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Fangs for the memories: Five worst sports biting incidents

  |  April 22, 2013

Luis Suarez clashes with Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in the build-up to the biting incident at Anfield. Pic: Andrew Yates/AFP
Luis Suarez clashes with Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in the build-up to the biting incident at Anfield.  Pic: Andrew Yates/AFP

When Luis Suarez sank his teeth into Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday, he was not the first sportsman to bite an opponent during competition, only the most recent. Here are five other notorious cases of sports biting.

2012 Dylan Hartley

During a Six Nation’s rugby match, England’s Hartley bit Stephen Ferris of Ireland on the finger. The infraction was not seen by the referee, but Ferris showed his wounded finger to the referee, and the match commissioner filed a report. Hartley received an eight-week suspension; he could have been banned four years.

2006 Jermain Defoe

After Javier Mascherano of West Ham United brought down Defoe with a tackle that earned the Argentine a yellow card, Defoe turned and bit the Argentine on the left shoulder. Defoe was cautioned after an ensuing shoving match, and rules did not allow additional punishment when it was learned he had bitten Mascherano.

2002 Peter Filandia In an Aussie Rules football game, Chad Davis of St Kilda became entangled with Filandia, of Port Melbourne, and Filandia bit Davis in the scrotum, breaking the skin and causing bleeding. Filandia said he felt as if he were being smothered and acted without thinking. He was given a 10-game suspension; Davis got a tetanus shot.

1997 Mike Tyson

The heavyweight champion of sports biting. Tyson became enraged at what he felt was head-butting by Evander Holyfield, and during a clinch in the third round he bit off a one-inch piece of Holyfield’s right ear and spit it out. The fight was not stopped until after the next round, during which Tyson bit Holyfield’s left ear.

1983 Wayne ‘Tree’ Rollins

In an NBA play-off game, Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics and Rollins, of the Atlanta Hawks, traded elbows, and Ainge tackled the 7-footer. While they were on the floor, Rollins bit Ainge on the finger, making a wound that required two stitches to close. Ainge was ejected; Rollins’s bite went unseen by officials, and he was not punished.