Most Brutal Fights in Sports History
Competition can bring out the best in athletes. But it also can stir up something that’s ugly, scary and violent.
Across the sports spectrum, savage incidents have become markers of time just like wins and losses. We remember the worst moments, and we remember them for their infamy.
These are the most brutal fights in sports history.
100. Goalies Turn Into Gladiators
Fighters: Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy and Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood
What happened: Two of the better goalies of their generations squared off for a fight.
Bottom line: You know an NHL fight — any hockey fight for that matter — has gone off the rails when the goalies come out to fight each other.
And when they’re bona fide stars, as in the case of Colorado’s Patrick Roy and Detroit’s Chris Osgood, it’s an even rarer sight.
This was as good a goalie fight as anyone has ever seen on the ice. Roy rallied from his back to an upright position and ripped Osgood’s jersey off as he peppered him with punches to the face.
99. Cantona Kung-Fu Kicks a Fan
Fighters: Manchester United forward Eric Cantona
What happened: United star Cantona, sent off for a red card against Crystal Palace, crossed paths with Palace fan Matthew Simmons on his way to the showers.
Bottom line: Cantona’s story, backed up by fans in the area, was that Simmons ran down to hurl racial insults at him (he’s French), and Cantona snapped. He hit Simmons with a flying, kung-fu kick and a flurry of punches.
Cantona was suspended and fined but managed to get a two-week prison sentence for the fight overturned.
Simmons was charged with using abusive words and behavior.
98. Carano and 'Cyborg' Put Women's MMA on the Map
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Gina Carano and Cris "Cyborg" Santos
What happened: Santos and Carano changed the trajectory of women’s MMA with one fight.
Bottom line: Nearly 14,000 people came to HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, and another half-million watched on Showtime to see Gina Carano and Cris "Cyborg" Santos battle for a Strikeforce event — the first time an MMA event was headlined by two women.
Fans were treated to a masterful display of fighting by both.
Santos delivered a final, violent, unrelenting series of blows on Carano as she lay on the ground, barely able to defend herself.
97. Late Hit Sparks Raiders-Chiefs Brawl
Fighters: Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs
What happened: Oakland defensive end Ben Davidson speared Kansas City quarterback Len Dawson after running for a first down to seal the win.
Bottom line: Kansas City star wide receiver Otis Taylor retaliated after Oakland’s Ben Davidson speared quarterback Len Dawson at the end of a game-clinching play.
That sparked a bench-clearing brawl between the two teams that seemed to be years in the making. The refs called off-setting penalties on both teams, somehow, that gave Oakland the ball back.
George Blanda then kicked a game-tying field goal as time expired.
96. Dirty Rugby Player Makes Dirty Play
Fighters: Bakkies Botha and Jimmy Cowan
What happened: Botha violently head-butted Cowan during the Tri-Nations Tournament.
Bottom line: South Africa’s Bakkies Botha had a well-earned reputation for dirty play heading into the 2010 Tri-Nations Tournament, including an eight-week suspension for biting and eye-gouging in 2003, along with three suspensions in the year leading up to the Tri-Nations.
None of his acts were more disturbing, or public, than when he tackled New Zealand’s Jimmy Cowan from behind and, with Cowan pinned down, violently head-butted him.
Botha was suspended for nine weeks, and New Zealand went unbeaten at the Tri-Nations.
95. Controversial Knee Sinks Gutierrez
Sport: Mixed Martial Arts
Fighters: Amanda LaVoy and Michele Gutierrez
What happened: LaVoy pulled off the upset of Gutierrez in a controversial decision.
Bottom line: Michele Gutierrez was the heavy favorite over Amanda Lavoy at XFO 39 in Chicago, but things began to change early in the fight when LaVoy cut Gutierrez by her eye, and it began to swell shut.
The fight doctors stepped in and called the fight in the second round when LaVoy landed a knee that opened a huge cut on Gutierrez’s head. Gutierrez needed 28 stitches to close that wound and four more for her eye.
She appealed the fight’s outcome, saying LaVoy grabbed her hair before the knee.
94. Brereton Unleashes Fury on AFL
Sport: Australia Rules Football
Fighters: AFL star Dermott Brereton and multiple opponents
What happened: Brereton reeled off a season-long run of violence unmatched in AFL history.
Bottom line: Dermott Brereton already had established himself as one of the best AFL player of his generation when he landed with the Sydney Swans in 1994.
Brereton was coming off several injuries and ready to prove himself again. He went about doing this by standing on the head of Hawthorn’s Rayden Tallis during a match, which got him a seven-match suspension.
Then, Brereton broke Richmond captain Tony Free’s jaw and earned another seven-match vacation.
93. 'Skyscraper' Claws Back in Blood Bath
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Stefan Struve and Denis Stojnic
What happened: Struve recovered from a nasty cut to defeat Stojnic.
Bottom line: Stefan Struve is the tallest fighter in UFC history at 6-foot-11, and after losing his UFC debut to future heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, Struve returned for another brutal match against Denis Stojnic.
"Skyscraper" Struve was cut early after taking some serious hammer punches, and the fight turned into a bloodbath, but Struve clawed his way back into contention until he won by submission.
The fight became known as "The Axe Murderer Fight" for the amount of blood left on the canvas.
92. Beloved Boxer Dies After Fight
Fighters: Patrick Day and Charles Conwell
What happened: Patrick Day died four days after sustaining injuries in a fight against Charles Conwell.
Bottom line: Charles Conwell knocked beloved former top 10 junior middleweight Patrick Day down three times during their super welterweight fight before Day was knocked out in the 10th round.
Day, a New York Golden Gloves champion and 2012 U.S. Olympic team alternate, suffered a traumatic brain injury in the final round and died four days later.
Day’s death was met with an outpouring of support from the boxing community for both boxers, as Conwell was racked with guilt and grief afterward.
91. Vasquez Dies After Fight in Octagon
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Sam Vasquez and Vince Libardi
What happened: Vasquez became the first fighter to die in a sanctioned UFC fight in North America.
Bottom line: Sam Vasquez hadn’t fought in over a year when he took on Vince Libardi, who was 14 years younger and had fought 10 times in the previous 13 months.
Vasquez took a flurry of punches from Libardi in the third round until the referee stopped the fight, and fans watched in horror as Vasquez began to seizure.
He never regained consciousness and died just over a month later.
90. Velasquez Makes His Case Against Silva
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva
What happened: Velasquez earned a statement win over an extremely bloodied Silva.
Bottom line: There aren’t many more disturbing images you’ll find in MMA history than of the bird’s eye view of Cain Velasquez pummeling Antonio Silva in a UFC heavyweight match to set up a shot at the title. It was a bloodbath, to say the least.
The canvas appears to be completely covered in Silva’s blood as Velasquez relentlessly pummels his head with punches. Velasquez won by knockout in the first round and went on to become a two-time UFC heavyweight champion.
89. Babalu Puts Heath to Sleep After Tap
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Renato Babalu and David Heath
What happened: Babalu added insult to injury in a win over Heath.
Bottom line: David Heath allegedly insulted Renato Babalu at the weigh-in before their fight, and Babalu vowed to teach him some "respect." He went about doing it by opening up Heath’s head and beating him bloody, smashing his face into the canvas until his arms grew tired, then going into a reverse naked chokehold.
That’s where the problems started. Babalu held the chokehold for another 3-4 seconds after the ref told him to stop, then admitted he did it on purpose.
He was fined $25,000 and kicked out of UFC.
88. Flyers-Canadiens Brawl Changed the NHL
Fighters: Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens
What happened: The Flyers and Canadiens engaged in a massive, unsupervised pregame brawl.
Bottom line: Montreal’s Claude Lemieux had a habit of shooting a goal into the opposing team’s net at the end of pregame. The Flyers told him not to do this before Game 6 of the Wales Conference finals.
Lemieux did it anyway and touched off a massive, bench-clearing brawl between the two teams without the refs on the ice.
This fight changed the NHL for the better because it forced the league to implement suspensions and fines for leaving the bench during a fight.
87. Buch Beats van Houtum to Bloody Mess
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Alexandra Buch and Megan van Houtum
What happened: Buch’s repeated shots to van Houtum’s nose created a geyser of blood.
Bottom line: The YouTube description of the fight between Alexandra Buch and Megan van Houtum — "Blood Was Everywhere" — is incredibly accurate.
Buch busts van Houtum’s nose open in the first round, and the match doctor checks it out between rounds and lets her go back out to fight.
That was unfortunate for van Houtum when Buch freed her fist from a clinch and delivered a fight-ending blow to the nose that sent blood spraying everywhere.
86. Stock, Peat Have Battle Royale on the Ice
Fighters: Boston’s P.J. Stock and Washington’s Stephen Peat
What happened: Stock and Peat squared off for 30 seconds of vicious punching.
Bottom line: In the annals of NHL fights, this one is unique because of the sheer velocity and impact of the punches thrown.
Stock gets the best of this exchange at the end despite Peat (who was homeless within years of leaving the NHL) skating off and holding his arms up like he won.
It’s hard to say that any fight is perfect because fighting is generally a bad thing, but in hockey, where it’s permitted, this was as perfect a fight as you can get.
85. NHL's Norris Division 'Massacre'
Fighters: Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues
What happened: The Blackhawks and Blues had a bloody throwdown known today as "The St. Patrick’s Day Massacre" by fans.
Bottom line: The Norris Division rivals fought to the last man, with Blackhawks star Jeremy Roenick serving as the focus and firestarter to the fight after his hard hit on Harold Snepsts.
That led to several fights and finally Roenick on the bottom of a pile being held down by Rod Brind’Amour while Darin Kimble punched Roenick repeatedly in the face, knocking out his tooth and cutting his lip.
"It was weird," St. Louis’ Adam Oates told Old Time Hockey. "I was pretty scared, I’ll tell you that. Let me rephrase that. Terrified. Grimson, Manson and Peluso and they had 10 bodies on the ice, too."
84. Jackson Drops Graham With One Shot
Fighters: Julian Jackson and Herol Graham
What happened: Jackson knocks Graham out with a stunning right cross.
Bottom line: Fighting for the WBC world middleweight championship, it was no secret that Julian Jackson possessed one of the most devastating right hands in all of boxing.
No one bothered to share that information with his opponent, Herol Graham, who foolishly left himself open to a full-throttle attack that put him out on his feet.
Graham made things worse for himself by trying to get out of the way of the punch at the last second, lifting his head back. Only to expose his chin. Which was a bad decision.
83. Katsidis Pummels Czar for 12 Rounds
Fighters: Michael Katsidis and Czar Amonsot
What happened: Katsidis tuned up a surprisingly resilient Czar Amonsot in 12 rounds.
Bottom line: Australian Michael Katsidis may not have lived up to the expectations heaped on him at the beginning of his career to be the heir apparent to Arturo Gatti, but this was a magnificent display of what made people think that.
Amonsot deserves as much credit for the fight entering legendary status because of the beating he took over 12 rounds of Katsidis turning his face into hamburger meat.
Amonsot actually left the fight with a blood clot in his brain that threatened his career.
82. Boise State's Hout Forgets to Duck
Fighters: University of Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount and Boise State University linebacker Byron Hout
What happened: After Boise State’s 19-8 win over Oregon in the season opener, a helmetless Hout thought it was a good idea to taunt Blount at midfield. Blount knocked Hout out with one punch.
Bottom line: Pay close attention to the look of sheer confusion, then terror, on Boise State head coach Chris Petersen’s face as he tries to get linebacker Byron Hout to stop taunting Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount, who suddenly decides to rearrange Hout’s face.
Blount was suspended for the rest of the season, but reinstated with three games left.
81. Dr. J Hits Bird With Cheap Shot
Fighters: Philadelphia 76ers forward Julius Erving and Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird
What happened: Bird, at the peak of his powers, put 42 points on an aging Dr. J in an early-season game and was letting him know about it when the fight started.
Bottom line: Julius "Dr. J" Erving repeatedly punched Larry Bird in the face after 76ers’ teammates Charles Barkley and Moses Malone restrained Bird and let Erving wail on him.
The two superstars had just put out one of EA Sports' earliest video game hits in 1983 with "One on One: Dr. J. vs. Larry Bird" for the Apple II.
80. 'Fan Man' Gets Beatdown From Entourage
Fighters: James "Fan Man" Miller and heavyweight boxer Riddick Bowe’s entourage
What happened: Miller used a parachute with a fan-propelled engine to crash the 1993 heavyweight title fight between Bowe and Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas.
Bottom line: James Miller, who once landed on top of Buckingham Palace, said he pulled his stunts to 'protest violence," but in this case, he caused more of it.
Miller missed his landing spot and crashed over the side of the ring and into the area where Riddick Bowe’s pregnant wife was seated.
She fainted, and Bowe’s entourage beat Miller unconscious before the cops could get to him.
79. Frye, Takayama Have Epic MMA Fight
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Don Frye and Yoshihiro Takayama
What happened: Frye won an epic slugfest over Takayama that was named fight of the year by several publications in 2002.
Bottom line: The setting for Don Frye and Yoshihiro Takayama’s 2002 throwdown was PRIDE 21 in Saitama, Japan, and the two delivered what some consider to be the greatest fight in PRIDE history.
Frye and Takayama held a "hockey fight" pose three different times during the match, battering each other’s heads with punches, until Frye went to the body with a flurry of devastating shots that dropped Takayama to the canvas, his face a bloody mess.
Tragically, Takayama was paralyzed from the neck down after a 2017 fight.
78. Rugby Grand Final Gets Ugly
Fighters: North Cairns Tigers and Port Douglas Crocs
What happened: North Cairns players rushed the Port Douglas team huddle at the end of the national anthem, and things escalated from there.
Bottom line: Before the Cairns Australian Football League Grand Final, North Cairns players attacked Port Douglas players in their pregame huddle.
The fight escalated when fans and team officials got in the mix, leaving four Crocs unconscious on the field and carried off on stretchers. The AFL investigation resulted in North Cairns coach Jason Love receiving an eight-year suspension, while 22 North Cairns players were suspended for a total of 400 matches.
The 2004 Grand Final was declared a "no result" for either team.
77. Haley Fights the Penguins
Fighters: New York Islanders center, Michael Haley and three Pittsburgh Penguins
What happened: Haley fought three Penguins in a row, including two at once.
Bottom line: Michael Haley had a heck of a night. He scored a goal in the Islanders’ win over the Penguins, won one fight early in the game then capped things off by fighting three Penguins in a row.
It’s the final fight that gets him on the list, though, as he goes after the Pens’ goalie, who had earlier taken a cheap shot on Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro.
The love the crowd shows Haley as he skates off the ice is really something to behold.
76. Alcantara Goes Insane
Fighters: Pawtucket Red Sox Outfielder Izzy Alcantara and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons
What happened: Alcantara kicked Red Barons catcher Jeremy Salazar, karate-style, right in the face mask, then charged the mound.
Bottom line: Pawtucket’s Izzy Alcantara was one of the hottest prospects in the minor leagues in 2001, leading the International League in batting average and home runs, when he took exception to a second brushback pitch from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitcher Blas Cedeno.
Alcantara kicked Scranton/Wilkes-Barre catcher Jeremy Salazar in the face then rushed Cedeno, swinging wildly at him before disappearing into a sea of players.
Alcantara, who played three seasons in the majors, was suspended six games and removed from the International League All-Star Game.
75. Marco Antonio Barerra Bleeds on the Canvas
Fighters: Marco Antonio Barerra and Amir Khan
What happened: After Barrera and Khan smacked heads in the first round, blood began spurting out of Barrera’s head like a faucet.
Bottom line: Marco Antonio Barrera was a favorite against young Brit Amir Khan but was coming off a fight two months earlier where he’d suffered a severe cut over his left eye from a head butt.
After Barrera and Khan smacked heads in the first round, blood poured out of Barrera’s head from above his left eye. For the next four rounds.
Ref Dave Parris decided not to check the cut until the fifth, and Khan was declared the winner by technical decision.
Barrera didn't fight again for 15 months.
74. NASCAR Road Rage Between Pit Crews
Sport: Auto Racing
Fighters: Pit crews for Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon
What happened: Gordon wrecked Bowyer in the Advocare 500 in Phoenix, destroying both cars. Their pit crews went at each other like the Greeks and Persians in "300."
Bottom line: NASCAR drivers Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon never even got close to throwing a punch at each other, but that wasn’t the point.
Both pit crews said they were extensions of their drivers, and a long-simmering feud boiled over that day.
Bowyer’s analysis was succinct: "This makes us look like a bunch of idiots."
73. Sparks, Fists Fly in WNBA Brawl
Fighters: Los Angeles Sparks and Detroit Shock
What happened: The Shock’s Plenette Pierson and Sparks’ Candace Parker went to the floor and started throwing punches in the final seconds of a heated game.
Bottom line: The fight was pretty basic as far as basketball standards. The bizarre things that happened around it were not.
Shock assistant Rick Mahorn shoved Los Angeles star Lisa Leslie to the floor and was attacked by several Sparks.
At the same time, Detroit’s Cheryl Ford tore her ACL playing peacemaker.
72. Shavers Sends Ellis Into Seizure
Fighters: Earnie Shavers and Jimmy Ellis
What happened: Shavers left Ellis unconscious and convulsing after a knockout punch.
Bottom line: Heavyweight Earnie Shavers defeated three world champions in his career and was known for his punching power — enough so that his fight against Muhammad Ali is credited as having ended Ali’s career despite Shavers losing.
Against Jimmy Ellis, Shavers was at his prime with 32 wins in a row and 44 of 45 by knockout, but this one was especially vicious, and the crowd at Madison Square Garden was left traumatized by the sight of Ellis convulsing after being hit.
71. Maxwell Goes in Stands, Breaks Fan's Jaw
Fighters: Houston Rockets guard Vernon Maxwell and Portland Trail Blazers fan Steve George
What happened: Maxwell’s wild reputation went to another level when he went a dozen rows into the stands to confront George, who he said was heckling him.
Bottom line: Maxwell threw one punch — a quick jab that shattered George’s jaw. Confused teammates dragged Maxwell back to the floor.
Maxwell said George was using racial slurs, which no one sitting in his area in the stands agreed with.
Maxwell was suspended 10 games, fined $20,000 for his actions and had to pay George a hefty out-of-court settlement.
70. Wolfe Knocks Out Ward
Fighters: Ann Wolfe and Vonda Ward
What happened: Wolfe delivered possibly the greatest knockout in women’s boxing history.
Bottom line: The greatest knockout in women’s boxing history came on a big stage. Ann Wolfe was the light heavyweight champion and Vonda Ward, a former University of Tennessee women’s basketball player, held the middleweight and super middleweight titles.
Wolfe delivered a devastating right hand just one minute into the fight. Ward, 6-foot-6, was out on her feet, and her eyes rolled back into her head as she fell to the canvas, and she was taken directly to the hospital.
69. 'Good Friday' Lives in Infamy After NHL Fight
Fighters: Quebec Nordiques and Montreal Canadiens
What happened: Nordiques and Canadiens clear benches for an infamous fight in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Bottom line: The fight between the Quebec Nordiques and Montreal Canadiens on Good Friday was so intense that it ended up overshadowing the playoff series, which the Canadiens won in six games.
How intense was it? Montreal’s Jean Hamel sustained an eye injury that almost ended his career. Actual brothers — Montreal’s Mark Hunter and Quebec’s Todd Hunter — squared off. Referee Bruce Hood "retired" afterward.
In all, 11 players were ejected, and a total of 252 penalty minutes were assessed.
68. Southern, Texas Southern Almost Start a Riot
Fighters: Southern University and Texas Southern University
What happened: It’s not fair to say any one player started the fight, but it does appear as if a Texas Southern player takes the first swing and sets off an almost-riot.
Bottom line: Texas Southern began to punch a Southern player who had been taken to the floor. This drew Southern fans and cheerleaders into the fight. Southern’s mascot, Tommy the Tiger, even got in on the action at the end.
In all, 15 players from both sides were suspended, and Texas Southern, the SWAC regular-season champion, elected to end its season early.
67. Penne's Bloody Day in MMA
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Jessica Penne and Lisa Ellis
What happened: Penne busted Ellis’ nose open early, then kept hammering it until she crumbled.
Bottom line: Considered by some to be the bloodiest women’s MMA fight of all time, Jessica Penne and Lisa Ellis met for the first of two fights at Invictus.
Penne broke Ellis’ nose with a swift knee early in the fight, and according to Penne, seeing the sight of blood motivated her to attack her opponent with even more ferocity, and what she ultimately did to Ellis’ face is difficult to watch.
The fight drew enough attention that both fighters were invited on the next season of "Ultimate Fighter."
Penne won the rematch as well.
66. Sifting Through the Madness
Fighters: Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators
What happened: The Flyers and Senators set NHL records for penalties and ejections.
Bottom line: Five different fights broke out in the closing minutes of a game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators, including players who were rarely known to fight and goalies from both teams.
When the game finally ended, an NHL record 419 penalty minutes and 20 game ejections were administered, leaving just five players between the two teams.
The mess took 90 minutes to sort out.
65. Tyson Bites Off Holyfield's Ear
Fighters: Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield
What happened: Tyson was disqualified after he bit off part of Holyfield’s ear.
Bottom line: Seven months after Evander Holyfield beat Mike Tyson for the WBA heavyweight championship, the two fought again for the belt.
In the third round, Tyson bit off part of Holyfield’s right ear, but the fight was allowed to continue. In the next round, Tyson bit Holyfield again in one of the most bizarre (and bizarrely violent) moments in sports history, and the fight was called.
Holyfield’s ear was re-attached while Tyson was fined approximately $3 million and banned from boxing for one year.
64. Canadiens, Bruins Brawl in the Hall
Fighters: Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins
What happened: The Canadiens and Bruins took their fight to the hallway leading to the dressing room.
Bottom line: Montreal Canadiens enforcer Chris Nilan was being led off the ice after being ejected from the game, and as he skated by the Bruins' bench, he took a swing at Boston’s Ken Linseman, who was on the bench.
Both teams rushed toward the fight, and it spilled into the hallway leading to the Bruins' dressing rooms — the infamous "Brawl in the Hallway" fight.
Nilan was suspended three games.
63. Jedrzejczyk Beats Penne's Face to a Pulp
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Penne
What happened: Jedrzejczyk kicked and punched Penne’s face until it was unrecognizable.
Bottom line: UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk was Europe’s first female UFC champion and had her first title defense in Berlin.
She took exception to some of Jessica Penne’s actions, pre-fight, including throwing a gifted necklace into the crowd. Bleacher Report probably described the action best in its post-fight recap in 2015: "It left the Octagon looking like a CSI crime scene."
Jedrzejczyk fractured her thumb from punching Penne so much.
62. Riley's Armani Suit Rips in NBA Brawl
Fighters: New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns
What happened: At the halftime buzzer, the Knicks and Suns decided to throw down after tensions simmered between New York’s Doc Rivers and Phoenix’s Kevin Johnson all game.
Bottom line: The initial brawl at halfcourt began to settle down as New York’s Greg Anthony came off the bench in street clothes and sucker-punched Johnson, sparking an even wilder scene.
This was the fight that forced the NBA to implement its infamous "leave the bench area" rule.
Knicks coach Pat Riley walking around, Armani pants ripped wide open with a bewildered look on his face is a bizarre sight.
61. Bloody 'Broken Faucet' Fight
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Jay Hieron and Jonathan Goulet
What happened: Goulet won perhaps the bloodiest fight in MMA history.
Bottom line: Jonathan Goulet was fighting for the first time in UFC, taking on Jay Hieron. Early on, Goulet busted Hieron’s face open, and the fighters began to pummel each other.
The first round was looked at as one of the best — and bloodiest — fights in MMA history. As Hieron somehow continued to battle back, ringside commentator Dana White said the wounds looked "like a broken faucet."
When the fight was finally stopped, UFC champ Georges St. Pierre picked Hieron up and carried him around the ring.
60. Varitek Lays Down the Law
Fighters: New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek
What happened: Varitek’s glove to the face of A-Rod became an iconic image in MLB history.
Bottom line: What’s been lost to history in this fight is that Alex Rodriguez wasn’t the instigator — that was Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo.
After Arroyo dotted A-Rod in the back/shoulder area, A-Rod was understandably upset and began to challenge Arroyo on the way to first base.
When Boston catcher Jason Varitek ended up being the one who got in A-Rod’s way, he shocked viewers with a two-handed smack to the face.
59. Penn Captures Surprise UFC Title
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson
What happened: Penn bloodied Stevenson, then defeated him for the UFC lightweight title.
Bottom line: B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson ended up fighting for the lightweight title after a failed drug test by reigning lightweight champion Sean Sherk before UFC 80.
Penn gained top position and landed an elbow to the top of Stevenson’s head and caused a serious cut along the hairline.
Penn ended the fight with a rear naked chokehold, and Stevenson’s blood poured out and over Penn’s gloves and body as he became a UFC champion.
58. Dibble Reaches Danger Zone
Fighters: Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets
What happened: Reds pitcher Rob Dibble threw as hard as anybody in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and he folds Mets shortstop Tim Teufel with a pitch between the shoulder blades.
Bottom line: Tim Teufel, presumably working off sheer rage, gets up and goes after Rob Dibble, who disappears in a sea of Mets dotting him with punches.
Dibble somehow emerges from the scrum and goes back for more. This also raised an interesting debate about baseball’s unwritten rules and how they apply to a player like Dibble, who could end careers with one pitch.
Did he still have the right to throw at people?
57. Japan's Great Champion Goes Down
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Ricardo Arona and Kazushi Sakuraba
What happened: Arona accidentally slashed Sakuraba’s face early in the fight with a sharpened toenail and punished him the rest of the fight.
Bottom line: Kazushi Sakuraba, considered one of the all-time great MMA fighters, suffered a devastating loss to Ricardo Arona.
Arona accidentally sliced Sakuraba’s face early in the fight with one of his toenails, then went at Sakuraba’s face, pummeling the cut and squeezing it to make more and more blood come out.
Sakuraba valiantly tried to maintain, but Arona rose to his feet and began delivering a series of knees to the head and soccer kicks to his opponent’s face for 20 minutes.
56. Score One for Father Time
Fighters: Texas Rangers’ Nolan Ryan and Chicago White Sox Robin Ventura
What happened: Ventura rushed Ryan and ended up on the receiving end of a classic MLB beating.
Bottom line: In one of the more infamous bench-clearing brawls in MLB history, Chicago White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura rushed the mound after being hit by a pitch from Nolan Ryan, two decades his senior.
Ryan put Ventura in a headlock and delivered at least a half-dozen solid shots to the face before a tidal wave of combatants hit them.
The fight after the fight isn’t bad either, and the funniest part is when Bo Jackson wades into the mix.
55. Gosset vs. Xia Yu: There Will Be Blood
Fighters: Frederic Gosset and Xia Yu Quing
What happened: Gosset opens up a brutal cut on Quing early but the fight goes the distance.
Bottom line: Frederic Gosset and Xia Yu Quing were low-level pro fighters who had unremarkable careers — except for when they fought each other.
The duo’s 2006 fight ended in a technical draw due to multiple headbutts, so their second fight was short on pretense. Gosset opens up several cuts on Quing early, and he bleeds like a sieve until the fight is called on another technical draw.
As the two fighters wait for the decision, blood spurts out the side of Quing’s face like a horror movie.
54. Cornhusker Football Player Clocks Mizzou Fan
Fighters: Nebraska cornerback Kellen Huston and Missouri fan Matthew Scott
What happened: Huston punched Scott as fans stormed the field following Missouri’s 41-24 upset of No. 7 Nebraska in Columbia, Missouri.
Bottom line: Missouri fans were warned to stay off the field as the game wound down, but chose to disregard that order and created a dangerous, volatile situation.
It’s shocking to see Missouri fan Matthew Scott run up to Nebraska’s Kellen Huston as he walks off the field, and it’s even more shocking to see Huston knock him out with a quick right jab.
Scott was charged with trespassing, Huston pled guilty to a charge of misdemeanor fighting, was suspended one game and sued by Scott in civil court.
53. Lewis Opens Up Klitschko's Face
Fighters: Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko
What happened: Lewis demolished Klitschko’s face with four heavyweight division belts on the line.
Bottom line: Lennox Lewis hemmed and hawed about taking his next fight after knocking out Mike Tyson, and this would end up being his last as a pro fighter.
Lewis went out in grand fashion, destroying the right side of Vitali Klitschko’s face with such ferocity that the fight was called after six rounds in Lewis’ favor, although the crowd booed Lewis for what they thought was dirty fighting.
It took 60 stitches to put Klitschko’s face back together.
52. Bearcats on the Attack
Fighters: University of Cincinnati and Xavier University
What happened: Cincy players attacked Xavier big man Kenny Frease.
Bottom line: Up by 21 points with time running down, Xavier’s Tru Holloway makes an unnecessary backdoor layup and Cincinnati’s players took exception.
Mainly, they took exception all over the face of Xavier Kenny Frease, who is clocked by Yancy Gates, then kicked in the head by several Cincy players.
It’s a stunning sight to watch Frease, bloodied and semi-conscious, trying to crawl away from the beating like a wounded animal as his teammates rush into the fray.
51. Holm Shocks Rousey, MMA World
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey
What happened: Holm ended Rousey’s three-year reign as UFC champion with a devastating kick.
Bottom line: No fighter, boxing or MMA, captured the public’s imagination like Ronda Rousey during her three-year reign as UFC champion. That’s why all eyes were on her fight against Holly Holm, in front of approximately 57,000 fans.
Holm battered Rousey for two rounds — only one fighter had ever lasted more than one round against her — then ended the fight with a devastating kick to the head.
It was the first loss for Rousey, who was the first woman inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2018.
50. Griner Breaks Barncastle's Nose
Fighters: Baylor center Brittney Griner and Texas Tech forward Jordan Barncastle
What happened: Griner, one of the greatest women’s basketball players of all time, was a freshman at Baylor when she landed a roundhouse right and broke Barncastle’s nose.
Bottom line: Griner was only suspended for two games – one by the NCAA, and another by head coach Kim Mulkey.
The fallout for Griner was minimal, but for Barncastle, it was immense as the video of her being punched went viral. One year later, The New York Times ran an article stating Barncastle, who was never the same player, was suffering from PTSD.
49. Tour de France Fans Attack Cyclists
Fighters: Antoine Faure fans and Tour de France cyclists other than Faure
What happened: Fans of cyclist Antoine Faure attacked cyclists coming through the Loire region during the Tour de France.
Bottom line: The second Tour de France in 1904 featured regional favorite Antoine Faure, and as riders climbed the Col de la Republique in the Loire region, Faure supporters attacked his opponents.
As they tried to ride through, over 200 fans blocked the road after Faure passed. The crowd didn’t disperse until a Tour official fired his gun in the air.
In response, the Tour de France did not return to the region until 1950, and the area’s participation in the 1903 and 1904 Tours was erased from records.
48. British Hockey Breaks Bad
Fighters: Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers
What happened: The fight between the two teams sent shockwaves through the British Superleague.
Bottom line: Nottingham enforcer Barry Nieckar squared off with Sheffield enforcer Dennis Vial, and somehow it escalated into a 36-man scrum that only ended when referee Moray Hanson sent both teams to their locker rooms for 45 minutes.
Eight players and both coaches were ejected, with 30 games in suspensions handed out to four players and Sheffield coach Mike Blaisdell.
The BBC called the fight "one of the worst scenes of violence ever seen at a British ice hockey rink."
47. Odor Bops Bautista
Fighters: Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor and Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista
What happened: Odor took exception to Bautista’s hard slide into second (and a bat flip in the previous season’s ALDS) and decided it was time to throw down.
Bottom line: Odor landed arguably the cleanest punch in any baseball fight in history, squaring up with Bautista to let him know it was on, then putting him out on his feet with one swing.
It actually sparked an even bigger fight between the two teams that barely anyone noticed because of the punch.
46. The Case of the Exploding Ear
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Jessica Eye and Leslie Smith
What happened: Eye landed a punch that made Smith’s ear explode.
Bottom line: Leslie Smith had been draining a severe case of "cauliflower ear" in the week leading up to her fight with Jessica Eye, but on the day of the fight, the ear was still swollen.
Eye landed a punch on the ear early, sending a thick stream of blood and pus shooting out and split the ear in half essentially. The fight was stopped.
"Once I saw her ear blow up, that became my main target," Eye said. "I was going to keep hitting it until they stopped the fight or her ear fell off."
45. Johnson Reminds Finnegan 'Don't Mess With Texas'
Fighters: Tennessee Titans defensive back Courtland Finnegan and Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson
What happened: Finnegan kept putting his hands into Johnson’s neck and face off the line of scrimmage. Johnson, one of the league’s most soft-spoken stars, finally came unglued.
Bottom line: Finnegan’s reputation as a dirty player and a longstanding beef with Johnson proved combustible, and the sight of two NFL players with their helmets off, fighting on the field, proved infinitely rewatchable.
As did the sight of Johnson pummeling Finnegan, who received little sympathy.
Both players were fined $50,000, and no one ever tried to fight Johnson again.
44. Legend of the 'Mutant'
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Ricardo Morais and five other fighters
What happened: Morais won five fights in one day at the Absolute Fighting Championship in Moscow.
Bottom line: Ricardo Morais had one of the most fitting nicknames of any fighter in MMA history — "The Mutant" — which was easy to understand since he was 6-foot-8 and 270 pounds.
Morais’ legend began at the first Absolute Fighting Championship in Moscow, where Morais took on a stunning five fighters in one day, his first five fights as a professional.
He dispatched them all on his way to the title and was named the Fight Matrix 1995 Rookie of the Year.
43. New Mexico State Brawls at Utah Valley State
Fighters: New Mexico State University, Utah Valley State University and UVSU fans
What happened: At the buzzer of a hotly contested, 66-61 loss, New Mexico State’s K.C. Ross-Miller pegged UVSU’s Holton Hunsacker with the ball as fans stormed the floor. Gasoline, meet struck match.
Bottom line: As Ross-Miller prepared to square up with Hunsacker, he was pulled aside by assistant coaches and away from the scrum.
The problem was his teammates were still on the other side of the court, trapped by angry fans who had just seen what happened.
The scariest part? The Lobos trying to make their way through the fans, almost disappearing in a sea of punches.
42. Maradona vs. Everybody
Fighters: FC Barcelona’s Diego Maradona and Atletico Bilbao
What happened: In the 1984 Copa del Rey final, FC star Maradona was already on edge after he broke his ankle against Bilbao in 1983. One seemingly innocuous foul at the buzzer got things popping.
Bottom line: Maradona, regarded by some as the greatest soccer player of all time, goes into berserker mode.
It’s hard to tell who’s who pretty quickly, but he appears to knock out at least two (maybe three) guys in the first few seconds with an elbow, headbutt and then a vicious kick.
Maradona issued a personal apology to the King of Spain.
41. Marichal Hits Roseboro With Bat
Fighters: San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro
What happened: Marichal, the starting pitcher for the Giants, was a fierce competitor and didn’t like the Dodgers bunting to get on base. So he started throwing at them. The Dodgers retaliated in turn.
Bottom line: When Marichal was batting, Roseboro whizzed the return throw to pitcher Sandy Koufax past Marichal’s head.
Marichal confronted Roseboro, who stood up to fight and was met with two solid smacks to the head. From Marichal’s bat.
Roseboro ended up with 14 stitches, and Marichal had to pay him an out-of-court settlement to avoid being sued.
40. Haynesworth's Stomping Shocks NFL
Fighters: Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode
What happened: Haynesworth stomped on Gurode’s head during a game, opening up a wound that required 30 stitches.
Bottom line: Tennessee’s Albert Haynesworth earned what was then the longest suspension in NFL history for an on-field incident — five games — after he cleat-stomped Dallas center Andre Gurode’s face during a nationally televised game.
Gurode was severely injured on the play but declined to press charges against Haynesworth, who signed a seven-year, $100 million free-agent deal with the Redskins two years later and is widely considered the biggest free-agent bust in NFL history.
39. Probert, Domi Square Off for the First Time
Fighters: New York Ranger Tie Domi and Detroit Red Wing Bob Probert
What happened: Domi and Probert, two of the NHL’s greatest enforcers, squared off for the first time.
Bottom line: In the annals of NHL enforcers, few players (if any) were more feared than Tie Domi and Bob Probert. So when the two squared off for the first time in 1992, it was worth the price of admission.
Probert, who died in 2010, was 6-foot-3, and his punches were long, violent strokes that seemed to always find their mark.
A punch from Domi, at just 5-foot-8, was like getting hit with a brick.
38. 'The Invincibles' Won't Back Down
Fighters: The British and Irish Lions and 22 South African rugby teams
What happened: The best rugby players from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland went to South Africa to take on the nation’s 22 best rugby teams and left carnage in their wake.
Bottom line: The British and Irish Lions' 1968 tour of South Africa left them jaded after physical play by the South African teams went unchecked, including an infamous incident when Lions player John O’Shea was hit so hard it popped out his glass eye.
This led the Lions to institute "Call 99" for the '74 tour — a battle cry for retaliation at all costs. "The Invincibles" won 21 of 22 matches, leaving a trail of bloody and bruised opponents in their wake and putting themselves among the greatest teams.
37. Juarez Destroy Barrios' Face
Fighters: Rocky Juarez and Jorge Barrios
What happened: Rocky Juarez took off most of Jorge Barrios’ lip with a punch.
Bottom line: Rocky Juarez had a hometown crowd of 15,000 on hand to watch him fight Jorge "The Hyena" Barrios in Houston.
The two delivered a brutal display for the fans that ended with an 11th-round TKO after Juarez hit Barrios with a 1-2 punch that left many boxing fans not wanting to eat for a few days — a left hook followed by an overhand right that removed most of Barrios’ lip.
Not for the faint of heart.
36. Greek and Serbian Basketball Teams Attack
Fighters: Greece national team and Serbian national team
What happened: Serbia’s Milos Teodosic punched Greece’s Antonis Fotsis in the face after a hard foul, setting off a wild fight between the two teams.
Bottom line: After Serbia’s Milos Teodosic punched Greece’s Antonis Fotsis in the face following a hard foul at the Acropolis International Tournament in Athens, Serbia’s Nenad Krstic also tried to attack Fotsis and touched off the brawl.
Greece center Sofoklis Schortsanitis began waylaying Serbian players with punches, including Krstic, who threw a chair at him. The chair missed, gashed open the head of another Greek player, and the fight continued in the tunnel leading to the locker rooms.
Krstic was arrested by Greek police but released the next day.
35. Westbrook Wails on Teammate Over Trash Talk
Fighters: Washington Redskins wide receiver Michael Westbrook and Redskins running back Stephen Davis
What happened: Westbrook, the No. 4 overall pick in the 1995 NFL draft, attacked teammate Davis on the sideline during training camp.
Bottom line: It’s a disturbing scene to watch Westbrook pummeling Davis on the sideline, sans helmets and shoulder pads, and in front of television cameras.
Westbrook was fined $50,000 for his actions and coaches had to talk a badly beaten Davis out of pressing charges.
Teammates and Westbrook’s agent later said Westbrook was provoked by Davis’ repeated verbal needling, despite warnings for Davis to stop prodding Westbrook.
34. No Room for Elbows in Australia-Philippines
Fighters: Australian national team and Philippines national team
What happened: Australia’s Daniel Kickert swung an elbow at a player from the Philippines during a World Cup qualifier, triggering a massive fight.
Bottom line: Australia was up by over 30 points against the Philippines with just a few minutes left in the third quarter in a hostile environment — the game was being played in Bocaue, a province of Bulacan, Philippines.
When Australia’s Daniel Kickert threw an elbow at an opposing player, the fight involved almost every player on both sides.
In the end, 13 players were ejected, and officials called the game with Australia winning 89-53.
33. 'Three Rounds of 'War' Between Hagler, Hearns
Fighters: "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler and Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns
What happened: Hagler knocked Hearns out in the third round to remained the undisputed world middleweight champion.
Bottom line: The fight between Hagler and Hearns for the world middleweight title — also known as "The War" — is in the conversation for greatest fights of all time because of its unbelievable drama and unbelievably violent fighter exchanges.
The first round is a master class in perfect boxing and Boxing News magazine called the fight "eight minutes of mayhem."
The win cemented Hagler’s place in boxing history.
32. DCorrales Spits Up Blood After Beating
Fighters: Diego Corrales and Joel Casamayor
What happened: Joel Casamayor shattered Diego Corrales’ mouthpiece, causing a deep cut inside his mouth.
Bottom line: The first of three fights between Diego Corrales and Joel Casamayor ended with Corrales taking an epic beating.
When the fight was called in the sixth round, Corrales’ jaw appeared to be dislocated or broken and blood was spurting out of his mouth. Enough blood that the ringside physician worried Corrales may choke to death. Six months later, Corrales got a rematch and defeated Casamayor to win the WBO super featherweight title.
Corrales died in a motorcycle accident in 2007.
31. International Incident for Hoyas
Fighters: University of Georgetown and Chinese National Team
What happened: An exhibition game in Beijing between Georgetown and the Bayi Rockets, a team comprised of People’s Liberation Army soldiers, ended in disaster.
Bottom line: After Georgetown’s Jason Clark complained about a hard foul, the Rockets (and their fans) turned on the Hoyas, coming out of the stands with dustpans to administer beatdowns and support their favorite team.
Georgetown ran for their lives when the odds became overwhelming.
The U.S. Embassy in China was forced to issue a statement on the fight.
30. Mercer Unloads on 'Tommy Gun'
Fighters: Tommy Morrison and Ray Mercer
What happened: Ray Mercer scored a brutal, fifth-round knockout of Tommy Morrison.
Bottom line: Former Olympic gold medalist Ray Mercer and Tommy Morrison were both undefeated headed into their fight for the WBO heavyweight championship in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Morrison convincingly won the first three rounds before Mercer began to batter him unrelentlessly. In the fifth round, Mercer landed a 15-punch combo that had Morrison out on his feet.
The referee couldn’t get between the fighters in time, and Mercer lands another half-dozen roundhouses across Morrison’s face.
29. Jefferson's Vicious Shot KOs Harris
Fighters: Derrick Jefferson and Maurice Harris
What happened: Harris was on the receiving end of a devastating knockout by Jefferson.
Bottom line: Big knockouts in the heavyweight division aren’t necessarily unique. That’s why Derrick Jefferson’s one-shot KO of Maurice Harris is so memorable.
Both boxers loaded up their left hands at the same time, but Jefferson’s was a lightning bolt that seemed to land across the entirety of Harris’ face. Jefferson hit him so hard that it sent his mouthpiece whizzing out.
The sight of Harris — dead-eyed, wobbling on his feet, then hitting the canvas — will stay with even the most hardened boxing fan.
28. One Billion Eyes on Ali-Frazier
Fighters: Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier
What happened: Ali defeated Frazier by TKO after 14 rounds for the undisputed heavyweight title.
Bottom line: The heavyweight title bout between Ali and Frazier — dubbed "The Thrilla in Manila" — was watched by a global television audience estimated at 1 billion. And what they saw was a battle of wills.
It was brutal and violent, with Ali telling his corner he felt he was "close to dying" as Frazier sustained headshot after headshot. After the 14th round, Ali begged his corner to cut his gloves off and they refused.
Moments later, Frazier, fighting almost blind, threw in the towel.
27.VanZant Earns Respect in Loss to Namajunas
Sport: Mixed martial arts
Fighters: Paige VanZant and Rose Namajunas
What happened: VanZant showed an uncommon type of resiliency in a brutal, bloody loss to Namajunas.
Bottom line: Paige VanZant was originally supposed to fight Joanna Calderwood but ended up swapped out to fight Rose Namajunas about a month before the bout.
VanZant, new to UFC, earned a tremendous amount of respect in fighting circles with her pure resiliency in the fight, lasting 22 minutes and withstanding two elbow dislocations in armbars and a cut under her eye that covered the ring in blood.
Later, VanZant said she was cleaning blood out of her ears for weeks after the fight.
26. Clemson, South Carolina Brawl in Holtz's Forgettable Farewell
Fighters: University of South Carolina and Clemson University
What happened: In South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz’s final game, the Gamecocks decided to meet Clemson at the end of their famed "Tiger Walk" to the field, and a helmet-to-helmet hit by Clemson’s defense late in the game sparked something bigger.
Bottom line: The fight came one day after the NBA’s infamous "Malice at the Palace" brawl and produced the unforgettable image of Clemson’s Yusuf Kelly kicking a helmetless South Carolina player as he lay on the ground and tried to cover his head.
Both schools announced they would not play in bowl games as a result of the fight, and all returning players who fought were suspended for one game the next season.
25. China Won't Play Nice With Brazilians
Fighters: Chinese national team and Brazilian national team
What happened: The Brazilian national team was walking to the locker room following a bench-clearing brawl when it was attacked by the Chinese players.
Bottom line: An exhibition match between China and Brazil was marred by rough play from the start and ended with kicks and punches in a bench-clearing brawl before halftime.
Separated by the refs and thinking the fight was over, the Brazilians began walking to the locker room and fell victim to a surprise attack by the Chinese players.
Brazil refused to play the second half or the final match of the exhibition, and the Chinese national federation issued an apology to Brazil the next day and fired coach Bon Donewald Jr.
24. Margarito's Tainted Win Over Cotto
Fighters: Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito
What happened: Margarito defeated Cotto, scoring an 11th-round knockout for the WBA welterweight title.
Bottom line: This WBA welterweight title fight between Cotto and Margartio was their first meeting and is problematic when you try to gauge its place in history.
Mainly because of what we know now about Margarito using plaster wraps on his hands — he was banned for one year after being caught trying to use them in a 2011 fight against Shane Mosley.
Cotto took one of the all-time beatings and still almost won against Margarito, then returned to beat him with a 10th-round TKO in the rematch three years later.
23. Matos Brings Olympic Shame to Cuba
Fighters: Cuba’s Angel Matos and referee Chakir Chelbat
What happened: Former Olympic champion Matos kicked Chelbat in the face after losing the bronze medal match at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Bottom line: Angel Matos, a former Olympic gold medalist in taekwondo, shocked the Olympics and sports fans worldwide when he kicked referee Chakir Chelbat in the face after losing the bronze medal match to Kazakhstan's Arman Chilmanov.
Matos also punched a judge and spit on the floor on his way out. Within hours, he and his coach, Leudis Gonzalez, were banned for life by the World Taekwondo Federation.
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro intervened on Matos’ behalf.
22. Ten Cent Beer Night Turns Ugly in Cleveland
Fighters: Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and highly intoxicated Indians fans
What happened: One week after a bench-clearing brawl in which Rangers’ fans pelted the visiting Indians with debris, the Rangers traveled to Cleveland. That, plus a 10-cent beer night promotion equaled disaster.
Bottom line: Drunken fans began to throw firecrackers into the Rangers' dugout. One fan came out of the stands and tried to steal Texas outfielder Jeff Burroughs’ hat.
Burroughs fell down, and Texas manager Billy Martin ordered his team to grab bats and go to war with the fans, sparking a full-blown riot.
If not for Indians players coming out to defend the Rangers against hundreds of fans, it would’ve been much, much worse.
21. Bruins Fight Fans at Madison Square Garden
Fighters: Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and fans
What happened: An on-ice fight between the Bruins and Rangers spilled into the stands.
Bottom line: After New York’s Phil Esposito missed a breakaway shot at the buzzer, the Bruins and Rangers began to fight along the glass at Madison Square Garden.
When a fan reached over the glass and hit Boston’s Stan Jonathan with a program, drawing blood, things took a nasty turn and the Bruins waged an all-out assault on the fans.
The lasting image of the brawl is Boston defenseman Mike Milbury chasing down a fan, tearing the man’s shoe off and beating him with it.
20. Canada, Mexico Go Off the Rails in WBC
Fighters: Team Mexico and Team Canada
What happened: Mexico’s Arnold Leon plunked Canada’s Rene Tosoni with a pitch at the World Baseball Classic to set off a wild brawl.
Bottom line: After fielding a bunt, Mexico third baseman Luis Cruz held the ball to his ribs, said "hit him" to Leon, then pointed at Tosoni to make sure it was clear. This amped things up a bit.
Most baseball fights have a pro wrestling vibe. This was more like the opening scene from "Gangs of New York"
It might be one reason why people didn't like to watch the World Baseball Classic.
19. Romanowski Breaks Teammate's Jaw
Fighters: Bill Romanowski and Marcus Williams
What happened: Romanowski viciously attacked teammate Williams at practice.
Bottom line: Oakland Raiders tight end Marcus Williams got tied up with linebacker Bill Romanowski at practice during a drill, and things went bad.
Romanowski ripped Williams helmet off and crushed his face with a punch — shattering Williams’ eye socket and causing permanent brain damage and vision damage.
The punch ended Williams’ career, and the two ended up in court several years later, with Williams winning $340,000 in a lawsuit against Romanowski.
18. Hawthorn-Essendon 'Line in the Sand' Brawl
Sport: Australian Rules Football
Fighters: Hawthorn players and Essendon players
What happened: Hawthorn club director Dermott Brereton told his club to take a "physical stand" against Essendon during a halftime speech, and they did.
Bottom line: Hawthorn’s Dermott Brereton, author of some of the most violent incidents in Aussie Rules Football as a player, implored his team to take a "physical stand" against rival Essendon during a halftime speech, sparking the infamous "Line in the Sand" game.
Several small fights around the field culminated in a bench-clearing brawl that lasted five minutes.
In all, 16 match suspensions and approximately $70,000 in fines were handed out — both AFL records.
17. Big Ten Baskeball's Brawl for the Ages
Fighters: University of Minnesota and Ohio State University
What happened: After a hard foul on Ohio State’s Luke Witte, Minnesota’s Corky Taylor went to help Witte up. Once Witte was almost on his feet, Taylor kneed him in the groin and set off a bench-clearing brawl.
Bottom line: Luke Witte was a prime target for retaliation after committing a hard foul right before halftime.
After the Gophers answered back with a hard foul on Witte, it probably would’ve ended there if not for Corky Taylor’s dirty move.
With future NBA player Jim Brewer and future Pro Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield on Minnesota's side, the Buckeyes got the worst of it and ended up with three players in the hospital.
16. Nobody Throws at Tino Martinez
Fighters: New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles
What happened: Baltimore relief pitcher Armando Benitez hit New York’s Tino Martinez, setting off a massive brawl.
Bottom line: After Baltimore’s Armando Benitez gave up a two-run home run to Yankees’ center fielder Bernie Williams, he placed his next pitch in the middle of Tino Martinez’s back.
The normally calm Martinez rushed the mound, sparking a massive brawl. The fight peaked when Darryl Strawberry landed a wild sucker punch to the side of Benitez’s head, right on the edge of the dugout steps.
Even in the pantheon of MLB fights, seeing a dozen players falling into the dugout in a sea of punches is truly bizarre.
15. 'Don't Come Into the OB'
Fighters: University of Miami and Florida International University
What happened: Miami kicker Matt Perrelli was thrown to the ground and punched by several FIU players after hitting an extra point, then kicked in the head before the Hurricanes came to his aid.
Bottom line: The craziest scenes from the fight at the Orange Bowl, which lasted less than two minutes, were Miami’s Anthony Redick swinging his helmet wildly and an injured FIU player using his crutches as weapons.
Television commentator and former UM player Lamar Thomas was fired for infamously saying, "Don’t come into the OB!" on the air, then saying he wanted to take the elevator down so he could fight, too.
14. Duran Teaches Moore a Painful Lesson
Fighters: Roberto Duran and Davey Moore
What happened: Duran doled out one of boxing’s worst beatings to Moore.
Bottom line: Davey Moore and Roberto Duran fought at Madison Square Garden for the WBA junior welterweight title on Duran’s birthday.
The former champion with "hands of stone" beat Moore, who had questioned Duran’s ability to still compete with elite boxers on his comeback from the infamoust "No Mas" fight.
When Moore came back out for the eighth round, spectators began to rush the stage, threatening to jump in the ring if the fight wasn’t stopped. Mercifully, it was.
13. It's Over When Howe Says It's Over
Fighters: Detroit Red Wing Gordie Howe and New York Ranger Lou Fontinato
What happened: Howe delivered one of the greatest 1-on-1 beatings in NHL history.
Bottom line: Detroit’s Gordie Howe, one of the greatest players in NHL history, had been a frequent target of Rangers enforcer Lou Fontinato for years.
Then Howe decided he’d had enough. On the edge of a scrum, Fontinato took the first swing at Howe, who ducked.
Howe’s first punch shattered Fontinato’s nose, then he went to work on the rest of his face, dislocating his jaw and splitting his lips open.
12. Elvis Almost Killed the Ref
Fighters: Forward Elvis Bowling and referee Fabia Bloominbate
What happened: Forward Elvis Bowling struck referee Fabia Bloominbate during a pro game in Uruguay.
Bottom line: Elvis Bowling disagreed with a non-call by refereee Fabia Bloominbate and responded with such viciousness it shocked sports fans around the world.
Bowling, 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds, struck the 5-foot-8 ref with a fist-elbow combo, knocking him out cold. Bloominbate was unconscious for three hours, needed surgery to save his eyesight and set his broken jaw.
Bowling received a lifetime ban from professional basketball in Uruguay and still would face criminal charges in the country if he ever returned.
11. Braves, Padres Set Off Fulton County Fireworks
Fighters: Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres
What happened: From the first pitch, when Atlanta starter Pascual Perez beaned San Diego’s Alan Wiggins, the tone was set. Perez finally got it back in the eighth when he was hit by a pitch.
Bottom line: This is the "Citizen Kane" of baseball fights. Blame the Atlanta heat in mid-August, but these two teams were out for blood.
Multiple bench-clearing brawls proved too much for the Braves' fans to bear, and several descended to the field to join the fight, and five were arrested.
When you watch the video, keep an eye out for a cherub-looking Bob Horner fighting and a young-ish looking Joe Torre managing the Braves.
10. Canada, Soviet Union Junior Hockey Teams Go to War
Fighters: Canada and Soviet Union national junior teams
What happened: Players from Canada and the Soviet Union fought for over 20 minutes, with both benches coming onto the ice in Piestany, Slovakia.
Bottom line: The final game of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships — for third place — was between Canada and the Soviet Union and was overly physical from the start. The event organizers thought they could stop the fight by turning the lights in the arena off, which failed.
The fallout was immense. Almost everyone on the Canadian roster was suspended for 18 months. All of the Soviet players were banned from international competition for life. Both coaching staffs were fired, and none of the refs ever worked again.
9. Badminton Gone Wild
Fighters: Bodin Issara and Maneepong Jonjit
What happened: Jonjit appears to hit Issara with his racquet while they’re arguing in a break between games, sparking one of the more bizarre, vicious sports fights of all time.
Bottom line: The rivalry between Issara and Jonjit reportedly stemmed from the 2012 Olympics, but no one could’ve anticipated what happened at the Canada Open.
It goes from beyond wild to scary as Issara and his teammate chase Jonjit around the arena.
When Issara catches Jonjit, he doles out a beating for the ages.
8. One Angry Lobo Shocks Sports World
Fighters: University of New Mexico defender Elizabeth Lambert and several Brigham Young University players
What happened: Lambert put together a string of dirty plays against BYU in the Mountain West Conference Tournament semifinals that culminated in one of the all-time dirtiest stretches of plays in soccer history.
Bottom line: Lambert, who gained international infamy after the video of her actions went viral, was able to throw a punch and not get a red card, among other deeds, before violently yanking an unsuspecting BYU player to the ground by her ponytail.
She was suspended indefinitely, then returned her senior season but went by "Liz" instead of Elizabeth.
7. 'Malice' Toward All
Fighters: Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and fans
What happened: Indiana’s Ron Artest was laying on the scorer’s table at The Palace at Auburn Hills after being shoved by Detroit’s Ben Wallace when a beer thrown from the stands hit him in the chest. Artest went into the crowd to fight the fan he thought threw the beer, sparking a riot.
Bottom line: Widely regarded as the worst fight in NBA history, commissioner David Stern suspended nine players for a total of 126 games and $11 million in lost salaries. Ron Artest was hit with 86 games and $4.9 million.
Criminal charges were filed against five Pacers and five fans, including two who came down on the court to fight the Pacers.
6. Kim Duk-doo Dies After Fight With Mancini
Fighters: Ray Mancini and Kim Duk-doo
What happened: Kim died four days after sustaining injuries in a fight against Ray Mancini.
Bottom line: Kim Duk-doo was the No. 1 contender to lightweight champion Ray Mancini when the two fought in Las Vegas. It was Kim’s first fight in North America, and nationally televised on CBS.
The two masters fought an epic match that swung back and forth over 14 rounds. In the 15th round, Mancini landed a vicious right that sent Kim sprawling to the canvas.
Kim fell into a coma and died four days later from a subdural hematoma.
5. Soccer Fans Kill Player During Game in Israel
Fighters: Maccabi Rehovot and Maccabi Kfar Gvirol
What happened: Late in a tight game in Rehovot, Israel, and with Rehovot up 1-0, a referee called for a foul against Kfar Givirol against the Rehovot goalkeeper and angry Kfar Gvirol fans stormed the field.
Bottom line: One of the Kfar Gvirol fans, 17-year-old Shimon Kroha, stabbed Rehovot’s Mordechai (Moti) Kind in the heart, and he died on the field.
Kind’s brother and teammate, Aaron, tried to come to his aid but was beaten savagely by fans and forced to run off to save his own life.
Kfar Gvirol’s team was suspended indefinitely.
4. Washington Lands 'The Punch' on Tomjanovich
Fighters: Los Angeles Lakers forward Kermit Washington and Houston Rockets forward Rudy Tomjanovich
What happened: Lakers forward Kermit Washington punched defenseless Rockets forward Rudy Tomjanovich in the face, fracturing his skull, jaw and nose with one blow.
Bottom line: The events leading up to the punch are debated to this day, but what’s not debatable is that Tomjanovich almost died.
On the way to the hospital, Tomjanovich said he could taste spinal fluid leaking into his mouth, and the doctor who performed the life-saving surgery said it was like "scotch-taping together a badly shattered eggshell."
Washington was suspended 26 games.
3. Most Violent Hockey Fight of All Time
Fighters: St. Louis Blue Wayne Maki and Boston Bruin Ted Green
What happened: Maki and Green traded blows with their sticks in one of the more disturbing, violent fights in NHL history.
Bottom line: St. Louis Blues forward Wayne Maki was just trying to make the team when he ran afoul of Boston enforcer "Terrible" Ted Green.
Green took the first swing, and the two went at it, with Maki landing the decisive blow that fractured Green’s skull and left him with a brain injury.
Both players ended up charged in criminal court for their actions, a first in NHL history, and were suspended.
Maki died, tragically, in 1974 of cancer at just 29 years old.
2. Soccer Match Sparks Revolution in Croatia
Fighters: Dinamo Zagreb’s Zvonimir Boban and Zagreb Police Officers
What happened: Boban saw what he thought was the mistreatment of a Dinamo fan by the police and intervened, attacking the police.
Bottom line: The match between Yugoslavian League rivals Red Star Belgrade and Dinamo Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia, came during the first multiparty elections in both Yugoslavia and Croatia in nearly 50 years.
Red Star fans and Dinamo fans fought in the stands with such ferocity the match was suspended. Boban, the team captain, saw a Dinamo fan outnumbered by police and attacked. The police were met by a wave of Dinamo fans protecting Boban.
One hour later, the stadium was on fire, and the Croatian War of Independence had begun.
1. Resto Ends Collins Jr.'s Career With Tragic Assault
Fighters: Luis Resto and Billy Collins Jr.
What happened: Luis Resto fought Billy Collins Jr. wearing illegal, tampered gloves and ended Collins’ career.
Bottom line: Billy Collins Jr. was an up-and-coming lightweight contender when he fought Luis Resto on a Roberto Duran undercard, but left the match with a torn iris and permanently blurred vision and never able to box again.
Resto and trainer Panama Lewis were found to have tampered with Resto’s gloves, removing an ounce of padding. They also soaked his hand wraps in plaster.
Despondent, Collins Jr. died one year later in a car accident. Resto and Lewis both served 2 1/2 years in federal prison.