It is inevitable in all sports that things will get a little heated from time to time. There could be some trash talking going on, the stakes could be higher than a regular game, it could be a match between rivals or it might be slightly more physical than usual. This can add some drama and spice to the competition, but often tempers will flair and things will boil over. This is where the spirit of competition goes out the window, and instead violence erupts. Usually this results in little more than pushing and shoving, as players are aware of the punishment for throwing punches during a game. These fights can provide great entertainment for the crowd, and once things get underway again the skirmish will have had a noticeable impact on the game. These fights that erupt are not always just skirmishes, however.
Throughout all sports there are the occasional fights that break out that cause complete bedlam. These fights can remain between two players and be one that no one wants to get in the middle of, but often they will turn into brawls that feature teammates and even the coaching staff at times. The officials can do little to contain these fights so they will usually run their course, which has often seen some shocking scenes which always result in lengthy bans and heavy suspensions. As this list will demonstrate, these fights are not always just contained to the players on the field of play, and there are some infamous fights that have had a lasting impact on the sport.
These fights can be wild, primal, ugly yet often still quite entertaining (provided nobody is seriously injured), but there will never be a winner in these situations and it paints the sport in a bad light.
Here are the 15 craziest fights in all of sports.
15 Charles Barkley vs. Shaq
14 Johnny Roseboro vs. Juan Marichal
13 Julio Castillo vs. Innocent Fan
12 Jeff Van Gundy vs. Alonzo Mourning
It may not be much of a rivalry these days, but in the 90s this was a fierce and physical rivalry and each matchup was eagerly anticipated. A lot of the rivalry stemmed from the fact that these two teams met in the playoffs for four consecutive seasons, something that had not occurred before. A huge fight broke out in the 1997 Eastern Conference semi finals which would cost the Knicks the series, but it is the 1998 Eastern Conference First Round which sparked the most memorable fight between these teams.
11 Diego Maradona vs. Andoni Goikoetxea (Round 2)
10 Terry O’Reilly vs. the City of New York
9 Mardy Collins vs. Carmelo Anthony
8 Canada vs. The Soviet Union
7 Don Zimmer vs. Pedro Martinez
Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox was overshadowed by a bench clearing brawl, and one particularly despicable act all resulting from a Pedro Martinez fastball which hit Karim Garcia on the back. Gestures were made and both benches were warned, but later on Roger Clemens threw a high pitch and Manny Ramirez charged the mound.
6 China vs. Brazil
5 Dr. J vs. Larry Bird
4 Martin Havlat “eats his lunch”
3 Eric Cantona vs. Fan
2 Miami vs. FIU
1 Ron Artest vs. The City of Detroit
The Malice in the Palace remains one of the most bizarre and shocking things to have happened in sports history, and its impact is still felt over 10 years later. Ron Artest was of course in the middle of all of this, and it was his hard foul on Detroit’s Ben Wallace that sparked the incident. Ben Wallace felt that the foul was dangerous and over the top, so he responded by pushing Indiana’s Artest which caused players to attempt to separate the pair. Artest then decided to lie down on the scorer’s table whilst the situation escalated, but then a fan threw a drink at Artest which caused him to explode. He jumped into the crowd to confront the fan and was quickly followed by Stephen Jackson, who punched a Pistons fan. All hell then broke loose, with more Pacers players entering the stands as fans also spilled onto the court. Artest punched a fan as he returned to the court, as did Jermaine O’Neal who took a running start. The madness continued as fans bombarded the Pacers players with drinks and debris as they attempted to leave the court.
The brawl stunned the entire sporting world, and resulted in nine players facing a combined total of 146 games on the sidelines. Five players were also charged with assault, and five Pistons fans faced criminal damages and can no longer attend games at the Palace.
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