Is Having A Big Nose Bad for MMA? 👃

Did you know that mixed martial arts (MMA) is the third most popular sport globally? You are most likely one of the 451 million people interested in the sport – as evidenced by the quest that led you to this page. Nonetheless, you may be worried that having a big nose can be a weakness in this sport.

Having a big nose is not bad for MMA. All noses comprise cartilage and other tissue. What determines the pain and damage is the force your opponent applies and how much the cartilage and nasal bones absorb. Therefore, you must get your defense right to avoid serious injuries.

Read on for detailed insights into the common causes of nasal injuries, how to treat them, and how to protect your nose during a fight.

Common Nasal Injuries in MMA

Now that you have learned that having a big nose is not bad for MMA, I will describe some of the common nasal injuries you may get in the ring. Here are some of them:

Boxer’s Nose Deformity

Have you ever noticed that some boxer’s noses appear collapsed at the bridge?

This deformity is known as a saddle nose, or boxer’s nose deformity. It occurs when the nose bridge develops a concavity and appears shorter due to cartilage support loss.

When an opponent hits you on the nose, the trauma can cause blood to clot under the septal skin lining. The clot disrupts blood flow to the cartilage, causing it to disintegrate.


nasal fracture is another common injury in contact sports. Unlike a saddle deformity, which results from weaker cartilage support, fractures can occur due to injury to either bone or cartilage.

You can detect a broken bone immediately. When you experience pain, swelling, bleeding, and your nose gets deformed, there’s a high chance you have a nasal fracture. Another sign of fracture is bruising around the nose and eyes.  

A fractured nose should be a cause for alarm – it can cause profuse bleeding, and you risk developing breathing difficulties as blood runs down the back of your throat. Besides, continuing a fight with this type of injury can worsen the problem as subsequent blows may damage your facial sinuses and bones.

To treat nasal fractures, you may rest, apply an ice pack, or take a pain reliever. However, if you experience breathing problems and excessive bleeding, you should call your doctor immediately. 


According to this journal article, nose bleeding is the most frequent type of injury in boxing.

In MMA, nose bleeds often result from direct blows. Blunt trauma from hits by an opponent can rupture the blood vessels in the nose, causing bleeding. The injury can be worse if the skin inside your nose is dry and irritated.

A nosebleed should not be worrisome since it’s relatively easier to treat than saddle nose deformity or fractures. However, you should terminate the bout if the bleeding does not stop.

How To Treat Nasal Injuries Sustained in MMA Fights

You cannot avoid injuries during a bout. Therefore, it is essential to know how you can treat a broken nose quickly and resume your favorite sport.

Here are some of the common ways of treating nasal injuries sustained from bouts:

Quick Remedies

When you break your nose in the ring, your first objective should be to minimize bleeding, swelling, and pain.

According to Mayo Clinic, you can treat a broken nose by:

  • Acting quickly. You should lean forward and breathe through the mouth to reduce the amount of blood that runs down the throat.
  • Applying ice. Apply an ice pack immediately after the break. After that, apply every 6 hours for the first 24-48 hours. Alternatively, use a cold compress. It will help more if you apply the ice or cold compress for 10-15 minutes each time. To avoid further damage or pain, don’t apply too much pressure on the nose.
  • Taking a pain reliever. Relieve the pain using over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium.
  • Elevating your head. This reduces swelling and throbbing.
  • Resting. After treatment, don’t play any sport for at least two weeks. Notably, avoid contact sports for at least six weeks.

Use Rhinoplasty

Let’s consider this situation: You have participated in several MMA fights, and due to the hits your nose took, it is deformed. You are worried about your facial appearance and are exploring how to remedy the problem.

Rhinoplasty is a potential solution to your problem. This type of surgery is common for restructuring the nose.

The surgeon resets the bones of the nasal structure and adds cartilage grafts to improve support. However, you should be aware that this procedure is costly and difficult to perform.

Besides, you should only opt for this treatment if you intend to retire from the sport afterward. This is because re-injury can undo the doctor’s work and weaken your nasal structure further. Also, revision rhinoplasty is more complicated and costlier.


Let me reiterate that you should only use rhinoplasty to retire from MMA and any contact sport you participate in. Also, you should only have one surgery. Subsequent ones can cause more damage.

How To Avoid Nasal Breaks During MMA Fights

Since treating a broken nose can be costly, you should aim to prevent it by all means necessary. To protect your nose, you must:

Get Your Defense Right

That you have chosen to participate in MMA means you are risking getting hit.

However, your goal should be to protect yourself and get hit less. To do that, you must get a competent coach to train you how to defend yourself.

Use Sparring Gloves

You need to use sparring gloves for better protection. These types of gloves have more padding and only weigh 16oz (453.6 gm).

Use a Headgear

You must use a special type of headgear to prevent breaking or damaging your nose in sparring. Notably, the headgear must have a nose bar. This ensures your cartilage and nasal bones are protected.

As this article reports, there are several cases of fighters who started using headgears with strong nose bars that minimized instances of nasal injury.

Build Your Nose’s Resilience

Although the phrase “no pain, no gain” is considered a cliché, you may need to apply it to build a stronger nose.

As this discussion forum highlights, it would help train your nose to get used to hits. To do that, massage your nose with a boxing glove, apply light pressure on it, or hit it lightly. After that, massage it in a circular motion. Do this for 2-3 minutes. Besides making your nose stronger, this procedure improves blood circulation.

Your nose may get red and slightly inflated. Don’t be alarmed – that is normal.

This video explains how you can prevent your nose from breaking in detail:

Keep Your Chin Tucked

Elevating your chin during a fight exposes you to the opponent’s punches. By doing that, you put your nose in danger and can easily get knocked out.

Tucking your chin makes it harder for the opponent to hit your nose. Instead, it exposes your forehead, which is a better shield. Did you know that your opponent can easily break their hand if they punch your forehead heavily?

Bottom Line

All noses, whether big or small, are made of cartilage and other tissue. The amount of pain you will feel depends on the opponent’s force and its impact on your nose.

Instead of worrying about having a big nose, you should aim to protect your nose by practicing how to defend yourself, using protective gear, notably gloves and headgear, training it, and keeping your chin tucked during fights. Also, you should know how to treat nasal injuries to reduce damage quickly.