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When athletes bite back: The six most famous biting incidents in sport

He was handed a two-month suspension for the incident involving Keven Mealamu.

British and Irish Lions lock Danny Grewcock was forced to fly home from the 2005 tour of New Zealand after biting the finger of Kiwi hooker Keven Mealamu during a 21-3 Test defeat in Christchurch.

Grewcock claimed Mealamu had intentionally hooked his finger into his mouth but the suggestion was dismissed after an eight-hour hearing, the outcome of which was a two-month suspension.

Here, the PA news agency looks at other incidents where sportspeople have bared their teeth.

1997 – Evander Holyfield v Mike Tyson

BOXING Tyson bites Holyfield
Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield's left ear in the third round of their WBA Heavyweight match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 1997 (Sky Sports/PA)

Mike Tyson went to extremes to avenge a shock loss to Evander Holyfield when the pair met for a rematch in Las Vegas. After a dominant opening two rounds from Holyfield, Tyson tried to emerge from his corner without his mouthpiece at the start of the third. Despite being sent back to insert the shield by referee Mills Lane, Tyson still managed to bite off a one-inch piece of cartilage from Holyfield's right ear before spitting the skin onto the ring floor. Lane initially decided to disqualify Tyson but the ringside doctor declared Holyfield fit to continue and the fight did so, with the referee deducting two points. In another clinch, Tyson then bit the left ear of his opponent, something that was not discovered until the round ended and the injury was noticed by Holyfield's corner. This time Lane ended the bout immediately by disqualifying Tyson, who was later handed a permanent suspension from boxing and had his licence cancelled indefinitely. He was also fined 3million US dollars and had to serve a period of community service, but did have his licence reinstated a year later after appeal.

2019 – David Price v Kash Ali

The referee intervenes as David Price (left) is bitten on the torso by Kash Ali during their heavyweight bout
The referee intervenes as David Price (left) is bitten on the torso by Kash Ali during their heavyweight bout (Peter Byrne/PA)

A heavyweight clash between Liverpudlian David Price and Birmingham's Kash Ali ended in disqualification for the latter after he bit his opponent on the lower chest and left visible marks. Price, who was ahead on the scorecards in round five, was forced to the floor by his former sparring partner, who then proceeded to bite him on the torso. Referee Mark Lyson ended the fight immediately, handing a technical victory to Price and disqualifying Ali, who was given a six-month ban and fined £10,000 for the transgression. When a rematch was suggested in the immediate aftermath of the incident, Price responded by saying: "I don't want to share the ring again with an animal like that. He did a couple (of bites) early on and I thought he had lost his head completely."

2012 – James Graham and Billy Slater

James Graham, seen here representing England during the Rugby League World Cup Semi Final at the Mount Smart Stadium, New Zealand, in 2017
James Graham, seen here representing England during the Rugby League World Cup Semi Final at the Mount Smart Stadium, New Zealand, in 2017 (NRL Imagery/PA)

Canterbury Bulldogs prop James Graham was suspended for 12 matches after biting Melbourne's Billy Slater during the 2012 National Rugby League final. The England international latched onto Slater's ear with his teeth during a brawl, with the bleeding full-back then making an on-field complaint to officials. Graham was subsequently banned after a three-hour hearing and missed two England Test appearances due to the resulting sanction, despite maintaining his innocence throughout.

2010 – Luis Suarez and Otman Bakkal

Luis Suarez during his Ajax career
Luis Suarez during his Ajax career (David Davies/PA)

Luis Suarez's tendency to bite his opponents first came to light in 2010 when playing for Ajax in an Eredivisie fixture during which he bit PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal on the shoulder. Striker Suarez apologised for the incident in a video posted to Facebook and was subsequently handed a two-match ban and fined an undisclosed amount by his club, who then donated the money to charity. The Dutch Football Association also sanctioned the Uruguayan, increasing his suspension to seven matches.

2013 – Luis Suarez and Branislav Ivanovic

Suarez (right) and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic (left) on the ground after Suarez bit Ivanovic on the arm
Suarez (right) and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic (left) on the ground after Suarez bit Ivanovic on the arm (Peter Byrne/PA)

Suarez, now playing for Liverpool, bit the right arm of Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic during a 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield in 2013. The incident was missed by the referee and Suarez was allowed to play on, scoring an equaliser in the seventh minute of stoppage time. When Ivanovic reported the event, Suarez was again disciplined, with the FA charging him with violent conduct and issuing a 10-match ban. Suarez was offered anger management counselling by the Professional Footballers' Association and fined an undisclosed sum by Liverpool, which was donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group. Again he spoke of his regret over his behaviour, but the gesture was not well received by his victim as Ivanovic refused to accept the apology.

2014 – Luis Suarez and Giorgio Chiellini

Giorgio Chiellini in action for Italy
Giorgio Chiellini in action for Italy (Anthony Devlin/PA).

Suarez struck again at the 2014 World Cup, this time biting Giorgio Chiellini as Uruguay faced Italy in their final match of the group stage. Suarez lunged towards the defender and bit his shoulder before dropping to the ground clutching his own face. Suarez was not immediately penalised for the incident, despite Chiellini pointing out visible bite marks. Uruguay then went on to score from a corner to advance to the knockout stage, eliminating Italy in the process. FIFA banned Suarez for nine international matches, meaning he could play no part in the remainder of his nation's World Cup campaign and also ruling him out of the 2015 Copa America. As well as being fined 100,000 Swiss francs, a four-month ban prohibited the striker from taking part in any football-related activities. Suarez again apologised and this time found his victim more forgiving as Chiellini reached out via Twitter to accept.

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