While some fights (regardless of the sport) can be broken up within seconds, some can last longer than that. Depending on how messy and long the fight is, some of them can make national/international headlines for the coming days and cause a stir on social media.
The fight between Cleveland Browns Defensive End Myles Garrett and Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Mason Rudolph during an NFL Game between their two teams on November 14th, 2019, is recent brawl to have caused a lot of controversy and make headlines (see #5 below for more information). Although it is fairly recent, it’ll a brawl that people will remember and talk about in the years to come.
With that being said, take a look below for a trip down memory lane of The 20 Craziest Fights (including the one between Garrett and Rudolph) in Sports History:
20. UM vs. FIU – 2006:
Due to the close proximity between UM and FIU, the two universities share a rivalry. The 2006 game between the two schools sparked one of the craziest fights ever in both college football and sports history.
After a touchdown, a fight broke out following the extra point attempt. Players from both sides got involved, even those on the bench joined in. The fight resulted in 31 players (18 from FIU and 13 from UM) receiving a one-game suspension each.
19. Kermit Washington Punching Rudy Tomjanovich – 1977:
One of the wildest fights in NBA History took place in the middle of a 1977 NBA Game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets when Washington sucker-punched Tomjanovich in the face. Washington received a 60 day suspension and $10,000 fine. The impact of Washington’s punch shattered Tomjanovich’s face and nearly cost him his life.
18. Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, and Brandon Ingram – 2018:
One of the most recent (and craziest) fights in NBA History took place early in the the previous NBA Season between The Lakers and The Rockets. It was both teams’ second game of the season. It was also NBA Superstar Lebron James’s first game as Laker at Staples Center, the team’s home arena.
The fight took place with four minutes left in the four quarter after Lakers Forward Brandon Ingram got all up in one of the officials’s faces for a fouling (and shoving) Rockets Guard James Harden (the reigning League MVP at the time). Things escalated after Rockets Guard and All-Star Chris Paul poked Lakers Guard and All-Star Rajon Rondo in the face (Paul claimed that Rondo spit in his face, which Rondo denied), who threw a punch.
As the players and coaches from both teams and the referees attempted to break things up, Ingram ran back to throw a punch at Paul. The fight resulted in Ingram, Rondo, and Paul to be ejected from the game and each received multiple suspensions for multiple games (Ingram for four, Rondo for three, and Paul for two).
17. Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant – 2017:
Of all the sports fights to make this list, this one isn’t a physical fight. Instead, it featured two ex-teammates scramming and getting into each other’s faces!
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were a great duo on and off the court together when they were teammates on The Oklahoma City Thunder for eight seasons, which included an NBA Finals Appearance in 2012 (which The Thunder lost 4-1 to The Miami Heat). However, the relationship between the two soured after the former controversial signing to The Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA off-season.
A year and a half later, a game between The Thunder and The Warriors featured the two ex-teammates in each other’s faces jawing at one another. Although it was only a verbal altercation, one knows this is bound to be crazy fight (which light up social media) when Draymond Green (who’s been in plenty of NBA Fights) is playing the role of one of several peacemakers!
16. Draymond Green vs. Bradley Beal – 2017:
Golden State Warriors Star Draymond Green is among the NBA’s frequent leaders in technical fouls and has several high-profile incidents throughout his NBA Career. He has gotten into several fights as well.
During the last minute of the second quarter of a game between Golden State and The Washington Wizards, Green and Wizards Player Bradley Beal were fighting for a rebound when the latter grabbed the former by the neck and face. When the two became entangled, they fell to the floor, resulting in players from both sides rushing in to intervene. Besides getting ejected, both Green and Beal were fined. Also, Wizards Players Markieff Morris (who was injured and didn’t play) and Carrick Felix were suspended for game each for leaving the bench to break up the fight. In the NBA, leaving the bench when fights break out on the court is an automatic one-game suspension.
15. Josh Norman vs. Odell Beckham Jr. – 2015:
Washington Redskins Cornerback Josh Norman and Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. have a longstanding player rivalry that has featured tons of trash talk and fights whenever the two played against each other. The rivalry between Norman and Beckham Jr. started in the first NFL Game between the two in 2015 when both were members of The Carolina Panthers and New York Giants respectively.
14. Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby – 2018:
The Washington Wizards and Pittsburgh Penguins have a historic rivalry in the NHL. To add more fuel to the fire, each of the teams’ star players, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby respectively, have a personal rivalry with each other.
During a regular-season game between the two teams last year, Ovechkin and Crosby got into a screaming match with each other from their team’s benches after the former’s teammate Tom Wilson (if current NHL Players had a Fight Club, the president would be Wilson) knocked the latter’s teammate Jamie Oleksiak to the ground. The screaming match between Ovechkin and Crosby had hockey fans in hysterics on social media.
13. Battle of The Buffet – 2004:
Soccer fans know that Premier League teams Manchester United and Arsenal are rivals and how intense the rivalry was when Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were the managers of both teams respectively. The rivalry sparked lots of tension and fights between both teams.
The Battle of The Buffet happened during a league game between the two teams on October 24th, 2004 at Old Trafford (Manchester United’s home stadium). In a game with many unprofessional fouls overlooked by the referee, Manchester United ended up winning 2-0 and snapped Arsenal’s record-breaking 49-game winning streak (which included when they won the Premier League last season without a single defeat, the only team accomplish this feat). Another fight took place off-camera in the tunnel that resulted in a piece of pizza being thrown at Ferguson by Arsenal Midfielder Cesc Fabregas (an unused substitute for the game).
12. El Clasico – 2010:
El Clásico is the name given to any match played between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The two Spanish sides share a fierce rivalry that is one of the most famous in sports history. The rivalry was intensified to the max between 2010-2012 when Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola were the managers of both teams respectively. During that time period, multiple fights broke out whenever both sides played each other.
The El Clasico on November 29th, 2010, was a league game at Camp Nou (Barcelona’s Home Stadium) and also Mourinho’s first El Clasico as the Real Madrid Manager. Real Madrid were crushed 5-0 by Barcelona and a fight broke out when Real Madrid Defender Sergio Ramos received a straight red card in the 90th minute after bringing down Barcelona Forward Leo Messi. The Spaniard also put his hand in the faces of Barcelona Defender Carles Puyol and Midfielder Xavi, both of whom are teammates with Ramos for The Spanish National Team.
11. Mike Milbury vs. a Rangers Fan – 1979:
This is one of the most crazy player-fan fights in sports history. A fight broke out in a 1979 NHL Game between The Boston Bruins players and The New York Rangers players. The fight soon spilled into the stands after Rangers fan John Kaptain reached over the glass and hit a Bruins Player with a rolled-up program and the player’s stick. Milbury, in the defensive of his teammate, yanked one of Kaptain’s shoes off and hit him with it.
10. Zinedine Zidane Headbutts Marco Materazzi – 2006:
One of the most infamous fights in sports history took place during the 2006 World Cup Final between Italy and France. After regular time ended in a 1-1 draw, the game went into overtime.
In the 110th minute, Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi, who scored the goals for France and Italy respectively, got into an altercation. After the latter reportedly made a comment about the former’s sister, Zidane head-butted Materazzi in the chest. As a result, Zidane, who was also playing in his final match as a professional, was sent-off by the referee and France lost to Italy in penalties shortly afterward.
9. Pedro Martinez vs. Don Zimmer – 2003:
The Boston Red Sox and The New York Yankees have a historic rivalry that has featured numerous fights over the years. One of the most memorable fights from the rivalry happened during Game 3 of The ALCS when Red Sox Player Pedro Martinez threw Yankees Bench Coach Don Zimmer to the ground. The incident happened in the middle of a bench-clearing brawl when Manny Ramirez, Martinez’s teammate, became irate after Yankees Pitcher Rodger Clemens pitched a high fastball.
8. Albert Haynesworth vs. Andre Gurode – 2006:
Prior to the Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph fight in 2019 (see #5 below), the brawl between Albert Haynesworth and Andre Gurode was considered the worst one of all the fights in NFL history. During a 2006 game between the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys, Gurode was on the ground after his helmet got knocked off. Haynesworth saw him and stomped on his head before walking away.
Haynesworth’s actions resulted in him getting a five-game suspension. Meanwhile, Gurode needed 30 stitches just above and below his right eye.
7. The Bite Fight – 1997:
The infamous boxing match between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield took place on June 28th, 1997. During the third round, in perhaps one of the most bizarre moments in sports history, Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield’s right ear. The fight was allowed to proceed until Tyson tried biting Holyfield’s ear again, which resulted in officials stopping the fight and awarding the latter a win via disqualification.
6. The Battle of Nuremberg – 2006:
The Battle of Nuremberg refers to two major fights that took place in Nuremberg, Germany: The battle between the US and Nazi Germany during WWII and The Round-of-16 match between Portugal and The Netherlands in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The latter is what will be discussed here and is one of the most infamous matches in FIFA World Cup History.
Thanks to a goal from Portuguese Midfielder Maniche in the 23rd minute, Portugal won 1-0 in a very physical match that featured multiple fights. Four Players (Costinha and Deco for Portugal and Khalid Boulahrouz and Gio van Bronckhorst for the Netherlands) were sent off after receiving two yellow cards each.
The match also set the record for the most cards shown at any FIFA-administered International Tournament with 20 as the Referee, Russian Valentin Ivanov, handed out four red cards and 16 yellow cards.
5. Myles Garrett vs. Mason Rudolph – 2019:
Off all the fights to make this list, the one between Garrett and Rudolph is the most recent skirmish to occur. With seconds left in the game, the Browns were leading 21-7 over the Steelers when the fight started.
After Steeler Quarterback Rudolph threw a pass to teammate Trey Edmunds, he got tackled by Browns Defensive Guard Garrett. As Rudolph and Edmunds were on the ground, the former (who was unhappy with how he was tackled) shoved the latter. When the two got up, Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and clocked him in the head with it, which sparked a brawl turned into chaos as players from both sides spilled onto the field.
Garrett, along with his teammate Larry Ogunjobi and Steelers Player Maurkice Pouncey, were ejected from the game for their roles in the fight. The brawl sparked reactions from coaches, commentators, and current and former NFL Players. The NFL announced the next day that Garrett would be suspended indefinitely (at least for the rest of the season), Pouncey for three games for punching and kicking Garrett in the head, and Ogunjobi for one game for pushing Rudolph. However, while Rudolph didn’t get suspended, he and several other players can still be fined by the league for their roles in the fight.
4. El Clasico – 2011:
One of the worst brawls in the history of El Clasico took place during the second leg of the 2011 Spanish Super Cup. In the final seconds, Real Madrid Defender Marcelo’s horror tackle on Barcelona Midfielder Cesc Fabregas triggered a massive brawl on the sidelines (where the tackle happened) as players (regardless if they were on the field or on the bench) and technical staff from both sides came to blows.
The entire melee resulted in Marcelo being sent off, in addition to already subbed-off Midfielder Mesut Ozil (Marcelo’s Real Madrid Teammate) and Barcelona Striker David Villa. This was also the match where Jose Mourinho infamously poked then-Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova in the eye.
3. Philippines-Australia Brawl – 2018:
A 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifier between Philippines (who hosted the game) and Australia turned ugly with three minutes left in the third quarter after Filipino Player Roger Pogoy hit Australian Player Chris Goudling with a hard foul. Daniel Kickert, one of Goudling’s teammates, retaliated by charging at Pogoy with a hard elbow and forearm.
When Pogoy hit the ground, the other Filipino players on the court rushed to aid their teammate while all the Filipino players on the bench rushed onto court to join the bawl. The players on the bench for Australia didn’t join in and defend their teammates as they were held back by the Australian Coaching Staff. The fight featured a bunch of punches, flying kicks (from Australian NBA Player Thon Maker, who plays for The Detroit Pistons), and chairs being thrown (at the Australian players).
The Philippines-Australia Brawl was one of the worst fights in both basketball and in recent time as Filipino officials and fans sitting curtsied got involved. After all the fights were broken up, a total of 13 players (four for Australia and nine for Philippines) were ejected. Both federations received fines and players from both sides were suspended for multiple games.
2. The Khabib vs. McGregor Post-Fight – 2018:
While Khabib Nurmagomedov won his MMA bout over Conor McGregor, UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor will always be remembered for the brawl that took place after the actual fight was over between the Khabib and McGregor teams. The chaos that took place post-brawl makes the event one of the craziest fights in sports history!
1. The Malice at The Palace – 2004:
Sports fans reading this article probably knew which fight I was going to rank as #1. The craziest fight in sports history is the The Malice at The Palace, which took place at the end of an NBA Game between The Detroit Pistons and The Indiana Pacers on November 19th, 2004.
The fight broke out with about 46 seconds left in the game when Pistons Player Ben Wallace got angry after getting fouled roughly by Pacers Player Ron Artest. As coaches and players (both on the court and on the bench) from both teams attempted to calm Wallace down, Artest tried to cool off by lying down on the scorer’s table.
All hell broke loose and started craziest and worst of all fights in sports history when a fan threw a drink onto Artest from the stands. Artest then stormed into the stands and started fighting with the fan he thought threw the drink at him, but it turned out to be wrong one! Things soon turned into chaos as numerous players (from both teams) and fans started to get involved in the mess both in the stands and on the court.
The Malice at the Palace resulted in the NBA suspended nine players (from both teams) for a combined 146 games. Five of those nine suspended players got a year of probation and community service from the authorities. Five fans were also charged and received lifetime bans from Pistons home games.