Mike Tyson’s storied career has many well-documented highs and lows, none from in the ring more memorable than him biting Evander Holyfield’s ear in their 1997 rematch.
Holyfield had beaten ‘Iron’ Mike by eleventh round stoppage just seven months earlier despite being an underdog after a lay-off, and the second fight gave Tyson a shot at winning back his WBA World Heavyweight belt.
Iconic referee Mills Lane was brought in to handle proceedings after Tyson had publicly taken issue with the officiating of the first bout, believing head clashes going unpunished helped secure his defeat.
After two rounds in which Holyfield took control, Tyson gave the bout a new nickname – The Bite Fight.
His mouthful of the champ’s ear severed a one-inch piece but, after some confusing scenes, the action continued. Tyson went back for a second bite on the other ear not long after. It was called off at the end of the round.
As well as the tarnished reputation – although he already wasn’t held in high regard by many – Tyson, often known as ‘The Baddest Man On The Planet’, had his boxing license revoked and was fined a staggering $3 million.
On an episode of his podcast, the heavyweight legend claimed he made much more because of the infamy.
“I never even think about it. However, I think about how much money that I made from taking pictures of biting people that it supersedes the $3m that I lost.
“I look at, after three or four years, and think ‘whoa, that’s how much I made?’ That’s what it makes it funny for me. Yes, I bit his ear but I made that back from taking pictures. So I can never beat myself up about it.”
Tyson and Holyfield went onto become friends in retirement, and even advertised cannabis edibles in the shape of ears in 2022.