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Brazilian welterweight Thiago Oliveira had a Mike Tyson moment in his last outing at Kazakh event Octagon 44. Paired up against Erkin Darmenov, ‘Siriguela’ seemed to be on his way to a submission win at the end of the first round, when he started biting on his opponent’s right ear in the middle of a rear-naked choke attempt.
Brazilian fighter went Mike Tyson on his opponent
Despite Darmenov desperate attempts to get the referee’s attention to what Oliveira was doing, his distraction helped Thiago secure the position and the fight was stopped due to the submission. After protests from Erkin and his team, the judges and referee watched replay footage of the fight and were able to clearly see the Brazilian biting his opponent’s ear, thus disqualifying Oliveira and awarding Darmenov a DQ victory.
The promotion’s official Instagram account posted footage of the fight and the replays that showed Oliveira biting Darmenov during the submission attempt.
Thiago Oliveira (17-10) has been around the block in MMA, having fought for multiple promotions in his 27 professional bouts, including an outing at Bellator 231, in October 2019, which he lost by unanimous decision to UFC veteran Jon Manley. The Brazilian’s latest win dates back to July 2022, when he defeated Antony Meza via submission.
Meanwhile, Erkin Darmenov (13-5) may not have gotten the kind of way he expected, but he still made it to a five-fight streak on the Eurasian circuit. The 26-year-old’s last loss took place in February 2019, when he got TKO’d by SiLe Hu.
The Mike Tyson incident
Legendary heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson became infamous for one his controversial performance when he bit both ears of his opponent Evander Holyfield in a rematch for the WBA belt. During the fight ‘Iron Mike’ bit his opponent in more than one occasion, firstly causing a brief interruption which led Tyson to lose points until he ultimately got disqualified when he kept doing it.
One of the bites was strong enough to take off a piece of Evander’s right ear, which was later found on the ring floor after the fight. The rematch between Tyson and Holyfield became one of the most controversial events in sports of all time and populary known as the ‘Bite Fight’ ever since.
In the aftermath, the Nevada Athletic Commission revoked Tyson’s boxing license and fined him three million dollars. In the following year of 1998, the heavyweight was able to recover his license after winning an appeal.
Biting has also happened in the UFC
Though Oliveira’s bout took place in Kazakhstan and Mike Tyson’s was in boxing, the biggest MMA promotion in the world has also seen its share of biting.
In an interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour, former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier admitted to biting Michael Chandler’s fingers when they fought back at UFC 281, in November 2022. To his defense, the ‘Diamond’ says he only did it to stop the former Bellator champion from fish hooking him.
“I bit the s*** out of his fingers,” Poirier, who submitted Chandler at UFC 281, said during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour. (h/t MMA Fighting). “But I had my mouthguard in, so only my bottom teeth could get him. He didn’t even try to pull it out when I bit. … In the moment, when I was biting down on his fingers, I kind of stopped biting like, ‘Oh s***, what am I doing?’ Reality hit me. I’m glad I bit him, but it was an instinct. …”
He continued: “Just be honest. It’s whatever. And I’m sure he didn’t plan on doing it, but in the heat of the moment, you’re fighting for your life, bro. Just like when I bit him. I didn’t plan on biting him. I was like, ‘Oh s***, I’m f****** really biting this guy!’ It’s war, it’s fighting. Things happen in there. But admit it.”
Most recently, lightweight Nurullo Aliev got deducted one point from his fight against Rafael Alves at UFC Vegas 70, for allegedly biting his opponent’s left hand during their match, though the 23-year-old denies doing it. Despite the deduction, he still won the bout via majority decision back in February of this year.
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