Tale of an MMA Injury – Fractured Nose


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The crowd cheered as the two of us circled one another in the ring. We both began to fire off our jabs to lead off a short feeling out period consisting of movement and footwork rather than a large amount of punches.  The fact that it was a training session, one that many the fighters at Joslin’s were on hand tonight for, had resulted in many of the matches starting off in a similarly relaxed manner.

My opponent that day was a good friend of mine.  It was supposed to be a training session, with no points being scored but the combination of a few loud cheers from the steadily growing crowd and a few nice shots landed by each of us, elevated our intensity immediately.

My body began to loosen after a minute or so into the first round. I felt great, light on my feet and excited to be there. Slipping a punch, I came back with a quick combination that hit its mark. My opponent fired back immediately forcing me back against the 3 ring ropes that were containing me, him and the referee.  Feeling my back against the ropes I threw a combination of punches, none of which came close to landing. In the midst of my attack I took a hit, as a straight right hand drove right through my nose. It didn’t hit my face at all which meant my nose had absorbed every ounce of power the punch had behind it.  Not a good thing, but I felt fine until the referee stopped the match a few moments later. Three or four people including the ref closed in to assess the damage, which I believed to be simply a bloody nose as I felt a few drops of blood drip down my chin.

Instantly I knew it had to be something else. Everyone was slowly tilting their heads side to side as they examined my face. I quickly jumped from the ring towards one of the many mirrors than lined the martial arts studio. It took me only a second to realize why they were looking at me so strangely.

Damn! I thought to myself. My thoughts carried on , My $&#^ing nose!

The thing was so far across my face I think I could have almost smelled my ear. I grabbed it immediately and tried desperately to push it back into place as if I could magically transform my newly acquired “wicked witch of the west” nose back to normal. The damn thing wouldn’t budge.

After a five hour wait in the emergency department at a nearby hospital the doctor told me what I had already known, that my nose was broken. It was a complete break.

What can be done about it? My mind blurted out, moments before he suggested that I book an appointment with a plastic surgeon to have it straightened mainly for breathing purposes.

I went home that night and early the next day I did just that. Four days later, I had it done.  I woke up on an operating table, still feeling high off of the medication they had given me to put me under. It’s a little vain to say but I really hoped my nose was straight again; even more I was hoping to have my old nose back entirely. It had felt so uncomfortable, before I had it fixed, to walk around with what felt like was someone else’s nose on my face.

Once the swelling disappeared my nose was much better than what it had been a week earlier before the doctor straightened it –how he did so I’d love to know– but it was still different to me. I chalked it down as battle injury and got used to it as quick as I could.

The worst part of it all was that training was affected greatly as I obviously couldn’t spar for a long time. I couldn’t even do BJJ or wrestling because an accidental elbow or knee to the face would have shifted my nose back to Slothville –from the Goonies—which would have sucked! Eventually I found a cage, used by karate competitors that covered my face well enough that I could begin to grapple. The Gi combined with the bulky helmet ignited some laughs from my students but it worked. I had to also make sure no one attempted guillotine chokes on me for a while since it would have popped the helmet off quick, probably taking my nose along for the ride.

I’d say it was a good six to eight months, maybe more, when I stopped feeling worried  that my nose would snap every time I’d take a hard shot in the face. The good news is that my nose thickened as it healed and now seems to be able to withstand harder shots than ever before.

Spar with headgear, wear proper 16 ounce gloves and protect yourself from getting uglier while training.

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20 more injury tales to come…

Categories : Articles & Stories

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  1. jeff says:

    Great story Jeff! I can’t afford to get any uglier… so thanks for the advice and warning.

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