In the video here, Las Vegas plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Stiles takes us inside the surgery he performed on former UFC fighter Phil Baroni. But as Stiles explains, operating on Baroni's nose really wasn't plastic surgery -- he wasn't just trying to make Baroni more handsome.
Instead, Stiles was fixing what he called "a functional deformity," and he said the surgery "will result in better breathing for Phil" and "enhance his ability to train."
In other words, this isn't cosmetic surgery. This is performance-enhancing surgery. And it may become commonplace for mixed martial artists.
Jake Rossen has an interesting piece at Wired.com about how common "cosmetic" surgeries are becoming for MMA fighters who are getting the surgeries to help their ability to fight, not to make themselves look better. Nick Diaz had scar tissue removed from his face and replaced with tissue from a cadaver to make him less likely to have a fight stopped because of a cut. Marcus Davis and Wanderlei Silva have had similar procedures.
But Rossen wonders where we'll draw the line: Could a fighter have surgical enhancements to his elbow to make him less susceptible to an arm bar? Implants in his neck to make him less susceptible to a choke? Silicone around his jaw to act as cushioning?
That sounds a little outlandish, but athletes will always search for new ways to enhance their performance. Who knows what kinds of performance-enhancing surgeries the future might hold?
At the moment, however, I agree with Kid Nate at Bloody Elbow: These kinds of surgeries seem like the logical progression from procedures like arthroscopic knee surgeries that have helped athletes' careers. If facial surgeries can help prevent superficial facial injuries from ending fights, that's a step forward for MMA.