20 years ago today, boxing legend Mike Tyson fought Evander Holyfield in an anticipated rematch at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas… for the WBA heavyweight belt.
You either witnessed the madness — or at least heard the news — when a frustrated Tyson twice bit Holyfield’s ears.
Mike, who was 31 at the time, couldn’t control his anger after enduring what he felt were deliberate headbutts from Holyfield in the second round, opening a cut above Tyson’s right eye… though referee Mills Lane considered it accidental. “He butted me in the second round, and he looked at me and butted me again,” said Tyson at the time. “No one deducted points. This is my career. What am I supposed to do? I’ve got children to raise. He kept butting me.”
Unable to control his rage, by the third round, Iron Mike did the unthinkable… and actually bit a chunk out of Holyfield’s right ear. Holyfield immediately jumped up in pain while Tyson spat a piece of his opponent’s ear to the canvas. “I thought my ear had fallen off,” Holyfield said after the fight. “Look at the bite. I’m missing part of my ear. I just couldn’t believe it — they have rules and regulations for this.”
Tyson-Holyfield II ended with Tyson being disqualified at the end of the third round.
It forever goes down in history as one of the most infamous and disgraceful acts of Mike’s career.
Despite this incident, Tyson and Holyfield came face-to-face for the first time since the infamous moment during an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2009. “This is a beautiful guy,” Tyson said, holding Holyfield’s arm affectionately. “I just want you to know it’s just been a pleasure … being acquainted with you.”