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Top-10 Karma Stories in the History of Sports

Sometimes justice is served
Publish Date: 11/04/2019
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Source: Rare Historical Pictures

Regardless of what sport you’re into, chances are that you’re on your feet cheering for your favorite team or athlete. In every game, you can be sure that there are moves or highlights you need to watch out for. For example, in basketball, a slam dunk is considered only 2 points. However, every dunk is a highlight that most fans love to see. 

In football, fans love seeing fancy footwork done by their favorite players. Neymar Jr., Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronald are fond of doing fancy footwork to lose opponents and go for exciting goals. Another thing that most fans want to see is a rivalry. Of course, fans always want their team or athlete to win. The desire and results of beating a rival often create legends.

Aside from the flashy moves, highlights, rivalries, and championships, another thing that fans love seeing is justice being served. In the real world, karma is often summed up in this phrase: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Although sports have their moments, there are times where dirty moves and bad intentions come into play. 

In the history of sports, people often go to the side of the underdog. They want these underdogs to get even with bullies. With that said, here are ten karma stories in sports that will make you want to say, “They deserved it!”

Argentina-England Rivalry – FIFA

The events that made this heated rivalry come into fruition first started in the 1966 World Cup. Argentina lost to England, 1-0 in their quarter-final matchup. The match had a lot of controversies that helped England eliminate Argentina. First, Argentina’s captain was surprisingly sent off after a minor warning. The goal that sealed the Argentine’s fate was from an offside call but was allowed nevertheless.

After a match, two countries often swapped kits as a sign of goodwill. England didn’t swap shirts with Argentina after the game, which was considered an insult. Things went far as managers of the team called South Americans as “Animals.” These events were fuel to the Argentines in the 1986 World Cup.

Even if it took 20 years, karma worked its magic. Argentina and England would meet in another quarter-final elimination. This time, Argentina defeated England from a controversial goal from superstar Diego Maradona. The goal was dubbed as the “Hand of God goal” after Maradona punched the ball into the net. The goal was allowed to stand, and Argentina eliminated England from contention. Argentina went on to win the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

Steve Sullivan and Fan – NHL

Karma often works in mysterious ways. In the NHL or the National Hockey League, Karma works fast, hard, and bloody. Canadian Left-Wing Steve Sullivan, who played for the Chicago Blackhawks, suffered a horrible hit to his face because of a hockey stick. Steve was slow to get up from the blow.

As the medical staff of his team helped him slowly get up, a fan in the stands began heckling him. Steve snapped back at the verbal abuse by the rowdy fan. After a quick work from the medical staff, Steve was back on the ice. 

Minutes into the game, the puck went outside the barrier and into the fan that abused Steve. There are lots of videos showing the fan had been hit and bloodied by the puck. The fan’s girlfriend also showed a thumbs up to Steve, which only affirms that karma does hit hard.

Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey – UFC 193

Known as the most dominating woman in combat sports, Ronda Rousey was at the peak of greatness when Holly Holm knocked her back down to earth. Ronda dominated her division, seemingly losing interest due to the lack of opponents. 

At their weigh-ins, Rousey and Holm got into a scuffle and proceeded to call Holm’s calm and respectful approach as a “Fake, sweet act.” Rousey was very carefree of Holm and even predicted that the only way Holm could win was with a head kick. Little did she know that karma was listening.

As the match was about to begin, referee Herb Dean called for both fighters to touch gloves as a sign of sportsmanship. Holm held out her gloves, and Rousey didn’t even bother to look. The first round of the fight clearly put Holm ahead due to her striking skills.

To make matters worse, Rousey and her coaching staff underestimated Holm’s style and made Rousey fight with an unusual gameplan. With almost a minute done in the second round, Holm hit Rousey with a punch that stumbled her. As Rousey went back up to recover, Holm landed a kick to Rousey’s face, knocking her out. 

Ronda Rousey wouldn’t recover from this defeat as she failed to get back her championship. She went on to suffer another devastating KO loss from the current champion, Amanda Nunes. After this knockout, Rousey left the UFC and went to the WWE.

Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito – The Battle 2

In their first meeting, Antonio Margarito won a convincing fight by a corner stoppage when Cotto’s trainers threw in the towel with 2:05 remaining in the eleventh round. Due to the unusual damage that Miguel Cotto took from the match, an investigation was made. The investigation found out that Antonio Margarito had done one of the most despicable acts in boxing.

The investigation proved that Margarito and his corner used a plaster-like substance in their hand wraps. The plaster made Margarito’s hands literally into stone. After their first fight, Margarito’s hands were swelling unusually due to the plaster. After being charged guilty, the California State Athletic Commission revoked Margarito’s boxing license for one year. After the ban, Cotto and Margarito would meet again, this time, karma favoring Miguel Cotto.

He won the boxing match via technical knockout. Margarito would then go on to suffer a devastating defeat in the hands of Manny Pacquiao, who was trained by Freddie Roach, who also trains Miguel Cotto.

Reggie Miller, Indiana Pacers – NBA

Reggie Miller is known as one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history. His rivalries with the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks are set in stone and made for the best basketball games at the time. However, karma doesn’t appreciate cockiness that much, as evidenced by the beating that Reggie took from Bulls.

The date was January 21, 1994. In their game against the Chicago Bulls, the Indiana Pacers seemingly won the game due to a miraculous shot by Reggie Miller. With 0.8 remaining on the clock, Reggie Miller celebrated too soon by bowing to the Chicago fans as if winning he won an award. 

Karma showed him and the Pacers that celebrating too early is just bad sportsmanship. With 0.8 remaining, Chicago Bulls Tony Kukoc threw an equally miraculous three-point shot within regulation, ending the game, 95-96, in favor of the bulls.

Other Karma Stories in Sports:

Manny Pacquaio vs. Erik Morales I, II, III

After winning the first fight, Erik “El Terrible” Morales was enjoying a big lead in the scorecards and was playing with Pacquiao in the last round. 

When asked why was he doing that, Erik said that he enjoyed adding flavor to the fight. In their next two meetings, Manny Pacquaio knocked out Erik Morales twice, ultimately leading Morales to retire.

Smalling vs. Messi – United Champions League 

In an interview, Chris Smalling of Manchester United was quoted as saying “Bring it on” in connection with their matchup against Barcelona. In their first meeting, Chris Smalling gave Lionel Messi a vicious tackle and a bloody eye and nose. 

The next game, after seemingly waking up a sleeping beast, Lionel Messi and Barcelona destroyed Manchester United, 2-0, with Messi scoring all of Barcelona’s goals. 

Terrell Owens vs. Dallas Cowboys – NFL

It’s customary to celebrate a touchdown in the NFL. What rubbed the fans and players of the Dallas Cowboys with Terrell Owens was the infamous pose he made. Terrell Owens disrespected the fans and the team by posing on the big star in the middle of the Dallas’ Cowboys stadium. George Teague, the Dallas Cowboys safety, made sure that Terrell Owens felt their disgust by tackling him on the middle star to the cheer of teammates and fans alike.

Shane Mosley vs. Ricardo Mayorga 

Mayorga was known for his antics and trash-talking. During their face-off with each other, Mayorga crossed the line and slapped the butt of Shane Mosley’s girlfriend. This prompted a scuffle with tensions being built towards their matchup. Mosley won the match and got revenge by landing a stiff shot to Mayorga’s body, knocking him on his knees. Mayorga was seen writhing in pain due to the punch.

Meghan Rutledge, Moto X racing – X Games

Instead of focusing, Meghan Rutledge learned the hard way that celebrating too early can cost you. She literally had nothing to do but to focus on her landing. Instead, she threw a cocky fist pump mid-air, making her crash on the landing. Vicki Golden capitalized on that mistake and eventually won the Gold in the 2013 Los Angeles X Games.

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