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No matter how much we like or hate admitting it, most men love to see a scuffle break out in sports. So, what is it we like about fights? Is it the surge of adrenaline we feel when it’s all about to kick off? It may come down to our primal instincts or primitive roots, but our thirst for fisticuffs can’t be easily quenched.

With Mayweather and Pacquiao about to square off in one of the most highly anticipated fights in boxing history, we’d like to recap the most brutal and best scraps, donnybrooks, brouhahas, fights, tiffs, bouts and melees in the last decade from across the sporting world.

First, to the world of hockey where players aren’t afraid of a dust-up:

Usually baseball fights are pretty lame, reminding one of ladies fighting for handbags, but these are the best of the best so let us know what you think.

And on to basketball where you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes would-be gangsters fight like school girls while other times it’s like a scene out of Gladiators.

Rugby, one of the most violent sports on the planet, rounds up our donnybrook recap. We didn’t add football to the fights’ round-up as, quite frankly, they are an embarrassment and can hardly be considered more than school-ground arguments.


And while improbable, dust ups do occur in the world of poker as Tony Dunst can attest. Years ago, while playing a tournament in Australia, Tony witnessed first-hand a fight break out when one player touched another’s chips. We will let Tony describe the scene for you but suffice to say that the moral of this story is to never, and we do mean never, touch another man’s chips.

A poker brawl tale with Tony Dunst

Early in my poker career I spent six months playing live, limit poker at Crown Casino in Melbourne.

It’s hard to find many live limit games these days and while poker was still fresh and exciting to me then, nothing could prevent the boredom, after a few hours, of limit poker seeping into the session. I welcomed all forms of distraction, but without a doubt the best interruptions always involved a fight of some sort.

Crown is a brilliant casino in a lovely city, yet fights were commonplace. Australians have a very casual approach to fighting, which they typically call ‘punch ons’ – as in “Steve and Mike got into a punch-on over some Sheila they met while pissed”.

I remember reading descriptions of fights in the newspaper, altercations that, in America, would have generated armies of lawyers lining up to file assault and battery claims. Not so in Australia as most melees were resolved with fists. On some occasions the police would show up shouting “break it up”, and issue a few tickets here and there. But that was the extent of it.

The most memorable fight I saw in Crown was as violent as it was short-lived. One of the players often forgot to put his blinds in the pot and would step away from the table and check out of hands. He was stalling again when the player in the small blind reached over, took his big blind from the stack and set it in the pot.

The player in the big blind leapt out of his seat and began pummelling the small blind with numerous direct blows to the face. The small blind collapsed out of his seat and casino staff rushed to the table to restrain the out-of-control player. Suffice to say, I had first-hand experience of an Aussie punch-on and it was a spectacle I won’t soon forget.

These days, with distractions like smart phones, it’s common to see players forget to put their blinds out. But before I reach for their chips, I have learned to always ask permission.

Have you ever seen a fight break out during a poker tournament or any other sporting event? Did we miss any epic fights from across the sporting world and which is your favourite? We want to hear your best fight stories from the world of sports.

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