Arguably France’s greatest ever soccer player, Zidane led his country to the 2006 World Cup Final. He was in the twilight of his career but lit up the tournament and brought them to a showdown with Italy. However, Zidane made headlines in the final for a reason that nobody expected. After Marco Materazzi whispered something offensive in his ear, ‘Zizou’ immediately headbutted him.
Most players have the self-control not to have violent tantrums on the field but Zidane was too far gone. The referee issued him an immediate red card and sent him off the field. Materazzi got the last laugh as Italy went on and won the tournament. Zidane sealed his place in infamy with one of the most iconic images of the World Cup. To be fair, he was probably happy to land one on the Italian.
One of golf’s perennial underachievers, Garcia is a constant on the European and PGA Tours. He won the lucrative Player’s Championship in 2008 but waited until 2017 to win his first Major, the 2017 Open. In the meantime, he endured one near miss after another. Furthermore, Garcia had a fiery temper and made his feelings known on the golf course. The Spaniard raised eyebrows with one of the silliest tantrums ever in 2018.
After a poor shot at The Masters in San Antonio, the disgruntled golfer flung his driver into the bushes. The problem was that he then spent a few moments trying to find the club. Then, in 2019, during the Open in Portrush, Northern Ireland, he flung his club in the direction of his caddy. Many fans dislike Garcia because of his poor sportsmanship but he is talented.
Maybe it’s Mark Cuban’s influence, but Carlisle is also a fiery and passionate individual. He began coaching the Mavericks in 2008 and led them to an NBA Championship. But like the franchise owner, Carlisle is also prone to tantrums when things are not going his way. In 2012, he blew up when a referee made what he perceived to be a poor call. His reaction was both stunning and hilarious.
The referee ignored both Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd’s claims for a missed foul. As a result, Carlisle exploded on the bench because it annoyed him so much. He was probably just shy of having a stroke. His coaching staff and players held him back from confronting the referee but he still received a technical foul for his behavior. Sometimes emotions take over.
Some tantrums rub salt into the athlete’s wounds. In other cases, they even cause wounds. That’s exactly what happened to Burnett in 2010 when he played for the New York Yankees. He apologized to teammates after one explosive incident put him out of action. The right-hander was angry after a poor display against Tampa Bay and flung open a pair of double doors on the way into the clubhouse.
He did so in such an aggressive manner that he actually cut his own hands on the card scanner. He suffered lacerations to both hands and wore bandages to cover them. It didn’t put him out of action but it was an embarrassing story and initially, he told his coaches that he fell. However, the truth emerged and it didn’t shine a positive light upon him.
McGregor’s second inclusion on this list was for a much darker reason than the first. The Irishman was in a bar in Dublin when he decided to buy a round of his own whiskey brand for all of the patrons. However, one older gentleman rejected the free shot. When McGregor pressed the issue, the older man told him that he could ‘keep his whiskey.’ ‘The Notorious’ didn’t appreciate this.
His immediate reaction was to punch the man in the face. In fairness, the fifty-something-year-old took the blow very well. Needless to say, the Irishman faced charges and received a fine for his assault. But it also damaged his reputation because it was such a disgraceful action. As tantrums go, this one left a very nasty taste. Later, McGregor issued a groveling response on ESPN.
It was 2019 and Chelsea played Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final. The game was on the edge of a knife when Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri decided to make a substitution. He wanted to bring on the Argentine goalkeeper Willy Cabellero, to replace first-choice starter Kepa, because the former was a penalty shootout specialist. However, Kepa didn’t appreciate this.
The Spaniard refused to leave the field and left his manager apoplectic on the sidelines. The scene was unprecedented as the coach stormed down the tunnel toward the dressing room before reappearing. Meanwhile, Chelsea lost the eventual penalty shootout 4-3. Kepa received a lot of abuse after throwing one of the most infamous tantrums in Premier League history.
Khabib and Conor McGregor had one of the most toxic rivalries in UFC history. The pair finally fought in 2018 at UFC 229. The Russian lightweight champion successfully defended his title against “The Notorious” with a fourth-round submission. However, the fight didn’t end there. Infuriated and emotional over events that led up to the fight, Khabib jumped out of the cage and attacked McGregor’s team.
This ignited an entire brawl as members of Khabib’s team entered the cage and tried to attack McGregor. Chaos erupted within seconds after tantrums became an all-out war. In the end, the pair received fines and suspensions from the UFC. It was an infamous event that sealed its place in MMA folklore. Meanwhile, this rivalry continues to rumble.
This infamous clash of Jims occurred in 1994 when Everett went on the Jim Rome show. The Rams quarterback was a sensitive soul and Rome discovered this the hard way. However, it was the ESPN host’s fault because he took a joke too far. He continuously referred to Everett as ‘Chris.’ This was a reference to Chris Evert, a popular female tennis player of the time.
Eventually, Everett snapped and erupted in one of TV’s most entertaining tantrums. He flipped the table over and knocked Rome to the ground. While Rome definitely deserved a good slap, it was probably good for his show in hindsight because there is nothing like a quarterback assault to up the ratings. To sum up, Everett was in the right and everybody applauded him.
“You cannot be serious!” instantly became the line that defined McEnroe’s life. He even used the quote as the title of his biography after he retired. The catchphrase materialized during Wimbledon in 1981. The British tournament is notorious for its strict rules and code of conduct, while McEnroe was a fiery personality. In short, they weren’t a match made in heaven.
He played Tom Gullickson in a game where the umpire ruled that his serve was out. The US tennis star instantly erupted with one of tennis’s most famous tantrums and began with that immortal line. He continued lambasting the official for several moments and outraged the Wimbledon organizers in the process. They even broke with tradition by refusing to make him a member of the All-England Club.
The second of Williams’ tantrums on this list, this one is even worse than the previous. It occurred at the U.S Open in 2009 and was notoriously bad. After umpire Shino Tsuruchi called her for a foot fault on her second serve, Williams reacted with poisonous vitriol. “I’m going to shove this f***ing ball down your f***ing throat,” she said. Needless to say, that’s not acceptable behavior.
Two years later in the final of the U.S Open, she had another meltdown. This time she targeted Eva Asderaki after a code violation. “Really, don’t even look at me,” she said. “If you ever see me walking down the hall, walk the other way. Because you’re out of control. Totally out of control. You’re a hater, you’re unattractive inside. Who would do such a thing?” Now Williams has a reputation.