Why is it bad for a fighter to blow their nose if it’s broken ?

MMA, Boxing and all combat sports are brutal, and can lead to some of the worst injuries imaginable. One of the most popular injuries, that almost every fighter has faced at least once, is a broken, or battered nose.

If you are a combat sports fan, you may have heard coaches screaming at their fighters not to blow their nose when it is broken, but why is it so? There have been many occasions when we have seen the effects
of this in MMA, the most recent fight that comes to mind is the Donald “Cowboy” Cerone Vs Tony Ferguson fight.

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Cowboy took a massive beating in the first two rounds, his face was all beat up, and his nose was broken, making it difficult for him to breath. Between the second and third round, Cerone made the mistake of
blowing his nose, trying to get the blood out. However, his eye swelled shut almost instantly, leading to a doctor stoppage.

Another fight that comes to mind is the Anderson Silva vs Demian Maia fight, in which Maia made the same mistake.

When a fighter’s nose is broken, or cracked, particularly the bone that separates their sinuses and their orbital bone, blowing their nose can increase sinuses’ pressure, and sometimes force air behind their
eye. This air contains bacteria, and can cause swelling around the eye as well. In severe cases, these bacteria could even cause infection that can spread to the brain. This is one of the main reasons why blowing your nose can be dangerous when it’s broken.

Now, this can happen even if the nose isn’t completely broken, but a fighter’s face is really battered up.

You see, our eye sockets have a lot of very vascular fat around them, to protect our eyeballs. When a fighter gets punched in the nose and around the eyes, these veins get damaged, and can start to swell.

Now, when a fighter blows their nose, a phenomenon called Valsalva maneuver, which increases their blood pressure. In a normal situation, this doesn’t cause any problem, however, with the battered and damaged nerves around the eye, the increased blood pressure causes bleeding, and hence swelling as well.

This causes a large mouse to develop under the fighters eye, restricting their vision, and taking away their ability to continue.

So, this is why coaches always tell their fighters not to blow their nose when it is broken or really beat up.


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