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25 years ago: Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield's ear

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Twenty-five years ago today, sports fans collectively said, he did what?

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: What happened here?

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #2: He got bit, I think. He got bit in the ear.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: Oh, my goodness. He's got a bloody right ear. Holyfield bit by a dirty Mike Tyson.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Yeah, during a boxing match in Las Vegas, Mike Tyson bit the ear of Evander Holyfield. He actually bit part of it off and spit it out, yet the referee did not stop the fight. A few minutes later, Tyson did it again.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #3: A very angry Evander Holyfield now. A left hook.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #4: You know, it's funny 'cause Mike was having his best...

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #3: He bit him again. He bit him again.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #2: He bit him again.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: Mike Tyson has bit Evander Holyfield for the second time.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #2: He bit him twice.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: And it is all-out war.

MARTIN: The fight was called off after that, and chaos erupted in the ring. Days later, Mike Tyson tried to explain himself at a press conference. He felt Evander Holyfield had headbutted him.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MIKE TYSON: I cannot tell why exactly I acted like I did, other than to say when the butting occurred and I thought I might lose because of a severely - of a cut above my eye, I just snapped.

MARTINEZ: Tyson was fined more than $3 million. He also lost his boxing license in Nevada. One year later, the license was reinstated. In 2008, Evander Holyfield came on NPR to remember that moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

EVANDER HOLYFIELD: When I jumped up, it hurt so bad. And, you know, my first thought was to bite him back.

MARTIN: That missing part of his ear was never replaced. Evander Holyfield went on to become the heavyweight champion of the world just a few months later. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.