We Scored the Flip-offs in That Viral Middle Finger Fight Video

The video may be staged but the birds are real.

Dec 4 2018, 10:35pm

Twitter screenshot.

Sometimes there comes a sporting event that defines a moment.

You know the ones: Ali vs. Frazier; the 1972 Summit Series; Argentina vs. West Germany in the 1988 World Cup Finals; Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal; Super Bowl XXV. The list goes on, but we can now assuredly add a new one to the list of epic showdowns—this viral video of two men epically flipping each other off.

In it, two men face down on an urban street and channel the rage of 1,000 suns into the tip of their middle finger, which they then throw up at their foe. The 24-second video was posted by a Twitter user with the handle @apiecebyguy, with the caption “the most intense fight I’ve ever seen.” Now, this is a verified user whose only description is “director” and, from the looks of his profile, tends to post stuff that seems awfully thirsty about going viral.

So, with this particular user in mind here is a quick caveat for all of those little shit-birds out there already getting a hard-on to email me when it comes out this is staged. Look, I know there is like a 97.6 percent chance someone at Buzzfeed or Motherboard comes out with a story about how we all got played and it’s actually is a promotion for the latest Nirvanna The Band The Show ripoff but, you know what, I don’t care. It’s been a bad year and I need this—I need this like an alcoholic needs his hooch, like a masochist needs the Oakland Raiders. This, like wrestling, has transcended reality for me and if it’s fake, well, whatever.

Update: this has ben confirmed as fake by the Daily Beast but, to paraphrase a much maligned early internet hero, “it’s real to me dammit.”

So with that out of the way, here is a ranking of the best-flipped birds in this short video.

Methodology: I’ll be breaking down each flip off showdown into its own round and using a boxing/MMA scoring method based out of 10. The winner will get 10 points and the loser 9 points. If the winner just completely dominates that round then the loser will receive only 8 points and may God have mercy on their soul. At the end, we will tally up the score and we shall have a winner.

OK, got it? Good. Let’s do this. So I’ve broken down the flip offs in the video in eight separate rounds. Let us start chronologically, shall we?

Round One:

Recap: “April is the cruellest month,” so starts T.S, Eliot’s The Waste Land, and as with the seminal work of the renowned poet, the start to the middle finger fight begins with ferocity and beauty. Our man in the yellowish coat (we shall call him Paddington) starts the sweet back and forth by getting a surprise hit in—sending up one of those close-to-the-body flip offs. He shoots it off with so much intensity he starts shaking. But, ho there, our man in black (we shall call him Johnny Cash) responds strongly with a half extension bird, one where he leans into closer and closer into Paddington as the man in yellow walks away.

Judging: This is a hard one to judge, whereas Johnny Cash definitely wins the style section, Paddington kicked off the whole thing with his surprise attack. It’s hard not to give it to the person who began this epic the win.

Score: 10/9 Paddington

Round 2:

Recap: Here, seconds after the fight starts, Johnny Cash starts rearing forward and taking no prisoners. He’s mad and he doesn’t care who knows it. He starts with a quick uppercut bird as Paddington walks away. Paddington, knowing he’s on the ropes, spins into a desperate flip off behind his back—one of those where you only throw it when you know you’re not getting hit.

Johnny Cash roars back though—he knows this is his round to take. He responds to Paddington’s half-assedness by doubling-down on his flip off and thrusting it right in Paddington’s stupid fucking face.

Judging: This one isn’t even close.

Score: 10/9—Johnny Cash.

Round 3:

Recap: Johnny Cash continues on his winning ways as he chases Paddington into the street. Paddington stops in the middle of the street (stopping traffic with his jaywalking), and throws a desperation bird. But, ALAS, when he looks (the camera follows his gaze) he finds Johnny Cash has read his move and beaten him on the flip off draw. You can tell that Paddington knows he’s fucked by the exasperation on his face.

Johnny Cash knows this is his to win and pulls out his coup de grâce—a forward thrusting middle finger that should be in the history books. It rocks Paddington and he drops first, turning his head in defeat.

Judging: Johnny Cash absolutely demolishes Paddington here. It’s not even close.

Score: 10/8-—Johnny Cash.

Round 4:


That’s right folks, this isn’t over yet, our man in the yellow coat, having now fully crossed the street, gets his bearings back and tosses up a stiff flip off to Johnny Cash. Now, Johnny Cash is no amateur flip-offer here, and responds quickly by stepping out into the road and putting his full power into the bird but Paddington responds in full as the two turn to walk.

Judging: Who doesn’t love a comeback story. We gotta go with Paddington on this one, folks.

Score: 10/9—Paddington.

Round 5:

Recap: Think of iconic duels or shootouts throughout history: Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr; the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral; the final scene in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Now I want you to add Paddington vs. Johnny Cash to the list. I mean just look at these two icons marching down the street across from each other, tossing up middle fingers with abandon. They care not for innocent bystanders here—hell, I think, they could accidentally flip off a baby if it meant getting their insulting gesture to their opponent.

Our view of Paddington gets blocked for a sec as the van he stepped in front of earlier passes by him, but that matters none to Johnny Cash who flips off his unseen foe and Paddington responds in kind. This is going to be hard to judge, folks.

Judging: This is it, the final round, this is where the winners win and the losers lose. I won’t lie, this is a big responsibility to take on—to decide such an epic contest—but I believe it’s one I can handle. Look, I’ll say it bluntly—this comes down to pure style points. We need to look at how Johnny Cash plants his feet for his final flip off, and how Paddington walks away with it above his shoulder. Cash is standing his ground, saying ‘come get me big boy, I can handle your fingers’ whereas Paddington (who does get some style points for his over the shoulder flip off) is showcasing cowardness by walking away.

Score: 10/9—Johnny Cash


Ultimate winner:

30/28—Johnny Cash!!!

It was a close back-and-forth scrap folks, but overall, even after a small comeback by Paddington, Johnny Cash scraped out a win. It was a hell of an encounter though. One that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. We have to consider ourselves lucky—we got to see these two great competitors put it all on the line for this epic showdown, the likes we might not see for years.

In the end, the real winners here are us.

Sign up for the VICE Canada Newsletter to get the best of VICE Canada delivered to your inbox.

Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter .