UFC commentator Joe Rogan recently had four-time heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield on his Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show podcast and the two turned back the hands of time.
While Rogan and Holyfield discussed a wide variety of topics throughout the episode, which is just over 1 hour long, what many listeners will remember is a conversation about the time Mike Tyson bit a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear off during their second fight.
In a rematch fight after Holyfield shocked the boxing world with his 11th-round TKO victory in their first fight, Tyson infamously bit off a chunk of Holyfield’s right ear and spit it out on the canvas. During his conversation with Rogan, Holyfield discussed the biting incident in detail, and why he chose to forgive Tyson immediately after the fight was called off.
When asked if he would ever get his injured ear fixed, Holyfield told Rogan that he doesn’t plan to, because it’s part of his identification. When asked about his initial reaction to the bite, Holyfield was quick to respond and say he thought of retaliation.
“Biting him back, I’m serious. I was getting ready to bite the daylights out of him. I was going to bite him in the face, I wasn’t going to wait for the ear, I was going to get the fat stuff. You know, when you’re from the ghetto they say if you do something, you got to do it worse than what they did. So I told Mike, I told him on a talk show, I was pretending like I was hurting really bad, but I was going to trip you up and bite right in your face. Everybody knows what I was going to do.”
Evander Holyfield is religious, and he said something that happened before the fight stopped him from retaliating against Tyson.
“This prophet told me before the fight that ‘he [Tyson] going to do something in your face area but you got to stay focused, cause if you don’t stay focused, that’s the only way he’s going to get you.’ My corner person told me to keep my mind on the Lord. I thought he was going to hit me with an elbow or a headbutt, but I never ever thought in my life, he would bite me on the ear. And it hurt so bad. When people ask me how bad it hurt, I say ‘did you see how high I jumped in the air?’
My corner guy kept telling me to keep my mind on the Lord, and I didn’t want to hear that. I was just trying to remember to get him, I wanted to bite him. I really wanted to bite him back. But all of a sudden, it hit my mind, they always catch the second person.”
While the fight was stopped initially, Holyfield said he wanted to continue to at least get some revenge back and hit Tyson.
“I at least wanted to hit him, I was really upset. He bit me twice. He thought I was going to be scared, then I hit him with two shots and he bit me again, and I jumped back and I was getting ready to kick him in the balls and then the bell rung. Then I got mad because they stopped the fight.”
Despite the chaotic scene between the two fighters, Holyfield says he was able to forgive Tyson, and that’s something he’s well-known for all over the world.
“Everywhere I go around the world, people say ‘Wow, this guy can forgive. How can you forgive when you already beat the guy?’ It’s what life has to be, if you’re going to survive cause if you don’t forgive nobody, you’re going to be a mad person and you’re going to find yourself locked up.”
While many people were up in arms over Tyson’s actions, including Holyfield’s team, the former four-time heavyweight champion said he forgave “Iron Mike” as soon as he got back to the locker room.
“I said look, did he bite you? He bit me right? Look, I’m going to forgive him, so you guys have to forgive him too.”
Holyfield told Rogan that forgiving Tyson made his own life better throughout the situation, and showing Tyson forgiveness has made the friendship between both fighters a strong one, and they have been cordial with each other ever since.
Back in 2016, Mike Tyson made an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show and with Holyfield sitting next to him, Tyson made a public apology and shook Holyfield’s hand.
To hear the complete conversation between Joe Rogan and Evander Holyfield, watch the video below.