FIGHT!!! The 20 Best Bench-Clearing Brawls in Sports

Colin Ward-HenningerContributor IApril 8, 2011

FIGHT!!! The 20 Best Bench-Clearing Brawls in Sports

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    All sports have some sort of official, and part of their job is to make sure things stay civil between both sides.

    But occasionally players have to take matters into their own hands.

    I mean, when you're dealing with 250-pound supreme athletes and half of them are hopped up on steroids, sometimes there's just nothing a ref can do but let them work it out themselves.

    And by "work it out" of course I mean "beat the crap out of each other in a bench-clearing brawl."

    Besides the walk-off home run, game-winning touchdown and the buzzer-beater, bench-clearing brawls might be the most exciting moments in sports.

    There have been plenty, but I've managed to narrow it down to the 20 best that I could find video for. I hope you enjoy, but if you disagree with me, there's only one way to solve it.

20. Terrence Leather Throws Ball, Gets Kicked, Gets Angry

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    This bench clearing brawl is centered around three men. There's Terrence Leather, the guy he throws the ball at and the guy who kicks him in the back.

    The guy who kicks him quickly realizes just how large and upset Leather is and then runs around the court like he just stole a candy bar from the grocery store.

    Thanks to Matt King for finding this one.

    Best Moment: Leather's eyes of insanity at 1:37

19. South Charleston Vs. Hurricane: High School Brawl

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    When we think of brawls, we usually think of professional sports. Occasionally we see it in college, but rarely do we see it in high school.

    Sure there are little skirmishes from time to time in high school, but I don't remember seeing anything on this scale in my days covering high school football.

    Best Moment: The entire fight shifts to the right side of the field (our right) at 0:40...almost like a ballet

18. Canada Vs. USSR: Junior Hockey Brawl

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    As the announcer says, "You just don't see this in international hockey." When we think of Canadians we normally think of mild-mannered, polite people who are generally a happy bunch.

    Get them on the ice, however, and it's a different story. Apparently Canada and the USSR had a history of coming to blows during games, and the tradition continued here.

    It was toward the end of the Cold War, and tensions were already easing up between the USSR and Westerners because of the sentiment of Rocky IV, but they seemed to resurface here.

    Best Moment: Take-down at the bottom of the screen at 0:14

17. Korean Baseball Fight

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    I know, I know, you can't really count this as a brawl. But I would never forgive myself if I didn't include this on the list.

    No idea what's going on, but what I do know is that it's hilariously entertaining. I'd love to see this carry over to the MLB.

    Best Moment: No. 51 loses his balance and trips over the mound at 0:08

16. Julio Castillo Throws 97-Mph Fastball into the Stands

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    This goes down as one of the best minor league brawls of all time. It lasted for 10 minutes and 15 players were ejected, but that's not even the best part.

    The, "Oh sh#$%" moment comes when pitcher Julio Castillo, who has been known to throw in the upper 90s, decides the best way to win the fight is to fire a fastball at the opposing dugout.

    Of course, if you throw in the upper 90s and you're still in single-A, you probably don't have the best control.

    Castillo missed the dugout altogether and ended up hitting a fan in the head with the fastball. As you can see, Castillo faced charges, and as far as I know his baseball career is over.

    As much as we love brawls, you have to keep one rule in mind: no weapons. And the second you start using bats and balls, they become dangerous weapons.

    It's like Ronnie's No. 1 rule, don't fall in love at the Jersey Shore. Except when Castillo broke the rule it didn't ruin our Thursday nights for three months.

    Best Moment: Juuuust a bit outside at 0:19

15. Carmelo Hits and Runs in New York

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    Long before Carmelo played for the Knicks, he had a memorable moment in Madison Square Garden.

    The brawl starts with JR Smith receiving a hard foul from Mardy Collins, and we all know JR Smith don't take no stuff from nobody. He doesn't care who you are!

    Then the whole thing escalates, complete with tiny Nate Robinson going flying into the stands, until finally things start to settle down.

    That's when Carmelo decides it's his time to shine. He sneaks up to Collins and throws a punch. And kids, what do we do after we throw a punch?

    That's right, we run 90 feet in the opposite direction and hide behind all of our teammates! Good!

    Best Moment: Carmelo's courage at 0:41

14. One Fight Isn't Enough for Senators and Flyers

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    Hockey is a funny sport. They allow fighting because if they didn't then the sport would be a lot more violent.

    Confused? Let me explain. Let's say somebody makes a dirty hit on Sidney Crosby. Well the offender knows that soon he's going to have a face full of fist, so he might think twice about trying to hurt Crosby again.

    If the players weren't allowed to fight there would be a lot more dirty play and a lot more brawls. Since fighting is allowed, there aren't that many bench-clearing brawls in hockey, which is why this one is so surprising.

    It starts off normal enough, with two guys going at it near the goal. But after the main event, all hell breaks loose.

    Best Moment: Counting the number of gloves and helmets on the ice at 1:17

13. Kyle Farnsworth Form Tackles Paul Wilson

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    There are several things wrong with this clip. First, Paul Wilson is a pitcher trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt. He has no right to charge the mound.

    Second, the ball isn't even that far inside, as the announcer says. It was a few inches off the plate, but nobody is going to try to hit the pitcher when he's giving you an out.

    Third, at this point in his career, Kyle Farnsworth was probably roided out of his mind, and he stands about 6'4", 230 lbs of pure muscle.

    I don't now if Paul Wilson, a journeyman pitcher with a soggy midsection, was having a bad day or what. But it certainly got worse after making the bonehead decision to charge Kyle Farnsworth.

    Best Moment: WWE takedown at 0:27 

12. Jeff Van Gundy Hangs on Alonzo Mourning's Leg

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    The Knicks and the Heat have a history of fighting, so there are many brawls to choose from. This one, however, has to be my personal favorite because Jeff Van Gundy decides to throw himself into the fray.

    How does a 5'6" middle-aged man attack a 6'9" athlete in peak physical condition? Sweep the leg, Johnny!

    Van Gundy goes after Mourning's leg but ends up being dragged along until he get shaken off. Mourning later described it as if, "I had a piece of gum on my shoe I was trying to get off."

    Best Moment: Van Gundy reveals the inadequacies of the comb-over as a hairstyle at 0:25

11. Pedro Martinez Throws Don Zimmer to the Ground

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    Can't find the clip on YouTube so you'll have to click the link to watch the brawl from the 2003 playoffs. Red Sox fans must have scoured the internet trying to remove it from every website imaginable.

    We all know the Red Sox and Yankees have a rivalry, and that's why we're forced to watch nationally televised games between the two clubs every other week. This is probably the most memorable brawl between the two teams.

    Pedro draws a lot of flack for tossing the 72-year-old Don Zimmer to the ground, but in his defense, Zim was charging after him like a bull in heat.

    That being said, I'm guessing a side-step would have been substantial to avoid Zimmer's less-than-agile attack moves.

    Best Moment: Andy Pettite asking Zim "What happened?", hearing the answer, and then getting up with a sense of purpose at 0:30

10. Miami Vs. Florida International: College Brawl

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    I'm surprised there aren't more fights in football with all the dirty stuff that goes on at the bottom of dogpiles and how much trash talking goes on.

    Here's a case where two schools absolutely hate each other, and they show it on the field. All it took was one unsportsmanlike bow to set the whole thing off.

    I never really understood why players insist on punching players that have helmets on. That can't do much damage. One FIU player takes that into consideration and goes for the kick.

    I bet he graduated summa cum laude. 

    Best Moment: A Miami player makes clever use of his helmet at 0:47

9. China Vs. Brazil: International Basketbrawl

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    Nothing shows sportsmanship like inviting another team to your country to participate in a basketball tournament.

    Of course, if that country's team starts fouling your guys too hard, you have every right to clear the benches with the hopes of eliminating them from the Earth.

    Here, a tournament game between Brazil and China turns into a melee.

    Parental Advisory: If you don't like expletives, play it on mute. Former NBA assistant Bob Donewald clearly voices his concerns before the brawl erupts and has a few choice words for the officials.

    Best Moment: One v. One at 1:24 between No. 8 and No. to give it to China for that round...

8. Minor League Heavy Weight Brawl Game

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    OK, so I don't necessarily approve of the corny title or the ominous play-by-play commentary, but the replays and spot shadows make it a great way to watch a brawl.

    The narrator covers the whole story for me, but I have to say that I absolutely love it when the pitcher futilely throws his glove at the oncoming batter. This time it actually works!

    It stuns the batter enough to buy the pitcher some time for his catcher to come in. Then the pitcher hits him with a right cross. Well played.

    Best moment: "Brutal roundhouses" by Dan Fyvie at 1:26

7. Armando Benitez Makes Daryl Strawberry Angry

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    This one takes a while to develop, but it's well worth it. Orioles closer Armando Benitez pulls the classic move of giving up a home run and then drilling the next batter in the back on the very next pitch.

    The Yankees weren't ready to let him get away with it, as the benches cleared immediately. Cooler heads seem to prevail for a while, but then Yankees reliever Graeme Lloyd gets into it with Benitez, and suddenly, we have a brawl on our hands.

    It settles down again, but then tempers erupt as the teams go cascading into the dugout fighting. Pretty good stuff.

    Props to the YouTube user for uploading the VHS-taped game. That's dedication.

    Best Moment: Daryl Strawberry being ushered off the field like a broken prize fighter by manager Joe Torre at 4:30

6. Patrick Roy and Chris Osgood: Goalie on Goalie Action

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    Goalies look funny with all those pads and the helmet. They look even funnier when they're trying to beat the crap out of each other.

    This bench-clearing brawl is memorable because it resulted in Patrick Roy and Chris Osgood going toe to toe at center ice.

    Osgood takes a few good shots, but he eventually pins Roy with an MMA style take-down.

    Best Moment: When the referee finally realizes he wants to see the two goalies fight just as much as everyone else at 0:09

5. Rob Ray Loses His Shirt Fighting Claude Lemieux

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    You know it's a good brawl when, by the end, somebody is missing his shirt. That's exactly what happens in this clip, as a long build up results in an epic brawl.

    I love when the fight looks like it's over, and then somebody comes in out of nowhere and starts the whole thing again. There should be someone on every team's bench whose sole job is to be an instigator.

    By the way, this clip is from 1995! The combination of the video quality and the mullets make this look straight from the '80s. How far we've come.

    Best Moment: Scott Stevens goes leaping into the fight at 1:12, but unfortunately comes up with nothing but plastic.

4. Izzy Alcantara Karate Kicks the Catcher

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    Izzy Alcantara was a solid minor league player who had a cup of coffee with the Boston Red Sox in the early 2000s, but he will forever be remembered for his performance in this brawl.

    Alcantara, clearly knowing that he was about to be thrown at, formulated an ingenious plan.

    Usually when a batter charges the mound the catcher follows him, giving him only a few seconds to attack the pitcher before he is tackled by the catcher.

    In order to combat this, Alcantara decided to take out the catcher first with a karate kick. That gave him a few extra seconds to go after the pitcher.

    Baseball purists would say that it was a cheap shot, but you have to commend the guy for thinking ahead. And I'm pretty sure this was Billy Blanks' inspiration for Tae Bo.

    Best Moment: Daniel LaRusso karate kick at 0:05 (I know, that's two Karate Kid references in one slide show...what can I say some days you're just on fire)

3. Nolan Ryan Headlocks Robin Ventura

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    This brawl occurred in regular season game between the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox in 1993.

    The best part, of course, is when the wily vet Nolan Ryan sees the young, upstart Robin Ventura heading toward him, throws down his glove and gives Ventura a look as if to say, "Let's see what you got, Grasshopper!"

    Ryan then proceeds to get him in a headlock and land, by my count, at least seven clean shots to Ventura's head before the rest of the players get involved.

    This clip proves that pitchers don't need position players to defend them during a fight. The best part: Nolan Ryan was 46 years old when this happened, and Robin Ventura was 25.

    If Ryan had asked him, "Who's your daddy?" while he was wailing on him, Ventura could have conceivably said, "You are!" and actually have been telling the truth.

    Best Moment: Headlock and pummeling at 0:09

2. Ron Artest Fights Fans in Detroit

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    Fans go to NBA games to be a part of the action. Well, the fans in Detroit got more than the price of admission on this fateful night.

    Ron Artest gets a lot of the blame for this one, but serious damage was done by Ben Wallace, who instigated the whole thing.

    Plus when you throw beer on a player, some people might argue that you deserve a good beatdown. Just saying...

    You've seen the clip a million times but watch it all the way through again and try to comprehend just how insane this whole thing was. Unbelievable.

    Best Moment: Artest creates a "fan-friendly" atmosphere at 0:44

1. Diego Maradona Goes on a Kicking Rampage

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    Diego Maradona was most recently the outspoken coach for the Argentinian soccer team, but he was also one of the best players of all time.

    He was also known for being feisty on the field (or pitch, if you're a pretentious Englishman), as this clip proves.

    Maradona gets tripped and then goes absolutely nuts, kicking everyone in sight. There are some clips with sound, but they don't show the build up to the fight, which I think is important.

    Best Moment: Maradona's scissor kick to the face of someone who appears to be a ref, a coach, or a goalie at 0:14...absolutely knocks him out