Legendary Nevada Boxing Ref Mills Lane Passes Away
“Let’s Get It On!” That was the way Nevada Boxing Hall Of Fame member Mills Lane would start every match he officiated. The legendary referee passed away Tuesday at the age of 85.
While Mills was well known as a fair and just ref, he’s most certainly known as the referee preceding over one of the most controversial boxing matches in history: Tyson vs Holyfield II. With 40 seconds remaining in Round 3, Iron Mike Tyson, locked up with the Real Deal Evander Holyfield, opened his jaw and took a massive gnaw at Holyfield’s ear. Evander, jumping in a rage, motioned towards his ear. Mills Lane stopped the fight and was ready to disqualify Mike for the bite, until a doctor said Holyfield could continue. Mills allowed the match to continue. Turns out he was right in his first feeling, as only seconds later Mike took another bite.
In his interview after calling the match for Tyson’s egregious second bite, the world fell in love with the bald headed, fair arbiter with a unique Georgia drawl. From there, Mills became a star.
After the match in 1997, he became a TV Judge in the show Judge Mills Lane. He voiced the claymation likeness of himself on MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch. He even made an appearance on then WWF’s Monday Night Raw.
The University of Nevada, Reno grad continued his career as a boxing referee until a stroke took him out of the game in 2002.
His legacy lives on…
Mills’ legacy is still very much felt around the boxing world, and Nevada. In 2013 he was voted into both the International Boxing Hall Of Fame and Nevada Boxing Hall Of Fame. A courthouse in Reno is named after him: The Mills B. Lane Justice Center.
Take a look at some of the most bizarre fights Mills was in the ring for.