On July 9, 1997 Mike Tyson was banned from boxing by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for 15 months for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear in their rematch.
The first fight between these two men pitted Holyfield against a heavily favored Tyson. Not many people outside of Holyfield’s own camp figured he had any chance of beating Tyson. But that is why predictions mean nothing.
Holyfield knocked out Tyson in the sixth round of the fight, and the fight was later stopped in round 11. This win made Holyfield the second fighter ever to win a heavyweight championship three different times. After the fight, Tyson and his camp accused Holyfield of purposely head butting.
The rematch, seven months later, ended very early because of Tyson not being able to control himself when he felt Holyfield was up to his head-butting antics again.
Holyfield had won the first two rounds of the fight. He even stunned Tyson with a hard right hand early in the second round.
As the second round wound down, Holyfield head butted Tyson, opening a cut over Tyson’s right eye, while ducking under a Tyson hook.
As round three was set to begin, Tyson tried to fight without his mouthpiece but the referee made him insert it. With about 40 seconds left in the round, Tyson bit Holyfield’s right ear during a clinch.
As blood leaked, the referee called timeout to figure out what to do next. A doctor determined that Holyfield could still fight so the referee deducted two points from Tyson’s score and let the fight go on.
Just seconds later in the same round, Tyson bit Holyfield’s left ear too. The referee didn’t stop the fight this time and the two men finished the round. The fight was then stopped before the fourth round and the victory was awarded to Holyfield.
Still outraged, Tyson tried to attack Holyfield yet again but was stopped by security and police.
As a result of his behavior during and after the fight, Tyson was fined $3 million and had his boxing license revoked by the NSAC.
Years later, Tyson admitted he bit Holyfield’s ears as retaliation for the head butts. In 2009, Tyson apologized to Holyfield on Oprah.
This wasn't your typical knockout story, but this was a major event in boxing history that will not soon be forgotten.