Where did the missing piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear go when Mike Tyson munched it in 1997?
The words of producer Dan Arruda perfectly describe Sunday’s ESPN SportsCenter “SC Featured” segment. The feature takes a quirky Hollywood “whodunit” approach.
Holyfield’s mystery comes complete with animation to try and answer the question of what happened to the piece of his anatomy in their infamous heavyweight championship fight in Las Vegas on June 28, 1997.
Where is Evander Holyfield’s ear?
“Tyson/Holyfield 25 Y(ears) Later” will debut at 8 a.m. ET hour of SportsCenter on Sunday, June 26, and re-air in other editions afterward.
A fascinating tale of rumors and urban legends comes down to the four people who actually know what happened to the piece of the ear. This includes Holyfield himself, who reveals for what is believed to be the first time what he knows about where it went.
To tell the story, ESPN joined forces with Ben Baskin. He’s a podcaster who had done an investigation of his own but had come up short in finding the answer.
“Ben’s podcast was released last summer,” said Arruda. “I remember listening to it.
“I was intrigued, and I thought it was funny. And then, a few months later, I saw that the 25th anniversary of the fight was coming up. I harkened back to the podcast and thought maybe we can do something with that.”
Baskin already had relationships with many of the people interviewed, so he helped with outreach, which Arruda said made the process much easier.
But for his podcast, Baskin had not been able to talk with the victim of the bite – Holyfield. Arruda had an idea.
“An ESPN producer had done a story about Evander’s son while he was playing at Georgia, so he had the contact information for the family and passed it on to me,” he said.
“I sent Evander a text, and his son reached out back to me. They liked the idea. It wasn’t as difficult to get him as I’d expected.”
Arruda said he and Baskin were “shocked” that Holyfield was willing to discuss what he knew about the missing piece of his ear.
Even with all of the interviews, the special effects of animation, and the treatment, the project has come together very fast.
“I’ll tell you the truth – it’s been three weeks,” Arruda said. “We had some ideas about six weeks ago, but then we just said, why don’t we reach out to Ben?
“That call with Ben didn’t happen until June 3,” he said. “Once he agreed, e put the wheels in motion.
“It’s been nonstop work ever since.”