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Leslie Smith felt pretty good when her ear exploded. At least she felt as good as you could feel in the midst of an athletic competition with incredibly high stakes and potentially life-threatening consequences. High above sea level, in front of a raucous crowd in Mexico City, which she thought seemed desperate for blood, Smith tried to give the audience exactly what he wanted.
The fighter known as "The Peacemaker" stalked Jessica Eye in the Octagon when it happened. It was 201
Smith was so interested in living up to his reputation as "the female Diaz brother" – of destruction and chaos in the cage – that she didn't even notice that the plasma was already flowing or that it was her. But no one else who saw the cruel slow motion playback is likely to soon forget the play .
It was a harmless right hand at the end of the first round that did it. Nothing special. No deepening windup or secret technique. A blow among dozens that Eye had flown its way that evening. Even back in her corner between rounds, Smith did not seem to be part of the kind of drama that exists almost only in the wild world of martial arts.
"I had no idea it had exploded like that," Smith told the Bleacher Report nearly five years later. "It didn't hurt, I didn't feel. Adrenaline is a hell of a drug."
Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC / Getty Images
A few strokes in the second round worsened a bad situation, leaving Smith's ear literally dangling (some images NSFW) from her head as judge Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight. Smith, by his own description, cast a tantrum in the cage, furious that she was not allowed to continue. It was still not entirely enlightened to her that she was almost full of Mick Foley in front of millions of fans looking around the world on television.
"The first time it was evil after they had already stopped the fight," she says. "One of the officials came over, took a tissue of gauze and pushed it inside my ear on the front where it came out of my head. He pushed a lot in there. That was when I realized it could be quite serious.
"They spent an hour in the back and sewed it back together when I lay there. Even then, I was still angry. I would really have turned that ear into a victory. Therefore, they have people in there to make the decisions for us. "
Smith's ear obviously does not explode spontaneously. The eye does not have a death row like the gentlemen of an old Sunday morning kung fu-flick. Instead, the culprit was a typical illness, at least for those who exchanged Doctors can call it an auricular hematoma Fighters and wrestlers simply call it "cauliflower ear."
Your body hurts all the time after a martial arts training session, at least if you do But only the ear presents the unique combination of cartilage and space for blood to the pool that creates the environment for meat to die on spot, caught forever in an abundance similar to cauliflower.
" It is a professional danger to martial arts, "says Will Carroll, a former sports writer, now working in the field of biomechanics and injury prevention at Motus Global. The basic etiology is that ear is hit and there is trauma in the ear, usually with cartilage damage.
"The resulting blue marking can actually abolish the blood flow and cause the tissue in the area to die, which is called necrosis. The trauma also separates a space inside the ear that is filled with blood, loose tissue and all forms of other crap, which gradually solidifies and adheres to the area, causing the unusual shape and swelling. "
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Drainage of the raised area is the most common treatment for cauliflower. The American Greek-Roman coach Matt Lindland recommends a great-metal needle for the job, and even then there is some degree of experimentation and error required to find and remove all the fluid built up from the constant trauma that comes from the friction. and dragging of wrestling.
"You don't want a small insulin target," says the 2000 Olympic silver medal and the former UFC title competitor. "Certainly some pain is involved, but life is pain."
"It is completely a complete metaphor for fighting or wrestling in general. You break down cartilage in the ear and it cures again and becomes stronger over time. of ravaging the whole body and becoming stronger. Really, this is a problem that kind of goes away.Your ears transform.I don't know if you call it a deformity as it comes from all the traumas, but they take one new form "
Most wrestlers and warriors can remember their first time. The pain is sharp fluid that comes out when you hold the raised area with the needle, a little confusing to many.
" When I tried to drain the first time, it was too late," An FC star and former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson say. "It had already partially calcified and there was a small pocket of blood that we couldn't quite get to. They held the needle in and kind of dug around for it. I was like: "Just let boys. It's stupid."
"When it got raw, I just massaged it. It spreads out of the blood. Everyone was like, "Isn't that so bad?" Well, yes. What should you do? Eventually it is calcined like this, and since it did, it is not blown up and has been so bad again. "
Photo by Jonathan Snowden for Bleacher Report
Whether it's a needle or a painful self massage, something needs to be done to ease the pressure and prevent The explosive solution to the problem The eye unintentionally offered Smith Excursions to the needle are most common – but it is a temporary solution that is not even beneficial to most warriors.
"After that, the ear has Need to put pressure on it for a good long time, and even then there is usually some permanent deformity, says Carroll. "There is also a high risk of infection, both because of the site and the fact that people tend to get back in a dirty environment like a gym or lockers too quickly."
For most competitors, calm and relaxation is simply not an option after treatment. After all, the cauliflower is likely to have emerged during training for athletic competition. It is unlikely to take uncertain time, which means that it is a problem that goes from a short-lived genes to a long-term reality rather quickly.