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5 Great Brawls in Sports History

Posted by rafael on January 2, 2013 in Sports

Most sports fans cannot resist a good fight. Those moments when the emotion of the game boils over and leads to fight-to-cuffs are not just reserved for sports where fighting is permitted. Brawls can break out in any sport at any level. Some brawls were so epic in nature that they have cemented themselves forever as a part of sports lore. The following are five of the biggest brawls sports fans have ever seen.

5. Colorado Avalanche vs. Detroit Red Wings (NHL – 1997)

Fighting is commonplace in hockey, and fans welcome a good skirmish with open arms. Bitter rivals from the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings gave fans their money’s worth on March 26, 1997 at Joe Louis Arena. The bloody outbreak was a year in the making. Colorado’s Claude Lemieux badly injured Detroit’s Kris Draper the year before when he checked Draper’s face into the boards. The following season, the teams fought nine times during a regular season match-up. One of the brawls was so big, even the goalies got involved. Colorado’s Patrick Roy came to center ice to aid Lemieux, who was being beat down by Darren McCarty. Detroit net minder Mike Vernon came out to tangle with Roy.

4. New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox (MLB – 2003)

These two teams are fierce rivals and it showed in the 2003 American League Championship Series. The hostility began to build during Game 3 when then-Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez beaned a New York batter, exchanging words after. When Boston took its turn at bat, Roger Clemens threw a ball that nearly struck Manny Ramirez. That was the spark both teams needed as the benches cleared and a brawl ensued. The most memorable sight from this brawl centered on Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer, who was 72 years old at the time. He came out during the fight and charged at Pedro Martinez, who grabbed his head and threw the elderly man to the ground.

Sports History

Sports History

3. Miami vs. Florida International (College football – 2006)

There was no love loss in this match-up of teams who share the same geographical region. An extremely chippy game grew out of control in the third quarter when the Hurricanes were attempting an extra point kick to go up 14-0. The Panthers initiated the fight by roughing up the holder. Now NFLer Calais Campbell tried to break up the altercation, but was punched in the back of the head. Both teams came swarming off the benches to not only fight with their fists, but some even swung their helmets around as weapons. Once the dust cleared 31 players were suspended for a game.

2. Georgetown vs. Bayi Military Rockets (College basketball – 2011)

What was supposed to be a friendly exhibition game turned out to be anything but. The Georgetown Hoyas visited China for a game against the Bayi Military Rockets. With 9:32 left in the contest and the game knotted, the game exploded into a bench-clearing brawl. The melee even included some chair-throwing in addition to the oodles of punches and kicks that were thrown. The lively crowd even got involved by hurling water bottles on to the floor.

1. Detroit Pistons vs. Indiana Pacers (NBA – 2004)

What could quite possibly be considered the most disturbing brawl in sports history has garnered the name “Malice at the Palace”. The scene played out at the Palace of Auburn Hills during a game between Detroit and Indiana. With a minute left in the game, the players got into it, however, the brawl would spill over into the stands when a fan threw a drink on Indiana’s Ron Artest (Now named Metta World Peace). Artest and Co. charged into the stands to throw punches at fans. The chaotic scene snared both players and fans. Artest was suspended for 86 games and Stephen Jackson for 30 games. Five players were criminally charged for assault in the incident while five fans faced similar charges.

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