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Evander Holyfield let camera go close up to his ear to show what was missing after Mike Tyson bite

Tom Wood

| Last updated 

Evander Holyfield allowed the TV cameras to get right up close to his ear after Mike Tyson bit a considerable chunk of it off during their infamous fight in Las Vegas back in 1997.

It’s wide-regarded as one of the most shocking moments in any sport, let alone in the controversy-filled world of boxing.

Two fighters at the peak of their powers were set to square off in a heavyweight grudge match at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Tyson was known for being a thug - having spent time in prison - and he entered this fight as the challenger, having lost to Holyfield just seven months before.


He would leave as the villain.

Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Credit: Getty Images
Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Credit: Getty Images

With the 25th anniversary of ‘The Bite Fight’ just two days ago (28 June), and Mike Tyson turning 57 today (30 June), it’s worth having a look back at one of the most weird and wild moments in sporting history.

In November 1996, Holyfield had won an upset against Tyson, knocking him out in the 11th round. He started their rematch fight out as the better, too.


Not only was Tyson losing the fight, he also completely lost his cool, taking advantage of a clinch to bite out a massive chunk of Holyfield’s ear.

The referee, Mills Lane, checked the bite after Holyfield’s protests, before disqualifying Tyson from the fight. He would also later lose his boxing license, though it was eventually reinstated.

In the immediate aftermath, Holyfield seemed genuinely taken aback by what had happened to him.

After, he allowed the TV cameras to get a great look at exactly what had happened to him, showing off the missing part of his ear like a war wound.


Holyfield showed it off on a Fox 5 TV programme, explaining that whilst it didn’t grow back, it didn’t hurt once healed

“I chose not to [bite him back]”, he said.

As you can see, there's definitely a chunk missing from Holyfield's ear. Credit: YouTube/Fox 5 New York
As you can see, there's definitely a chunk missing from Holyfield's ear. Credit: YouTube/Fox 5 New York

When asked what he thought made Tyson do it, he said ‘anger’ and added ‘disappointment’.


In many ways, the fight signalled a death knell for Tyson’s career.

Though he would fight for world titles again – losing to Lennox Lewis by knockout in 2002 – he never regained what he previously had.

Since then, it’s fair to say he’s chilled out a bit. Perhaps it’s all the weed he’s been smoking.

Still, people for generations will be talking about that second fight between him and Holyfield.


Unfortunately, it’s for the wrong reasons.

It does remind you that even after you think you’ve seen everything in the arena of sporting contest, you absolutely haven’t.

Let’s just hope that we don’t have to see more chunks getting bitten out of people, though.

Topics: Boxing, Sport, Mike Tyson, Weird

Tom Wood
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