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Iconic referee Mills Lane dies at 85

Mills Lane officiated the “Bite Fight” among over 250 bouts

Mills Lane

The Reno Gazette Journal reports that Mills Lane, one of boxing’s most legendary third men, died earlier this morning at the age of 85. Per son Tommy, Lane “was comfortable and he was surrounded by his family” in hospice care.

He had previously suffered a stroke in 2022.

Lane, who went 10-1 (6 KO) as a boxer himself, was best known for officiating the infamous 1997 “Bite Fight” between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. That was far from his only major-league assignment, though; his other 260 in-ring appearances included Muhammad Ali vs Bob Foster, Michael Spinks vs Larry Holmes, Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs John Mugabi, Pernell Whitaker vs Azumah Nelson, and many other iconic tussles.

While he was notorious for late stoppages during his stint on Celebrity Deathmatch, Lane was both an integral part of the sport for decades and a decorated legal professional outside the ring. It was a life worth celebrating, and the way his family tells it, it ended about as peacefully and pleasantly as one could ask for. He did, indeed, get it on.

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