that's when fractures occur.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they break their noses every time they take a direct hit.
All of those strikes can render the appendage a little worse for wear at the end of the fight. it can be flattened, red, blue, and bloodied, but it may not necessarily be broken. And even if it is broken, there's no guarantee you'll know about it.
UFC fighters are tough. More importantly, they know that showing weakness will place them at a disadvantage, encouraging their opponent to launch a finishing assault. So, they fight through, carried on a wave of adrenaline. Only when the fight ends, the adrenaline subsides, and they are checked by a doctor does the extent of the damage become evident.
Can You Break Your Nose In MMA?
You can definitely suffer from a broken nose when participating in mixed martial arts.
Fighters are trained to protect themselves at all times, but as the goal is to pummel the other fighter into submission, they need to pull their hands away at some point. All it takes is one hook, one powerful jab, or one well-timed uppercut to break the nose.
The nose is mostly cartilage, so a broken nose often refers to a broken septum. The septum is the cartilage in the middle of your nose. When this breaks, it can cause breathing problems. This means that you take in less oxygen and exert yourself more, which could potentially hinder performance.
A nasal fracture can also occur in the nose bone—the hard part of your nose. Both of these fractures fall under the description of a broken nose and both can lead to great pain and discomfort, as well as black eyes, bleeding, and breathing problems.
Do MMA Fighters Break Their Noses On Purpose?
This is one of several strange myths that exist around the world of MMA and combat sports. It states that MMA fighters and boxers break their noses on purpose to prevent breaks in the future and get them used to the pain.
But it's not true.
It is true that MMA fighters use brutal techniques to condition their shins, but they don't willingly break their bones.
Why would they?
If your nose breaks in the wrong place, you might need surgery to put it right. At best, you'll be out of action for a few weeks. At worst, you could develop a weakness that will hang over you throughout your career.
The truth is that they don't need to break their own noses, as their opponent is perfectly willing to do it for them.
Do MMA Fighters Get Their Nose Bone Removed?
This is another myth. The idea is that MMA fighters have their nose bone surgically removed to prevent future fractures, but as noted above, the bone isn't the only issue here. Most nasal fractures occur in the cartilage, and even if you were to go to an extreme and have that removed, it's not going to make those punches hurt any less.
Do You Need Surgery After a Broken Nose?
Many MMA fighters don't get surgery following broken noses. They simply get the nose set and then take a few months off as it heals. They focus on the practicalities more than the aesthetics, so while a misshaped nose won't send them to the operating table a fractured nose that leads to severe breathing difficulties might.
How Often Are Bones Broken In MMA?
It's very rare for MMA fighters to make it through their careers without suffering from a broken bone or five.
Head injuries are the most common, as the head makes for an obvious target. Nasal fractures, eye injuries, and broken jaws can all occur in the octagon.
Reports suggest that more than 10% of all injuries in MMA relate to the nose. These injuries are more common in the lower ranks than in the higher ones. This seems a little counter-intuitive when you think that professional fighters hit harder, attack more relentlessly, and know how to finish their opponents.
But fighters at the highest level are also better conditioned and know how to defend themselves.
How Can I Protect My Nose In Mixed Martial Arts?
MMA fighters have been known to prep their noses before a fight, massaging them to promote blood flow and flexibility, thus making them less susceptible to breaks.
During the actual fight, there isn't much you can do except stick to your training and listen to your coach.
A doctor will remain by the ringside throughout the fight. It's their job to watch the fighters and to look for signs of serious distress and damage. If one of the fighters has suffered a broken nose and is clearly out on their feet, the doctor may call for the fight to be stopped, at which point they can get the medical treatment they need.
Of course, there are many ways you can reduce the risk of broken noses during training, but the worst injuries occur on fight night when your opponent is there to take you out and not to help you work up a sweat.