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Five Outrageous Sports Stories

Updated on October 15, 2015

Fan Man

On November 6, 1993, Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield were having a rematch for the heavyweight boxing title. Bowe had previously beaten Holyfield to take the title. Holyfield was looking to put his stamp on boxing history by becoming just the third man to ever regain the heavyweight title. There was another man also looking to put his stamp on the event. Paraglider enthusiast James Miller ended up flying his contraption into the outdoor stadium at Caesar's Palace in the middle of the 7th round. His parachute was caught up in the overhead lights, leaving him dangling just above the top rope of the ring. He was pulled down and knocked unconscious by angry fans and member of Bowe's camp. In an interview with the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Miller claims the entire ordeal resulted from mechanical failure of his engine. After his other stunts, which included landing on top of Buckingham Palace and pulling his pants down to reveal a painted-green lower half, no one really believed his initial explanation.

John Riggins and Sandra Day O'Connor

John Riggins was a star player for the Washington Redskins from 1976-1985. Being Super Bowl winners and celebrities in the nation's capital leads to a unique blending of people: rough and tumble football players mixing with polished politicians and lawmakers. In January 1985, the aforementioned Riggins and the first woman to ever be named to the United States Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor, were seated together at a table for the Washington Press Club's "Salute to Congress" dinner. Riggins, well-known for his boisterousness and fondness of the drink, had consumed many libations and told O'Connor, "Come on, Sandy baby, loosen up. You're too tight." After this ribald comment, Riggins was found asleep on the floor of the ballroom of the hotel while (at the time) vice-president George Bush was giving a speech and was later helped out of the building by two of the editors of People magazine.

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Toomer's Corner Tree Poisoning

Toomer's Corner is an important hub in the college town of Auburn, Alabama. In the 1950s, it became tradition to toilet paper two large oak trees in Toomer's Corner when Auburn University would win an away football game. This morphed into "rolling the corner" after any large scale success in a sporting event. The two oaks at Toomer's Corner were part of a fun, lighthearted and important tradition to the students of Auburn. As previously mentioned, Auburn is in the state of Alabama, and Alabama football is like religion. With the legendary Bear Bryant dominating the sport for the 60s and 70s, Auburn became the little brother in the state football hierarchy. Auburn had it's moments throughout the years but in 2010, Auburn won the national title. Their best player, Cam Newton, won the Heisman Trophy and they came back from 24 points down to beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl which maintained their undefeated record. Alabama fans did not enjoy Auburn's successes. One man, a former Texas lawman, Harvey Updyke, was not having any of Auburn's success and resulting celebrations as he poisoned the famous Toomer's Corner oaks with a lethal dose of Spike 80DF. Updyke would later call into a national radio and brag about the feat. The resulting investigation led to him being caught and convicted.

The spot where the oaks once stood is now monitored 24 hours a day.
The spot where the oaks once stood is now monitored 24 hours a day. | Source

Mike Tyson bites off part of Evander Holyfield's ear

Evander Holyfield, somehow, find himself involved in a crazy story again. On June 28, 1997, Holyfield was defending his heavyweight title against the number one contender, Mike Tyson. This was the second fight between the two and Tyson had complained about Holyfield head-butting him throughout the first fight. In round two of the second fight, Holyfield inadvertently head-butted Tyson and opened a cut above his eye. At the start of round three, Tyson attempted to come out of his corner without his mouthpiece, ultimately foreshadowing his plan. Referee Mills Lane noticed Tyson did not have his mouthpiece and directed Tyson to insert it. With about 40 seconds left in round 3, the two fighters were tangled up and Tyson bit off part of Holyfield's ear. Holyfield jumped back. The ringside doctor examined him and, almost inexplicably, the fight continued. Tyson then tried to bite Holfield's other ear and referee Mills Lane was, at that point, forced to stop the fight. Holyfield retained his title, but left the ring with a little bit less of his ear.

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Spanish Paralympic Baskeball Team

At the 2000 Paralympic games, the Spanish basketball team won the gold medal. There are many different categories of disabilities and the Spanish gold came in the intellectual disability category. Participants are supposed to have an IQ below 70. What should have been a feel good moment for all involved turned into an ugly incident. Soon after the end of the games, Carlos Ribagorda, a member of the Spanish gold medal team and an undercover journalist, exposed the truth that 10 of the 12 members of the Spanish team were not mentally handicapped. Ribagorda went on to allege that whole scheme was concocted in order to raise sponsorship through winning the gold medal. Once Ribagorda exposed the scam, the head of the Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports, Fernando Martin Vicente, admitted fault and resigned. Thirteen years later, he was convicted of fraud in a Madrid court and forced to pay restitution of nearly 150,000 euros.

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