July 14, 1997 12:00 PM

WHEN [DENNIS] RODMAN LOOKS FREAKED BY AN EVENT,” SAID comedian Richard Lewis, “then you know you are watching something pretty bizarre.” Indeed, the June 28 Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield heavyweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas left ringside celebs of all wattages—including Rodman, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Madonna—stupefied. “I’ve seen people snap like that and resort to street stuff,” said Courtney Love of Tyson’s two third-round chomps on Holyfield’s ears. Teri Hatcher told CNN, “He must have lost his mind.”

But the bites were only the beginning of the bedlam. As a disqualified Tyson charged Holyfield’s corner, a melee broke out in the stands. (At least 40 people were taken to the hospital.) Some stars fled for their limos. Others regrouped to a party area to resume a Showtime-sponsored fete. “What the hell happened?” Roseanne was heard to wonder.

The next day, Holyfield had 15 stitches—and joked that his nickname had changed from the Real Deal to the Real Meal. Tyson later apologized and said, “I just snapped.” (He was temporarily suspended by Nevada boxing authorities; a disciplinary hearing was set to begin as early as July 8.) “If it were just a great fight, everyone would have forgotten it,” said Donald Trump. “No one is going to forget this.”

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