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Throwing the Fight

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Marsellus: In the fifth, your ass goes down. Say it.
Butch: In the fifth, my ass goes down.

Taking a dive. Fixing the match. Intentionally losing a sporting event, usually for monetary gain. You coulda been a contender, but instead, your ass goes down in the fifth. A nice fun intersection between the world of professional sports and the world of organized crime.

People who take a dive may be doing so entirely for the paycheck, but they also may be getting their arms twisted by The Mafia with threats of physical harm, either to themselves or to a loved one. In that case, it's not uncommon to see the athlete back out of the deal, thus making them some powerful enemies (and sometimes not escaping them). In Real Life, those who get caught doing this can suffer some serious repercussions, most notably during the Black Sox scandal of 1919.

However, this is one trope that is Defied more often than it's played straight. Our hero decides that he's not going to be anyone's Unwitting Pawn anymore, that the Only in It for the Money / Money, Dear Boy is no longer worth the loss of dignity. This of course costs a lot of dangerous people a lot of money, which they're not likely to be very happy about.

See also Fixing the Game and Deliberate Under-Performance. Many of these ploys qualify as a Failure Gambit, though rarely sympathetically. Sometimes when Sparing the Final Mook, a hero may tell the mook to do this as part of the act.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Some matches have been thrown during the events of the Bakuten Shoot Beyblade trilogy. The first is done by Rei in his match against Takao during the Japanese Tournament. Rei participated expecting no actual challenge and, indeed, he breezed through the tournament up until the second round against Takao. Takao beat him there. And needing nothing more than knowing there's still challenges for him out there, Rei walked away from the third round. The second thrown match was done by Steve, who had orders to stretch his battle against Takao during the American Finals so the PPB could gather data on him. Steve lost that match — it wasn't necessarily supposed to happen, but it did as a consequence of him holding back and the PPB were fine with it because they wrongly expected they'd win the rest. And the third thrown match was Kai's doing when he went up against Daichi during the tag team round-robin in the third season. He shot Dranzer out of the stadium, giving the BBA Revolution one point by default. The reason? He had been expecting to go up against Takao, but the latter was put on the bench.
  • Toya flat-out refuses to take a dive during a four-way Go match in Hikaru no Go, even though he's up against a rich Assemblyman who absolutely hates to lose and will likely cut funding if he does. But he goes further than that: Toya ties all four games, just to hammer home the gap between them. As one might expect, he gets his ass chewed out by his superiors when they find out.
  • During the Chunnin Exams in Naruto, Gaara was threatened by Tsuba and Midori of Kusagakure to take a dive in his fight with Sasuke. He refused. And killed them.
  • Malcolm Gedo from Hajime no Ippo makes it a habit to throw fights, but not without asking his opponents for a substantial fee, which the opponents understandably see as an insult.
  • The first City Hunter story features a boxer by the name of Inagaki who intimidates his opponents into throwing fights against him, with the ultimate aim of becoming champion. He murdered Shunichi Ogino, his only obstacle to the title match, after his girlfriend Megumi Iwasaki nursed him back to health following a hit-and-run that Inagaki was also behind. He then threatened to murder the daughter of the champion Mita if he didn't throw the fight, but is stopped by Ryo Saeba, who was hired to take out Inagaki by Megumi, and who ultimately kills him with a solid gold bullet fired into his ear canal at the exact moment that Mita's final punch connected.
  • An involuntary variant is part of Ken's backstory in Knight Hunters — he was a J-League goalie and was drugged without his knowledge to fix a game, then blamed for throwing it. His efforts at finding out who was responsible ultimately lead him to join Weiss.
  • In a storyline in the Tenchi Muyo! manga series, the assistant for a popular restaurant owner and chef requests Sasami that she throw her match against the man's son, telling her that the man's been pressuring him to win three "Ferrous Chef" matches (think Iron Chef) and that this would be his third and the kid could finally be free. However, Sasami ends up refusing, saying that she wouldn't feel right if she didn't give her all. Others attempt to stop her in the process, but she ends up coming out on top. However, the boy's impressed with Sasami's cheerfulness over cooking and is determined to try again, impressing his father.
  • This is one of the few ways Kyoko from March Comes in Like a Lion attempts to tarnish Rei's professional shogi career: telling him sob stories of his opponents in order to manipulate him into losing on purpose.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    • In a Season 1 episode, Kaiser Ryo chooses not to activate his facedown card to save himself from a direct attack by Camula, since Camula arranged things so that if Ryo won, his little brother would lose his soul.
    • In a Season 1 episode, the ancient pharaoh Abidos the Third had a reputation for being undefeated in duels, so the bad guys resurrect him and send him against the heroes. Judai gets the upper hand, and it is revealed that the reason why Abidos was undefeated was that everyone who faced him before lost on purpose because they were scared he would punish them if he lost. Abidos was mortified to learn this; he sincerely believed his victories had been a result of his own skill.
    • In the first episode of Season 2, Edo Phoenix purposely loses to Judai after being told to by Saiou, using a makeshift deck made of forty cards from eight booster packs. Much later, after Edo has won once and lost once against Judai using his actual deck, Judai tells him the first time doesn't count, seeing as Edo let him win, which means they're even now. (Naturally, he's offering a "tiebreaker" later, but they never get around to it.)
    • In a Season 2 episode, Kenzan and Sho have a duel to determine which of them is a more worthy friend to Judai. At the end, Kenzan is about to lose but can end the game in a draw if he uses his facedown card. He chooses not to play it after seeing Sho's devotion to Judai.
    • Later in Season 2, Misawa loses to Manjyome on purpose, neglecting to use the Magic Cylinder Trap Card he set to win, as he feels the only way he can ever be important is by joining the Society Of Light.
    • Still later in Season 2, when Manjyome breaks free of Saiou's brainwashing during his duel with Judai, he uses a card that gives Judai control of his White Knight Lord and then destroys it, even though he loses the duel via its effect; his reason for this is simply to destroy the symbol of what was controlling him, the Knight.
    • Moving on to season 4, in episode 165, a sleazy TV producer named Mike tells Manjoume to throw his duel against Judai, as he believes good ratings are more important than an honorable duel. When Judai finds out, he calls Manjoume out on throwing away his pride and Manjoume realizes how low he's sunk.
    • In episode 166, Mike orders Edo Phoenix to throw his duel against Manjoume, threatening to close down an orphanage if he doesn't. Fortunately, Judai exposes Mike's treachery and gets him arrested, allowing the two to finish the duel fairly.
    • In the manga version of GX, Reggie MacKenzie neglects to activate her set Mirror Force card (or use her Swords of Revealing Light or even defend with her Seraphim Blaster) during her duel with Misawa during the tournament, which would have prevented his direct attack with Red Ogre which caused her to lose. (While it seems out-of-character for someone like Reggie to be nice to him, her reason is she simply thinks the tournament is a waste of time, so she bails on it.)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds:
    • Rudger duels Yusei with their lives on the line. When Rudger realizes he may actually be in danger of losing, he flees but forces Yusei's friend Rally to take his place, with the same stakes. Not wanting to hurt Yusei, Rally loses on purpose.
    • Rex Godwin throws the duel against his Dark Signer brother Rudger, despite having been able to win with three very powerful Trap Cards (Solemn Judgment, Divine Wrath, and Mirror Force) that he doesn't set. His reasons are that he wanted to be converted into the Dark Signers (the penalty for losing) to gain power and the ability to break the vicious cycle the conflict had caused. (In his mind, anyway.)
    • In their first duel, Dark Glass intentionally protects his monster by allowing Yusei to attack him directly instead, losing as a result. He likely did it because he knew the villains were watching and did not want them to see all his cards and strategies.
    • Minor example, Crow threw a duel with Leo (as in, his landlady's son, not Rua) to help the rather depressed guy regain confidence.
    • Crow tried to throw his second duel with Jeagar, because he was feeling sorry for the guy, whose wife and son were watching. Unfortunately, Jeagar was also trying to throw the duel (he needed to lose to get his family into protective custody without simply surrendering like a coward) and lost first.
    • Andore was shown repeatedly throwing duels in a flashback because he didn't want to hurt his opponents' feelings. Jean invites him to join his team after observing his true skills, finally giving him the motivation to win.
    • In a later episode, it was revealed that Dragan lost his previous duel with Jack to get money for his injured father. He isn't happy about it, and when he finds out, neither is Jack.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Tsukikage chooses not to play his last card that could have blocked Shinji's final attack after Renji ordered him to lose on purpose for his plan.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Android 18 makes it to the final round of the World Martial Arts Tournament, clearly out-classing the "champion" Mr. Satan. Rather than beating him up and taking the title (which would draw unwanted attention and ruin his reputation if done in such a public venue), she decides to take a dive in exchange for double this tournament's prize money and a cut of all future prize money he ever earns.
  • In Dragon Ball Super, in the Champa arc, Goku eventually forfeits his match with Hit because he didn't think it was fair that the tournament's rules prevented Hit from fighting at his full potential. To repay his debt, Hit pretends that his next opponent, the uber-weak Monaka, was able to defeat him with a single punch.
  • In Gundam Build Fighters Try, two of Shimon's teammates confront Team Try Fighters, begging them to throw the fight so that Shimon can win the tournament for his sickly-but-recovering brother Mamoru. This shakes the team's resolve, but ultimately Sekai doesn't budge and he and Shimon go into a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to see who would go on.
  • In the Tournament Arc of Brave10 S, the second opponent from Nobuyuki's side is his wife Komatsu. While she is talented with the naginata, Yukimura's all too aware it wouldn't be seemly for Ana, a Ninja, to defeat his sister-in-law publicly, so Yukimura has Ana throw the fight.
  • In Megalo Box, the protagonist Junk Dog is caught in such a setup at the start of the story, forced to take a dive at the very last minute. That's despite the fact he's skilled enough to knock out his foes in the first round.
  • YuYu Hakusho: During the "Rescue Yukina" arc, the Toguro Brothers become Tarukane's bodyguards. When Yusuke, Kuwabara, and Botan attempt to rescue Yukina, Tarukane and his friends in the Black Black Club gamble on which side would win. It turns out the Toguro Brothers were secretly working for Sakyo, who bet on Yusuke's team, so after putting up a good fight, they pretend to lose, causing Tarukane to lose his fortune and his sanity. The Toguro Brothers then kill him.
  • In My Hero Academia, Tenya Iida and Mei Hatsume find themselves in a one-on-one fight during the Sports Festival. However, Mei ends up giving him special support gear to help give it his all, which Iida accepts graciously. What he doesn't realize is that the entire thing is just a ten-minute advertisement to get companies biting towards her gear. Once she's certain they've bitten and want more, she promptly throws the match. Iida is vastly upset at this.
  • In GTO: The Early Years, Eikichi is worried Minamino will actually kill or permanently maim Ryuji, so he digs up some dirt (namely, that Minamino is a lolicon) and blackmails him into losing to Ryuji.

    Comic Books 
  • In Amazing Spider-Man #253, Ray Nesters is the star quarterback of an NFL team who is secretly taking payoffs to throw some games. He foolishly believes that this will end when he loses the final regular season game only to be informed that mob boss the Rose wants him to throw the playoffs as well. When he naturally refuses, the Rose has Ray's younger brother Tony kidnapped. When Ray goes on a rescue, Tony is heartbroken to realize the Rose has been telling the truth on his brother's actions. While Spider-Man is able to rescue them both, Ray knows the only way to get out from under the Rose's thumb is to confess the truth and accept his ruined career.
  • Superman
    • Two Golden Age stories centered around this trope, though the players weren't the ones cheating. In one, a boxer was drugged by his manager so that he would lose the fight, and in the other, a college football coach was trying to rig the game in favor of the other team.
    • In a Bronze Age story Supergirl investigates the case of a football player who has been beaten up and threatened by a group of gamblers to throw several games. Fearing for his and his girlfriend's safety, he agrees to it.
  • Before Booster Gold was a superhero, he was a college football player who was disgraced after he was caught betting on the other team and then losing on purpose.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Honey the Cat agrees to throw the fight so that Sonic can win the Chaos Emerald they need to save the world. However, they both agree to give the audience a show and go at it.
  • In Marvel Versus DC, Wolverine defeated Lobo in a fight off-panel. Given at the time Wolverine didn't have his adamantium skeleton and only had bone claws, and Lobo has Superman-level strength and an insane Healing Factor, this seemed highly unlikely. Later, Lobo commented that some bald guy (likely Professor Xavier) bribed him into throwing the fight.
  • In Diabolik, former boxer Big Bolt once told the protagonist he was asked by the mob to throw a match so there would be more people willing to bet against him. Knowing it wouldn't impact his career and chances to win the world championship, Big Bolt accepted... But right as he let himself get knocked down to pretend he had lost he changed his mind, rose up, and dropped his opponent. It was his last fight, as ten mobsters were sent after him and the last one managed to wreck his leg before being punched out.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Josh Slicker tries to pay Rita to lose a race, and when she refuses he pays most of the other drivers to run into her causing a collision that would have killed multiple audience members had Wonder Woman not intervened.

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon's Dance: Downplayed; the exhibition match between Jiro and the Joto champion Akane is close-fought and ultimately ends in a draw. Afterwards, Jiro tells Lance that if she'd really wanted to, Akane could've won but that it's an unspoken rule that exhibition matches between Kanto and Joto have to end in draws.
  • The God of Destruction comes to Remnant: Mosura joins a fighting tournament in Mistral in the hopes of attracting Gojira's attention. When she gets to the final round against Pyrrha Nikos, she finally realizes Gojira is not in the audience and concludes that her participation was a waste of time. After exchanging a few blows with Pyrrha, she dejectedly walks off the stage on purpose to lose via Ring Out, much to everybody's shock.
  • In Pokémon Apokélypse, Ash is threatened into having Pikachu throw a fight.
  • Downplayed in The Rigel Black Chronicles. Harry makes a deal with Fleur Delacour, offering valuable information about an upcoming Task in exchange for a promise that if the outcome is a toss-up between them, Fleur will let her win, but otherwise Fleur doesn't have to hold back. Fleur makes good on it when they're both trapped by vines within sight of the Cup, casting a spell to cut Harry loose.
  • In Turnabout Storm Ace Swift, a star flyer, forced many of his competitors to do this by blackmailing them in some form or another with the help of his assistant Sonata. However, when he tried to use it on Rainbow Dash, she just spit in his face and told him where to stick his offer.
  • In Ultra Fast Pony, fixing boxing matches is just another illegal activity that the Apple family has their hooves all over. In "Mob Wars", Big Mac's opponent in the upcoming prize fight is scheduled to get knocked out in the fourth round, and no sooner.
  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Deadeye Duncan is the worst gladiator to grace the Taris circuit. Revan's Story offers a different explanation: as the first person any new gladiator would fight, his real job is to gauge their potential. If they pass his test, he starts their winning streak by taking the fall. If not, their career ends as the weakling who couldn't beat Deadeye Duncan.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Daredevil: See comic book entry, above. Fallon also brings this up in a Did You Actually Believe...? speech, in which he says Matt's father only won the previous fights because his opponents threw them, and now, it's his turn.
  • Eight Men Out: Based on the real-life 1919 Black Sox
  • Snake Eyes: Footage shows that one guy faked a knockout. He was being blackmailed by a conspiracy so he could form a distraction while they assassinated the U.S. Secretary of Defense who was in the crowd at the time.
  • On the Waterfront: He coulda been a contender! Instead of a bum! You shoulda been lookin' out for him, Charlie!
  • The Harder They Fall (1956): The whole movie is based around this. Humphrey Bogart is a hype-man for a boxer who can't box, and he convinces people to take the mob money and not fight.
  • Pulp Fiction: Butch (Bruce Willis) is supposed to take a dive. He agrees to go down in the fifth round (as shown in the page quote), but then turns around and bets on himself, and winds up killing the other boxer during the fight. What follows is the weirdest fucking day of his life. It's even worse for Marcellus.
  • Snatch., Mickey is told to take the dive but refuses. Everyone thinks this is just him being deliberately contrary, but it turns out to be a thoroughly-planned revenge plot which includes placing a huge bet on himself.
  • The Longest Yard is a good example — the warden says he'll pin Caretaker's murder on Crewe if he doesn't give the game to the guards. Crewe goes along with it at first, but it doesn't take long for him to change his mind. This is also part of Crewe's backstory, where he threw a football game by "shaving points" since "he was in a bad way with some worse people."
  • A very sympathetic example appears in The Hammer. Jerry and Robert end up facing each other in the final matchup at the national Olympic tryouts, with the younger, faster Robert far ahead on points but, as a point of pride and honor, refusing to simply keep evading Jerry and run out the clock. This backfires pretty badly when Jerry manages to land several good, hard blows and sets him up for the knockout, but Jerry suddenly has a change of heart and decides that the younger man deserves the chance to compete at the Olympics more than he does. He pulls back his punch within an inch of his opponent's face and hugs him until the bell, letting Robert take the win on points.
  • Many of the races are fixed in Speed Racer. When Speed tells the Corrupt Corporate Executive who's trying to get him to throw a race about the race that inspired him to become a race car driver, the exec informs him that the victory was staged, and the race was really about one of the competitors who didn't even finish, allowing the company that made his car to run a pump-and-dump scam.
  • An interesting example in Sgt. Bilko, Master Sgt. Bilko in an attempt to fix a boxing match convinces one of the boxers to take a dive. Unfortunately, the errand boy gave the money to the wrong boxer, resulting in this boxer deciding to take a dive as well. Care to guess what happens?
  • In Carman the Champion the champ is supposed to take a dive, but he refuses and just fights Carman straight up.
  • Hulk Hogan's character in Mr. Nanny has been blackballed from Professional Wrestling for refusing to throw a match. Yes, he refused to throw a pro wrestling match. Just roll with it.
  • Jamal Wallace in Finding Forrester misses a pair of free throws at the end of a game on purpose because he's tired of the way he's being treated by the administrators of his school.
  • In City Lights, a gangster makes a deal to throw a boxing match to Charlie Chaplin's character and split the prize money. Unfortunately, he skips town at the last minute, and Chaplin has to fight the replacement for real.
  • In Hot Shots!, a guy at a boxing match comments that both fighters are working for the same manager. One of them goes down after a single punch - which rather obviously didn't connect.
  • The movie Kickboxer ends with Kurt's brother Eric being kidnapped by Freddy Li's men in order to blackmail Kurt into throwing the fight with Tong Po. To save his brother's life, Kurt is instructed to go the distance with Po before losing the match. Kurt takes a hell of a beating, but when his friends get together and rescue Eric, he gains the second wind necessary to finally take Po down.
  • A plot point in the sequel The Sting II. Hooker, the con man who is not a boxer gets into the ring with a professional, but as he plans to take a dive, it doesn't matter much. Until his partner figures the mark double-crossed them, and Hooker has to win the bout! He does, to his own surprise, but learns later that his partner had paid off the professional to take the dive.
  • One or two Three Stooges shorts have run on this idea. The boys would be managing an eager boxer and even have wagered in favour of him ... only for The Mob to 'suggest' that their fighter lose.
  • In The Color of Money, after Eddie beats Vincent in the 9-Ball Classic semifinals, he learns that Vincent threw the match because he had numerous bets riding on him to win.
  • In The Replacements (2000), Nigel "The Leg" Gruff has racked up significant debts and is told if he doesn't shank the game-tying field goal against Dallas, some mobsters will take his pub. Falco prevents Gruff from making the kick by pulling the ball away. Nigel's leg is broken as a result, but he thanks Falco for saving his life.
  • The premise of The Set Up (1949). The washed-up boxer played by Robert Ryan is supposed to take a dive, but he's so ill-favored that they don't even bother telling him till halfway through the fight.
  • In The Milky Way everyone gets the mistaken impression that wimpy milkman Burleigh Sullivan knocked out boxing champion Speed McFarland on a public sidewalk (It Makes Sense in Context). In fact, Burleigh didn't punch Speed and has no boxing talent, but Speed's weaselly manager Gabby Sloan comes up with the idea to make Burleigh into a fake contender by arranging a series of bouts with palookas who will take dives. Then Burleigh will fight Speed, who will get an easy victory. (Unsurprisingly, the plan goes wrong.)
  • A key point of the 1994 film Blue Chips is college basketball coach Pete Bell ignoring stories of how boosters have been bribing his players. One booster mocks Bell on being so naive and boasts he "bought" one of his players three years earlier. Bell doesn't believe it as the student, Tony, is one of his favorites. He gets out a videotape of the game, watching it with some fellow coaches. They also don't believe it, citing things like Tony being ill that week and such. But as they watch the game, they see Tony missing plays he should easily be making and constantly checking the scoreboard and realize he did indeed shave points to help gamblers beat the spread.
  • The plot of Safe is kicked off when Luke wins a boxing match he was supposed to throw. In a very rare twist on this trope, he had every intention of throwing it. He only hit his much weaker opponent once to make it look good and promptly knocked him out.
  • Save Your Legs!: Mark deliberately throws the cricket match against the toymakers after being promised a position in the Indian league if he does so.
  • In Diggstown, two brothers are paid by the protagonists to throw their fights with "Honey Roy" Palmer. Unfortunately, the younger brother is too obvious about it, even after Roy tells him to sell it. The Big Bad threatens the other brother and tells him that, if he loses, then his brother will be killed. Unaware, Roy initially assumes that the second brother is really good at selling the dive, but is then forced to knock him down. Tragically, the younger brother is found having seemingly hanged himself. No one is under any illusions that it was a suicide, but the sheriff is deep in the Big Bad's pocket. Before the bet, the Big Bad demonstrates the power he has in the town by ordering one of the sparring fighters to take a dive by standing up, straightening his tie, and turning his fist thumb down. At the end, the protagonist does the exact same gesture to get the Big Bad's surprise fighter (a prisoner he paid in advance) to take an obvious dive.
  • Split Decisions is about two brothers from a working-class family with a passion for boxing. The older one is forced by a bunch of gangsters to take a dive in his next fight against their new champion, then gets murdered when he refuses. This is what gets his younger brother to face the new champion himself in the ring.
  • Akeelah and the Bee shows this in the third act. Akeelah catches her opponent, Dylan, being berated by his father to not lose due to the fact that he came in second twice in the National Spelling Bee and she resolves to throw the fight so he can finally get his win. However, Dylan catches on when the word she misspelled purposely is the same one she messed up on earlier and purposely misspells his word. He berates her for pulling such a stunt that they just resolve to do their best to see who comes out on top... which ends up being both of them.
  • Downplayed in The Gambler. One lets Axel off the hook in exchange for bribing Spencer to shave enough points in a game so that his team doesn’t beat the spread. It barely works, as the coach takes him out of the game when he starts missing.

  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): When caught up in divided loyalties, with her father on one side and the Colony on the other, Morrelia deliberately berserks forward into the ant lines and gets captured, so that the Colony will have leverage to make her father back down (since she loves her father but doesn't think the Colony deserves to die).
  • A Dearth of Choice: Those who accept a magical binding to stop them from harming the dungeon core will find that the fights are tailored to their level of strength; crowds of zombies and skeletons will hold back and allow novices to fight only what they can handle, bosses will keep their full abilities hidden. Those who refuse the binding will discover what the dungeon can really do. Tam and his team are able to reach the core while bound, but when they return with the intent to restrain it, they're slaughtered by the first floor boss.
  • Discussed at length in Freakonomics: A sumo wrestling tournament is 15 bouts, and a wrestler must win 8 of 15 to avoid demotion in the national rankings. Wrestlers fighting in their final match while having 7 wins (thus needing the last win to avoid demotion) win 80% of the time when fighting opponents who have already got 8, suggesting that the latter athlete (who won't gain anything from going from 8 to 9 victories) is simply throwing the fight to allow the other wrestler to avoid demotion.
  • Interestingly the possible Ur-Example is an inversion: in Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest the boxer is perfectly willing to take the dive until the Continental Op blackmails him into winning with some unsavory facts from his past.
  • Robert B. Parker's Spenser: Playmates revolves around point-shaving in college basketball.
  • OGPU Prison by Sven Hassel. The ex-con soldiers of the 27 Penal Panzer Regiment arrange for a Germany vs. Russia boxing match. The early fights are rigged so Germany will win, while the main event is rigged for the German to lose so they'll make a killing when everyone bets against the Russian in a patriotic fervor. Unfortunately the two boxers start mauling each other so hard that they lose their temper and forget the arrangement (fortunately the Russian wins anyway).
  • Tree of Aeons: Aiva joins three other gods in formally declaring war, but secretly sends a messenger to pass on the news that he thinks the war is foolish and won't send anyone powerful, just enough to keep up a charade for the other gods' sake.
    Spy: This is a fake war. An act.
  • In the Warrior Cats novel The Last Hope, the invincible warrior Lionblaze tries to Screw Destiny by losing a fight. It doesn't really work out.
  • In 1636: The Devil's Opera, Hans Metzger is ordered to throw a fight for a $50,000 purse by his employer. He refuses on principle (and the fact that he could really use the money to support his crippled sister). After beating his opponent in a brutal match he nearly lost legitimately, his employer sent thugs after him to reclaim the prize money. They succeed in killing Hans, but not until after he'd killed or maimed all of his attackers.
  • In the P. G. Wodehouse Ukridge story "The Return of Battling Billson" offers a rather complicated example; the titular boxer is recruited to throw a match and agrees to do so without telling his (sort of) manager Ukridge, and then when the pivotal moment comes, Billson's opponent accidentally steps on his ingrown toenail, causing him to forget himself and win the fight.
  • In the second Black Blade novel, Lila is asked to throw the final round of the Tournament of Blades by her opponent's mother on the grounds that Deah will suffer if she ever loses, and Lila will only be able to kill Deah's father with Deah's help. She does so when she realizes that what she was told is true, and the gesture is not appreciated by the eventual champion.
  • In the climax of the second book of The Witchlands the pirate queen Safi duels throws the fight in exchange for a future favour from Safi.
  • In Sard Harker, Harker's first encounter with the villains is at a boxing match which they've fixed.
  • Tales of Dunk and Egg.
    • In "The Mystery Knight", a hedge knight deliberately loses an easy tourney victory against a lord who's still hungover. He trained the lord when he was a boy, and plans to flatter his skill so he can enter his service again. Instead the lord doesn't even remember him and refuses to employ such an apparently inept knight.
    • In the same novel Ser Uthor Underleaf suggests that he does this all the time. He's an incredible jouster but never wins any tourneys because he bets on himself (with long odds) until he decides to lose (and then he bets on the other guy). If he actually won, he'd become more famous, and he'd never get those long odds again. This trope backfires on him as well when he finds himself up against a genuinely dangerous opponent in his last joust. Unaware that Ser Uthor was planning to lose, some other contestants decided to take him out of the running.
  • Welcome To Wonderland: P.T. asks Dill to intentionally lose his Frolf game against Geoffrey in "Beach Battle Blowout", since he's the son of one of the judges, and Geoffrey winning and having fun might increase the Wonderland's chances of winning the first round of judging. Dill gladly complies, stating that he's still a winner if he's still having fun.
  • Implied to be the case with Doughnut Jimmy in Discworld, who used to be a jockey who "made a lot of money not winning races".

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Brady Bunch: In Season 5's "Try, Try Again," done by her siblings when Jan is allowed to win at Monopoly, darts, ping pong, and basketball — all to boost her confidence after a series of disappointments (e.g., being dismissed from dance class for continued poor performance).
  • Done elegantly in Hogan's Heroes. Kinchloe has to throw the fight against Battlin' Bruno so the Germans can save face against the (true) accusation that a black American prisoner can outperform the Luftwaffe champion boxer. However, he also needs to make the fight last long enough for his comrade to sneak into Klink's office while everyone is watching the match and stay upright when Bruno has metal hidden in his gloves. Kinchloe does eventually throw the fight after knocking Bruno mostly unconscious. It's clear to everyone who the real winner is.
  • Kamen Rider Build: In his backstory, Banjo's prize fighter career ended because he threw a fight to get money to pay for treatment for his girlfriend.
  • The client in the Leverage season two episode "The Tap Out Job" is the father of an MMA fighter who was instructed to throw a fight by the gym manager, but refused and had his fighting career ended permanently. Later in the episode, the con is blown and Eliot agrees to be the one to take a dive to keep the mark from retaliating against the client. (Thanks to some Xanatos Speed Chess, the team manages to turn the situation back to their favor in the end.)
  • The Due South episode "The Blue Line" revolved around the question of whether one of the protagonist's childhood friends, now a famous hockey player, had taken money to throw a match.
  • The original CSI has had several of these.
  • In the Quantum Leap episode "The Right Hand of God," Sam leaps into a crooked boxer who is under pressure to throw a match if he loves his kneecaps, but must win instead to earn money for a group of nuns.
    • In "All-Americans," Sam leaps into a high school football player who must stop his best friend from throwing the big game and losing both teens their chances at college scholarships.
  • In one episode of Police Squad!, the crook of the week blackmails a boxer into throwing a title bout. Drebin rescues the hostage before the round in which the boxer is to lose, inspiring him to win the fight.
  • One episode of Touched by an Angel features a star NBA player throwing a game for betting money. Already known as a showboat, he figures he can take a lot of ridiculous shots during the game and it won't seem too out of character - but thanks to the angels, all of his improbable shots go through the hoop anyway and he has one of the best games of all-time.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: In the episode "The Wild World of Batwoman", while watching the short film "Cheating", there's a very brief quip where Tom Servo accuses Johnny of shaving points during football games. (This fits with the overall theme of Mike's and the bots' quipping that cheating is Serious Business, and therefore Johnny must be Pure Evil because he cheated.)
  • Subverted in S3E10 of In the Heat of the Night, "King's Ransom". Ex-boxer Conrad "King" Baylor told some friends a story: Mobsters approached him the night of a fight, and gave him $2,000 to throw his match. He took the money, then bet it on himself, intending to go out there and screw over the mobsters. Unfortunately, his opposition was a little better than he thought, and he wound up losing. The mobsters met him post-fight, and gave him another $3,000 "for making the knockout so real".
  • Jessie: Zuri Ross does this in "All the Knight Moves" when she feels bad for her opponent during the chess tournament and decides to let him beat her so he can use the trip to Paris to make amends with his family.
  • Actually a common strategy in reality game shows. In order to play dumb, they throw challenges so they look like poor competitors so the other players don't target them as a threat.
    • On rare occasions, a team may agree to tank a challenge for some reason - for instance, they may want to eliminate one of their own. For instance, in Survivor: Redemption Island, the Zapetera tribe included known troublemaker Russell Hantz. Knowing he would screw with them For the Evulz, they decided to throw an immunity challenge and eject him before that could happen. Zapetera didn't fare that well afterward - the opposing Ometepe tribe Curb-Stomped them, but it's hard to say whether the potential competition Russell would've given them would be worth the sabotage he'd inflict on his own tribe.
  • Toyed with in Copper. Local rich boy Robert Morehouse sponsors a boxing match between 'Irish' Jake McGinnis and black man Jasper Longfield. If 'Irish' Jake loses, best-case scenario only Jasper will be lynched; worst-case scenario there will be a massive riot that causes hundreds of deaths. Morehouse was assured that Jasper would follow the trope, but Jasper was in NO mood to take a dive. Lucky for all involved, Morehouse had a plan B. He has the ref lay Jasper out when it looks like 'Irish' Jake may not answer the bell. None of the white people in attendance bat an eye at the extremely obvious cheating: they all had money riding on Jake. The black people watching outside are all pissed, but, Civil War era New York City being Civil War era New York City, no one cares what they think.
  • Subverted in an episode of Magic City. A big boxing match is coming up and the main characters get a tip that a mobster is betting against the current champion. They realize that the fight is fixed and bet big against that boxer. They realize too late that the tip was false and the match is fair. The mobster had his mooks spread the rumor around town so the odds shifted against the champion and the mobster bet his money on the champion. When the champion demolished the challenger the mobster won a fortune and everyone who acted on the tip was cleaned out.
  • One episode of Magnum, P.I. had a professional competition surfer (who was also of Magnum's ex-girlfriends) paid to "take a dive. Literally".
  • On Parks and Recreation Leslie ends up throwing a Disaster Preparedness Drill. Leslie's nemesis has arranged for the drill to occur on the same day as an important fundraiser Leslie is organizing. He then sabotages her efforts so the drill will drag on for the rest of the day. Desperate, Leslie sabotages her own plans and the drill ends early with the majority of the (simulated) population of the town dead from an outbreak of bird flu.
  • The Monk episode "Mr. Monk Takes a Punch" has Monk investigating an attempted assassination on professional boxer Ray Regis. During one questioning with Regis and Regis's trainer Louie Flynn; Monk, Stottlemeyer, and Disher learn that Louie's daughter died of surgical complications a few years ago. But at the same time, Monk also discovers that Louie has an unconscious habit of tucking his crucifix in whenever he's lying. Monk eventually figures out that Regis and Louie had bet against themselves to raise money for these experimental surgeries, and believes one possible motive could be that someone figured out that Regis threw the fight and wanted to get payback.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "TKO", boxer Walker Smith has a defied version of this in his backstory — he refused to take a dive in his upcoming bout against the champion, so the people in charge tampered with his drug test results, ruining his boxing career.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Will does this against a high school rival in a basketball tournament as he has a son and needs the attention of an NBA scout more than Will does. Said rival calls Will out on it after the game and they decide to settle it for real in a private one-on-one match. Though the audience doesn't see the outcome.
  • The Mission: Impossible two-part episode "The Contender" had Barney impersonate an up-and-coming pro boxer who had just returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam in order to take down a crooked promoter who routinely had his people throw fights.
  • The Mr. T detective series T And T had an episode with a young boxer accused of throwing a fight. Turned out his mouth guard was laced with drugs.
  • On Step by Step, Frank arm wrestles with his high school rival at their reunion. However, he's just learned from the man's date that the life he's presented to the class—beautiful wife, successful business—is a complete lie and that in fact, things are quite the opposite. Despite how much the Jerkass is taunting him, Frank throws the match, giving the man at least one thing in his life to feel good about. Wife Carol knows the truth.
  • General Hospital: Local mobster Sonny tries to bully Jagger into throwing an upcoming boxing match by threatening to harm Jagger's ex, Karen (who he knows Jagger is still in love with). Jagger initially takes the fall but realizes that doing so will let Sonny control his life. He jumps up, wins the fight, then punches out Sonny as well and runs off with Karen.
  • Daredevil (2015): As in the source material, Matt Murdock's father "Battlin' Jack" agrees to take a dive in a fight against Carl "The Crusher" Creel, but changes his mind at the last moment and gets gunned down in an alleyway for it. The scene is a direct reference to the Pulp Fiction scene (as the mobsters who solicit the offer tell him to agree to go down in the fifth, and repeat that instruction). Unlike in the comic book (and like in Pulp Fiction), Jack bets on himself to win by knockout—and arranges for the money to be held safely for young Matt since he doesn't expect to survive this double-cross.
  • MacGyver (1985): In "Split Decision", Earl Dent agrees to throw his comeback so he can get enough money to regain custody of his daughter. When he changes his mind (at Mac's urging), the bookies kidnap his daughter to force him to go through with the fix.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: The Victim of the Week in "The Knockdown" was supposed to throw a prize fight in the 31st round. He decided to change the script (having placed a large bet on himself) and won in the 30th. He was murdered later that evening.
  • Family Ties: Alex is thrilled at the chance to play chess against a Soviet chess prodigy until he learns that his rival plans to throw the game so he can be allowed to return to Russia and live a quiet life away from the glare of the spotlight. Not wanting to see his opponent disgrace himself, Alex ends up trying to play a worse game than his opponent. Hilarity Ensues.
    Jennifer: I never thought I'd say this at a chess match, Alex, but nice tackle.
  • Porridge has an inter-wing boxing competition in the prison. Fletcher tries to convince Gobber to take a dive in the fifth round for Harry Grout. Problem is he's already agreed to throw the match in the fourth for a rival gangster. So they have to get the other guy to take a dive. In the end, only Fletcher bets on a tie and wins when both fighters fall down simultaneously.
  • One episode of Taxi has boxer Tony being pressured to do this in a fight, but it turns out his opponent is also trying to lose, flopping after Tony barely taps him with his glove.
  • Mentioned on an episode of Cold Case as they investigate the murder of a high school player who had just won the state championship and was gunned down hours later. They watch video of him in the game, checking the scoreboard and when the team wins, everyone is celebrating but he looks crestfallen. The team speculates that he may have agreed to throw the game but at the last minute, couldn't do it and it got him killed.
  • Death in Paradise: In "The Perfect Murder", the Victim of the Week is killed when she attempts to expose a scheme to fix the outcome of a series of beach volleyball matches.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Last Man Out", a match-fixing ring is influencing the outcome of games in a semi-professional cricket tournament. The match fixers are initially suspected when two cricket captains are murdered, but the match fixing is a Red Herring and has nothing to do with the killings.
  • Van Helsing (2016): In a flashback, Julius was a boxer who reluctantly took a dive for some gangsters who bet on his opponent, all to raise money for his ailing mother. Unfortunately, when he demanded his payment, the gangsters stabbed him in the stomach and left him to die instead. The vampire Dimitri, who found the endurance he displayed in the match impressive, then showed up and saved him by turning him into a vampire.
  • 500 Questions: Implied with Ken Jennings who was a contestant to begin Season 2 (almost certainly to draw in ratings). Jennings lasted only four questions, and it's been suspected that he took a dive due to Richard Mason, who won at the end of Season 1, not being invited back.
  • A Touch of Frost. A soccer player is offered money to lose the game, which he refuses. However he then misses a crucial goal shot, so he figures he might as well take the money anyway by pretending I Meant to Do That. This turns out to be a mistake as he finds himself under pressure to throw more games.
  • On Legacies, the Salvatore School has an annual flag football game with a school from Mystic Falls. Given the Salvatore student body is comprised of vampires, witches, and werewolves, they can easily wipe the floor with the humans. However, the headmasters order the kids to always lose so outsiders won't find anything suspicious about a bunch of inhumanly gifted athletic kids. Naturally, the Salvatore students hate having to hold back their true abilities and lose.
    • The second season has the team delighted when the new headmaster tells them to go ahead and do whatever it takes to win.
  • In the Future Cop episode "Fighting O'Haven," Haven is undercover as a boxer when he is told to "take a dive" in the third round. Being a Literal-Minded android, he instead does a backflip, landing on his back.
    Referee: What was that all about?
    Haven: That was my dive, sir. Wasn't it satisfactory?
  • On an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show Rob is the boxing champion of a small unit of the Army when he is scheduled to fight a man who later (in-show) became the world middleweight champion. Laura, worried about him being injured, tells him to fall down as soon he is hit:
    Rob, shocked: You want me to take a dive?
    Laura, upset: Oh, I don't know the technical term.
  • On Power Rangers Ninja Steel, the Rangers are surprised monster Brax goes down after a single blow, begging for mercy. When he returns later, still wimpy, the Rangers are almost pitying which point, Brax wipes the floor with them and too late the team realize Brax was faking his earlier weakness to lull them into an ambush.

  • Charlie Robison's "John O'Reilly" is about a boxer who's paid to throw a fight, bets the money on himself to win, and uses the proceeds from that to escape New York before the inevitable retribution finds him.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Don't tell anyone I told you this, but the finishes to professional wrestling matches (and some high spots) are predetermined. Wrestling to lose in this context is called "jobbing." Most wrestlers are professional enough, the exceptions being things like the Montreal Screwjob and a few matches in the old days that degenerated into full-on "shoots."
  • In the context of Kayfabe and the trope, the most famous example is the "Finger Poke of Doom" match, which aired January 4, 1999, on World Championship Wrestling's Monday Nitro. Long story short, Hulk Hogan poked Kevin Nash in the chest, Nash immediately "collapsed" to the mat and Hogan quickly covered him to win the title, after which Hogan and Nash, along with several other wrestlers, embraced in the ring, mocked the crowd and celebrated the formation of a new faction of supervillains. That match, along with several other tactical decisions during this specific broadcast (e.g., play-by-play announcer Tony Schiavone announcing that Mick Foley would win the WWF World Championship on the pre-taped rival Monday Night Raw, a poorly conceived "rape" angle involving Goldberg and Miss Elizabeth) would sow WCW's destruction.
  • In another infamous WCW example, at Bash at the Beach 2000 Jeff Jarrett laid down for Hulk Hogan to be pinned for the world championship. This was not the planned ending and Hogan was visibly upset & left the building with the championship belt. Meanwhile, Vince Russo (who had orchestrated the events) nullified the match, fired Hogan on air, and Jarrett & Booker T had the "real" championship bout.
  • In 1997, then-Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter tried to create tension in his arch-nemesis duo D-Generation X, by ordering Shawn Michaels to defend his European title against Triple H. Throughout the night, they became more and more antagonistic to each other, only to reveal that they'd been pulling one over on Slaughter the whole time. When the match started, Triple H pushed down Shawn and (eventually) gave him a big, clearly non-connecting splash and got the pin. Afterwards, Triple H gave an over-the-top emotional speech, and Shawn in turn was inconsolable for all of a minute or so.note 
  • Kayfabe-wise, The Undertaker was suspected to have done this with Kane during the tag-team champions match with Austin. For weeks leading up to the match, it was hinted Kane & Taker had joined forces. Vince & Austin each asked Taker about it but he only told them to go to Hell. The match ends with Kane chokeslamming Taker, which didn't look very forceful, and Taker sitting back up just after Kane gets the pinfall. Lawler says he knew Taker would screw Austin out of the title, meanwhile Austin stares at Taker in a state of disbelief. Ross argued that Taker didn't screw Austin but got chokeslammed & Lawler fires back that Taker is not hurt.
  • Speaking of Austin, in May 1996 he faced off against Savio Vega in a "Caribbean strap match" (which is like a regular strap matchnote , only one of the participants is from Puerto Rico) where if he lost his manager, Ted Dibiase, would have to leave the WWF. Austin would put in a very half-assed effort (in the sense that it was part of the story, not that he was being unprofessional), lost, and stated in a promo the next night that he threw the match to get rid of Di Biasenote , who Austin thought was holding him back.

  • Milton Jones is paid to throw a boxing match on the "Jockey" episode of Another Case; unfortunately he has put his lucky anvil in his boxing gloves and wins with one punch.

  • In the musical Chess, Russian grandmaster Anatoly Sergievsky hurts the USSR in a chess International Showdown by Proxy by defecting, and so spends the second act being pressured to make up for it by throwing the World Chess Championship and returning to Moscow. In the original London version of the plot, he chooses to win anyway in an act of defiance, while in the Broadway rewrite, he chooses the opposite.

    Video Games 
  • In BlazBlue, to get all the different endings for the characters in Story mode, you actually have to purposely throw important fights to trigger the different cutscenes and alternate endings. Winning every fight in a particular story usually only unlocks about 50% of the story possibilities for that character!
  • In its spiritual predecessor, Guilty Gear, a number of characters (Jam most notably) had to throw fights to get different routes in Story mode. This made getting Dizzy's third ending in XX an absolute chore since she had to defeat Boss I-No on one try (if she lost, she got a different ending).
  • In Cyberpunk 2077, The Boxing Episode concludes with a match against a pro boxer that gives you a bigger payout if you lose.
  • This is pretty much half the point of PSP game The Con. If the odds are heavily stacked that your opponent is going to lose the next round against you, it may actually be more profitable to bet against yourself and let the guy kick your ass. The catch is that you actually have to look like you're trying to fight by doing minimal damage, or they get start to get wise to your... well, con.
  • In Breath of Fire III's Inevitable Tournament, one of your opponents (a magician who's about to face you in an arena where magic is sealed) tries to guilt trip your team into throwing the fight, so he can claim the prize money and get a cure for his deathly sick daughter. Sadly, since one of the player character's allies is being held hostage, your team is unable to oblige. Turns out it's a sham; his daughter wasn't really sick at all, of course.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, Luis is told to take a dive in an underground fight club in order to pay off a debt his mother owes. If you take this option, your mother berates you for being a loser even though you did it to protect her and the only reason she's in debt is that she borrows from a local thug and won't accept your money.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, Setzer bribes Roxas to throw the 'underdog vs. champion' match in Twilight Town's Struggle competition. Winning caused Setzer to hand over the Champion's Belt effect ; throwing the match (there is no way in hell you can lose unintentionally) earns Roxas a Medal effect  as 'thanks'. The fact that Roxas earns the plot-important Struggle Trophy following either cutscene implies that the match is purely for bragging rights, and Setzer wants to keep the title.
    • A strange case in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. You battle Larxene on Floor 6 after she antagonizes you over Namine, and while it's clear she's playing down to you on purpose, she's still trying to win just barely. After you beat her, Axel calls her out on it and she tries to defend herself by saying that she was trying to do this.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours. Talk to the bouncer at the club. You'll learn he's working off a debt. He didn't refuse to throw a fight, he just forgot which fight he was supposed to throw. Perils of taking blows to the head...
  • In L.A. Noire, one of the cases is a boxer who (like the Pulp Fiction example) bets on himself and refuses to throw a fight.
  • In the Wii version of Punch-Out!!, one of the exhibition challenges requires you to lose a fight to Glass Joe. The catch is, Joe's win has to be by decision, not KO or TKO, and you have to have knocked him down at least three times before the end of the match to make it look like you are actually trying to beat him for the crowd. That means you have to let Joe send you to the mat at least three times as well, and he has to have either one more KD or slightly more health than you do by the final bell.
  • Ridge Racer 4 requires you to finish certain races in second or third to unlock certain cars. This can also make the game easier.
  • In many scenarios in the PokéStar Studios movies in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, getting the good ending or the Gainax Ending requires losing on purpose, which isn't easy, especially with the rental Pokémon you have to use before you can use one of yours.
  • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, the Galar League had a scandal of this nature in the past. The death of Mustard's first Pokemon hit him hard and he fell into a funk accentuated by loss after loss. The Chairman of the day offered to give him a rigged match to get him back in the spirit, but given what kind of man Mustard is, the thought offended him so severely that he retired on the spot.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials & Tribulations, Furio Tigre frames Maggey Byrde for a murder he committed, then disguises himself as Phoenix Wright and "defends" her in court, losing on purpose to get her found guilty.
  • In Gundam Breaker 3's backstory, there was a match between the character Will and his Hyaku Shiki J and the Gunpla Battle Champion (who now goes by "Mr. Gunpla"). Will won the match fair and square, but the Champ's sponsors hated that he lost like that, so to save face they claimed he let him win. Will was so angry at this supposed betrayal that he temporarily quit Gunpla Battle.
  • Killer Instinct (2013): T.J. Combo approaches Ultratech for assistance in getting back into the spotlight in the boxing circuit. They agree, but after he makes the big time again, they call in their marker - they set up a match between him and their new Fulgore robot, and then order him to lose. Combo instead defeats the robot, at which point Ultratech exposes his deal with them, destroying his career.
  • One of the assassination targets in Saints Row: The Third has you (The Boss) put a permanent dive to a Luchador at the behest of your client for outright defying this trope.
  • The backstory for Max in Streets of Rage reveals that he was kicked out of the Wrestling Association for not taking a dive when he was told to purposely lose.

    Web Original 
  • In There Will Be Brawl, mob boss Dedede casually tells Little Mac that he's going down in the third round.
  • Mario Party TV:
    • Sometimes seen when one player is dominating and a co-op minigame comes up: rather than win and strengthen his lead, his partner may choose to deliberately blow the game.
    • An accusation often thrown at Mr. Doom, claiming he does so so the others won't be so salty at him. Mr. Doom claims it's just bad luck. (The worst part is, since he's Born Lucky, he usually ends up doing well anyway, which just makes the others saltier, as he wasn't even trying.)
    • The one time he admitted to sandbagging was their playthrough of Pyramid Park: he wanted to see if he could finish the board with zero stars (for context, on that board everyone starts with five stars and the objective is to steal each others' stars). He succeeds, but still ends up getting a bonus star for using the most orbs.
  • Achievement Hunter:
    • In the Let's Play Minecraft series, Gavin Free's shown to be a damn good Minecraft player, but he prefers to screw around from time to time, especially if he's working by his lonesome; he won't go that far when he's working with a team. Geoff Ramsey frustratingly mentions that if he took things seriously, he'd win many of the episodes easily, to which Gavin sarcastically replied "That'd make an interesting video."note 
    • This has come back to bite him in the ass during an episode of their Let's Play Grand Theft Auto series. During their "Cops 'n Crooks" games in Grand Theft Auto IV, Gavin ends up screwing up many of Team Lads' (comprised of himself, Michael Jones, and Ray Narvaez Jr) attempts to stop Team Gents (comprised of Jack Pattillo, Geoff Ramsey, and Ryan Haywood) that, at the beginning of their "Cannonball Run" episode, Michael (temporarily) threw Gavin out of Team Lads.
    • Years later, an entire Let's Play was devoted to this in Let's Play - GTA V - Lindsay Wins when the Achievement Hunters purposely let Lindsay Jones, who had a very poor track record in GTA V races, win a few races so she can have a few. She proceeds to make their lives a living hell.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Fear of Victory", Scarecrow is drugging star athletes with fear chemicals so that they'd lose key games, allowing him to make money wagering on their opponents to fund his research.
  • CatDog has the titular duo becoming bull riding champions and are about to face the toughest bull in the rodeo. They are told they need to lose due to a phone survey saying that the bull is in favor of winning and are promised a large sum of money in return. They are prepared to do it, only to change their minds and win the rodeo. They are pelted with tomatoes and booed for their victory afterwards.
  • Don King attempts this in Celebrity Deathmatch, having bet against himself. Unfortunately, you can't really throw a deathmatch...note 
  • Futurama:
    • In one episode, Bender tried to get Fry to take a dive against Zoidberg in a fight to the death. (Fry declined.)
    • In another episode, Bender enters a robot pro wrestling league. While he's playing the role of a Face, he's happy enough to let his opponents take the dive for him. Then management recasts Bender as a Heel and orders him to start throwing fights. Bender refuses until management schedules his next match against a giant kill-bot, programmed to destroy Bender if he goes off-script.
    • In another episode, a Muscle Beach Bum kicks down Fry's sand castle and hits on Leela. When Fry allows her to go with him, the man explains that he's a professional beach bully who steals men's girlfriends so that they can challenge him to a fight to win her back, which he deliberately loses so that the boyfriend looks like a hero, and then the boyfriend covertly slips him some money for his services. When Fry says Leela isn't his girlfriend and she expresses interest in dating him anyway, he says he's actually gay and leaves.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): In "Bensonhurst", a flashback revealed that when Harley was a teen, her father asked her to throw a gymnastics competition because he bet against her to cover his debts to the mafia, and if he can't pay up, they'll take his fingers. She reluctantly took the dive but afterwards beat him up and never forgave him.
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode "Spelling Bee", the spelling bee comes down to Arnold and Helga, and Helga's father Bob bribes Arnold to throw the competition so that Helga can win. Arnold refuses, and when Helga finds out about the bribe, she throws the next round instead, humiliating her father and stepping out of Olga's shadow.
  • Green Arrow did this in one episode of Justice League to snap Wildcat to his senses.
  • In King of the Hill, Luanne becomes a boxer and gets a huge winning streak, but she and Hank eventually find out all her opponents were people Buck Strickland hired to take a dive because he didn't want her pretty face messed up. Angry that he didn't believe in her, she challenges Freeda Foreman to a match. Luanne lost but proved she was a true fighter.
    George Foreman: If I could take a punch like that, I might have been able to think of a name besides George for all my sons!
  • Love, Death & Robots. In "Sonnie's Edge", the title character remote-operates a bioengineered monster for gladiator fights. The promoter offers her half a million to throw the match, only to get rudely refused. He doesn't take it well and sends his assassin after her. The assassin kills Sonnie, only to discover too late that it's a remote body and the real Sonnie is inside the monster, her brain having been transplanted there by her crew after a vicious gang rape and beating. The reason she didn't throw the match is that she's literally fighting for her life every time she gets in the ring.
  • This comes up twice in The Owl House episode "Escaping Expulsion":
    • During the Cold Open, Amity is roped into helping her parents to demonstrate their new "Abomi-ton". Part of the demonstration involves showing off the Abomi-ton's combat abilities, Amity not even putting up a fight at all so it can look more impressive. This lasts until the Abomi-ton nearly steps on Amity's treasured Grom Night photo, driving Amity to rip the Abomi-ton apart in seconds.
    • During the climax, Amity and Luz are facing off against the upgraded Abomi-ton 2.0 and are more or less at a stalemate with Amity slowly overtaking it. Amity takes the opportunity to force her mother into letting Luz, Willow, and Gus back into Hexside, threatening to win the fight and destroy the Abomi-ton in front of her mother's precious investors. Once Odalia agrees to the terms, they stop fighting and allow themselves to be "crushed" by the Abomi-ton's (hollow) hammer arm.
  • Parodied in The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "Mad Dog Hoek", in which a wrestling match is indeed fixed, and Ren & Stimpy's opponents do throw the fight... after mercilessly pummeling the duo to jelly.
  • In Rocko's Modern Life, Ed Bighead is recruited to play a round of golf with his boss and is told to lose, flat out. Ed agrees and plays poorly - with the help of cannon-launched pianos. Unfortunately, Heffer is working at the golf course, has no idea that Ed has to lose and takes it upon himself to get Ed to win.
  • In the Wassamatta U arc of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Natasha tries to get Bullwinkle to throw a football game.
  • The Simpsons: The episode "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can" has Lisa competing in the "Spellympics", until the host, George Plimpton, asks her to take a dive in order for her competitor to win, promising her a free scholarship to any college (and a free George Plimpton hot plate) if she does. When Lisa is about to do it, Homer arrives to cheer her on, and she confesses she was told to take a dive- only to accidentally misspell the word.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Damien", Jesus and Satan are scheduled to have a boxing match. Everyone in town is sure that Jesus will win and place bets on him until Satan appears and everyone sees how huge he is, so they all change their bets to Satan. Even Jesus doesn't think he can win and plans on forfeiting, until the boys tell him that there is one person in town who didn't change their bet and still believes in him, which restores his confidence. It turns out that the one person still betting on Jesus was Satan, who threw the fight (very unconvincingly) and walked off with everyone's money.
    • In "The Losing Edge", the entire South Park Little League baseball team hates playing baseball and tries to throw all their games and get knocked out of the series so that they won't have to waste their entire summer playing. Unfortunately, every team they go up against also hates baseball, and are all better at throwing games.
  • In SpacePOP, despite wanting to win, Juno forces herself to lose a reality show since it wasn't in her contract that she'd win, and if she did win Geela would take notice.
  • Star Wars Resistance: In "The Platform Classic", Yeager's estranged brother Marcus arrives at the Colossus to both compete in the titular race and try to mend relations with his brother. Marcus' mechanic is taken hostage by the Guavian Death Gang as collateral for a debt he owes them, making it imperative he win the race. However, Yeager, who is Always Someone Better for Marcus, is successfully goaded by his mechanics into entering the race, and due to a past tragedy, doesn't believe Marcus when he tries to explain what the problem is... until they're both in the home stretch of the race, whereupon he lets Marcus win at the last second.
  • Scott's strategy for winning Total Drama: Revenge of the Island is to make his team lose every challenge, forcing them into elimination ceremonies. He then manages to persuade his teammates to vote someone else off the island, usually by spreading false rumors or framing his intended victim. He also prioritizes finding the immunity idol so this won't backfire on him. He stops this in All Stars for obvious reasons.

    Real Life 
  • In a general context, sometimes parents, teachers, and others in charge of things such as youth programs will ask kids to back off and not play so well on purpose if they see that a kid is, despite trying his darndest, failing to come even close to winning or achieving some modicum of success. So they'll say, "Let him win once or twice," as though to boost their confidence and encourage him/her.
  • It is often considered good etiquette to, during an outing (e.g., a golf outing) with the boss, to let the boss win a round or two, even if his partners are clearly better than he is. As such, they may be asked to throw a round or two to stay in the good graces of their boss. Sometimes some bosses may not mind losing a game in a fair round depending on who they are.
  • The most famous example is the 1919 Black Sox scandal, where eight members of the Chicago White Sox were paid to lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds and were subsequently banned from baseball a year later.
    • It was actually not uncommon for players to throw games before the Black Sox scandal, to supplement their low pay. The owners knew about this but allowed it to happen to keep the players from organizing and forcing the owners to pay them more. What was unusual about the Black Sox was that no one had attempted to throw a Championship Series before, and which would involve throwing five games (it was a best-of-nine series at the time).
    • So pervasive was sports gambling in the 1910s (a number of players, such as Hal Chase, were suspected of routinely throwing games to supplement their income) that the 1919 World Series nearly became one that players on both sides tried to sabotage. A gambling syndicate offered Cincinnati pitcher Hod Eller $5,000 to take a dive, but instead he threatened to break the legs of the runner making the offer. Years later, Eller's teammate Edd Roush, the Reds' best hitter, claimed that during one World Series game, a teammate ahead of him on the basepaths slowed down suspiciously until Roush yelled, "Get running, you crooked son of a bitch!!"
    • A very similar scandal happened in 1969-71 which almost destroyed baseball in Japan. It started when pitcher Masayuki Nagayasu of the Nishitetsu Lions was caught taking bribes from the Yakuza to throw games. After he was released from the Lions, Nagasayu implicated six other Lions players in game-fixing. Soon the scandal spread to other teams such as the Toei Flyers and Kiniketsu Buffaloes, with around a dozen players being slapped with penalties ranging from "stern warnings" to lifetime bans. The scandal also resulted in the Lions and the Flyers being sold to new owners.
  • This isn't limited to players only, as referees have also been implicated in match fixing. The German Bundesliga, Brazilian Series A, and the NBA have all experienced corrupted refs who have thrown games. Given player salaries in the top leagues, it's more economical to bribe the lower-paid sports officials.
  • A lesser but related scam is point-shaving, which has been caught a few times over the years in college basketball. A player who knows the betting spread deliberately misses shots near the end of a game so that his team will win but not beat the spread. One of the more infamous cases of point-shaving involved the 1978-79 Boston College Eagles, who got mixed up with notorious mobsters Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke. When players started waffling on being involved, Hill told them that it was "hard to play basketball with broken hands".
    • The NBA a few years back had a betting scandal along similar lines instigated by former referee Tim Donaghy, where he would call the games in such a way so that he looks fair with the calls but the scores are higher than they otherwise would be (i.e., 110-100 rather than 96-86). He would bet on the "over" of the over/under (you bet "over" if you think the sum of the two teams' scores will be greater than the given line, say 200.5, and under if you think the sum will be less) for the game prior to tip-off.
  • Similar to match throwing is tanking, where a team may deliberately not win games for some advantage other than direct monetary gain.
    • For bad teams in a given year, there is an existing incentive to tank in North American sports (especially if there is a really good player that will enter the league next season) since teams that perform poorly are generally awarded high draft picks (ask That Other Wiki for why this doesn't come up in European leagues). Accusations in hockey include the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1983-84 (to secure the first pick over the New Jersey Devils and get Mario Lemieux) and the Ottawa Senators in 1992-93 (for Alexandre Daigle).
    • The poor play of the Houston Rockets basketball team in 1982-83, which enabled it to choose Ralph Sampson first in the following year's NBA draft, drew enough suspicion to be parodied in the newspaper comic Tank McNamara (one strip showed a fan holding a sign that read "We're No. 26!"). For this reason, the NBA and later the NHL have instituted lotteries whereby teams at the bottom are not guaranteed the first pick in the following year's draft. However, the odds are still heavily weighted towards the worst teams, and in any case, teams are still sometimes accused of "playing for ping-pong balls."
      • This doesn't appear to be such a problem in Major League Baseball (possibly because the vast majority of those drafted go through several years in the minors first and many first-rounders don't ever make it to the bigs - it's rare for a rookie to land a spot on the roster before September call-ups after the minor leagues end their seasons) or the National Football League (possibly due to their large roster size and subsequent specialization of positions, meaning teams will have specific needs in a given year where a few slots in the draft board isn't something some savvy trades couldn't rectify; additionally teams with the same record are cycled through within their "pod" each round so that if in Round 1 you have the highest pick of all, say, six teams with the same record, in Round 2 you now have the sixth and last pick of those teams), neither of which do lotteries.
    • There were also accusations of NFL teams intentionally doing badly in their final weeks of the season in order to gain an easier schedule next year. This was more prominent before 2002 when NFL divisions had five or six teams and more games on a team's schedule were determined by how well they did the previous season; nowadays only three games out of seventeen are determined by how well a team did, not much of an incentive and most likely not worth the rage the team's fans would have for shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars to watch crap.
    • With most such strategic use of losing, though, the verdict may depend on whether you believe the ends justify the means. The Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 2000s were in dire financial straits, as their previous years' success had come at a massive financial cost (their filing for bankruptcy and how to handle them was one of the biggest points that led to the 2004-05 Lockout). The Penguins were terrible during this time but were able to use the high draft picks their poor records year in and year out granted them on star players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. This in turn eventually led to new success (and the income that goes with it), a Stanley Cup victory in 2009, and a brand new arena a couple of years later.
  • Even better teams may sometimes have an incentive to not go all-out to win:
    • The 2006 Los Angeles Clippers allegedly tanked to get the sixth seed (of eight) in the NBA Western Conference in order to both avoid the Dallas Mavericks in the first round (who had the better record that year and thus would have had home-court advantage) and delay facing the powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers until the third round of the playoffs (since the NBA Playoffs is a straight-up bracket). In addition, finishing sixth meant they faced the Denver Nuggets, who were only the third seed by virtue of winning their division: the Clippers actually had a better record, which meant they got home-court advantage. The NBA changed the rules following the season to prevent that from occurring again.
    • This 2015 girls' basketball game in Tennessee, a consolation game of a Nashville-area high school district tournament. Because of the way the regional was bracketed, the winner of the game would face the defending state championnote  in its regional semifinal, while the loser would avoid that team until the regional final, with both teams in that game going on to the sectional tournament (one step short of the state tournament). Given the incentives, both teams blatantly tanked the game until the officials called them out on it (the final straw came when one player was about to score in her own basket but was stopped because her team had already committed another violation). The state association banned both teams from the postseason.
      • This isn't even limited to North America: Sweden's ice hockey team allegedly lost on purpose to Slovakia in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics in order to avoid both the Czech Republic and Canada (both powerhouses) in the opening knockout rounds (there was even a Swedish 5-on-3 power play where five NHL stars were on the ice and none of them put a shot anywhere near the goal). They faced Switzerland instead and later went on to win the gold.
      • One of the most overt examples from the Olympics occurred in the women's doubles in badminton at the 2012 London games. Four teams - two from South Korea, one each from China and Indonesia - deliberately lost their final group matches in order to draw weaker opponents in the quarter-finals (the other Chinese team had honestly but unexpectedly lost earlier in the day and sent them to second in their group). Unfortunately, their unnaturally weak performances in the matches (constantly hitting the net, missing trivial hits, and otherwise playing like it was their first badminton match in their entire lives) drew immediate suspicion from officials and spectators alike, and all four pairs were expelled from the tournament after an official investigation and replaced by four previously eliminated teams from Australia, Canada, Russia, and South Africa.
    • Other times, teams might tank in order to stop someone else from getting into the playoffs: In 1988, the San Francisco 49ers lost their final game of the regular season to the Los Angeles Rams, which prevented the New York Giants (who had beaten them a couple of times in previous years) from getting in the playoffs. Phil Simms was not happy.note 
    • In the mid-1970s, the NFL's tie-breaking rules were labyrinthine and often counter-intuitive, which culminated in a situation at the end of the 1977 season where the Baltimore Colts were able to nearly guarantee the elimination of AFC East divisional rival New England Patriots (with the help of fellow division rivals, the Miami Dolphins) by losing their Week 13 game to the Detroit Lions, rather than winning it (and, importantly, by also beating New England the following week in the final regular season game). The Colts lost to the Lions by having a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown on the final play of the game. Some vocal New England fans accused Baltimore of throwing the game simply to ensure that the Patriots would be essentially eliminated from playoff contention (their only hope was in Miami losing to the significantly inferior Buffalo Bills in their last game; Miami ended up beating Buffalo 31-14) even before their final week match-up (which, in the event, Baltimore rallied from behind to win and take the division crown). There is no reason to believe that Baltimore lost the Lions game intentionally (indeed, the team had just rallied to a 10-6 lead with four minutes left in the game, prior to the ill-fated final punt attempt); but the freak nature of the final scoring play, combined with the impact on the complex playoff race, left Patriots fans with a good deal of resentment.
    • Sometimes teams play to a specific score which benefits both sides: take the 1982 World Cup match between West Germany and Austria, the last game in Group B. Due to tiebreaker rules at the time, a 1-0 or 2-0 West German win would have seen both teams through to the elimination rounds. A bigger West German win would eliminate Austria, whereas a tie or Austrian win would eliminate West Germany; in either case, Algeria would have gone through instead. West Germany scored after 10 minutes, and the two teams spent the remaining 80 minutes kicking the ball around aimlessly. Algerians weren't the only ones pissed off: a West German fan burned his own flag in protest, both German and Austrian commentators were disgusted, and the local paper printed the match news in the crime section. This only happened because Algeria had played their final match the previous day, giving Austria and West Germany time to realize there was a result that benefitted them both; to prevent this from happening again, every World Cup since has had each group's final two matches take place at the same time. If you're asking what happened to Austria and West Germany later in the tournament, the former faltered in the second group stage while the latter went all the way to the final where they were ultimately battered 3-1 by Italy.
      • There was a similar event in the final match of the season-ending playoffs in the English football league in 1898. Stoke needed a draw or better to remain in the First Division the next season, and Burnley needed the same result to be promoted. The match finished 0-0, with neither side even pretending to try to score. The league responded by replacing the "test match" system with automatic promotion and relegation. It also increased the top flight to 18 teams, with the victims of Stoke's and Burnley's alleged manipulation, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, joining the top flight.
      • And also in the next-to-last round of the 1992–93 Serie A season in Italy, when AC Milan played Brescia. Milan entered the game needing only a draw to win the title ahead of crosstown rival Internazionale, while Brescia believed a draw would be enough to stave off relegation to Serie B. In a 2004 look back at the "dodgiest games" in football history, two British journalists remarked, "For over 80 minutes, the two teams engaged in a shameful game of cat-and-mouse, in which the cat appeared to have fallen asleep and the mouse was on tranquilisers." Milan scored in the 82nd minute... but then took a breather on defense, letting Brescia level the score two minutes later. The game ended 1–1, giving Milan their title, but other results went against Brescia and they were relegated.
    • A strange version of this occurred in the Caribbean Cup in 1994, due to an unusual rule that meant a win in extra time was considered a two-goal win. Barbados had to beat Grenada by two goals in order to progress. Barbados were 2-0 up when, in the 83rd minute, Grenada pulled a goal back. Deciding that seven minutes wasn't enough time to restore their two-goal lead, Barbados instead scored an own goal to tie the game at 2-2 and try and force extra time, where they would have thirty minutes to try and score again and earn the necessary two-goal win. Grenada realized what they were doing and tried to score an own goal of their own, resulting in the last few minutes of normal time becoming a spectacle where Grenada tried to score in either goal while Barbados was defending both goals! Barbados would eventually win in extra time.
    • Another infamous soccer example was the 1998 Tiger Cup (former name of the soccer competition of Southeast Asia). Thailand and Indonesia were in the same group and, going into the final game of the group stage, both nations were guaranteed to progress. Whoever topped the group would face hosts Vietnam, while the runners-up would face Singapore. Both teams thought that Vietnam would be the tougher opposition so they played rather half-heartedly, neither wanting to win. In the final seconds, with the score at 2-2, Indonesian player Mursyid Effendi scored a deliberate own goal to give Thailand a 3-2 win and the unfancied tie against Vietnam. Sure enough, Vietnam won that game 3-0... but Indonesia also lost to Singapore, who went on to win the whole thing.
    • In the NFL, teams that have already earned playoff spots going into the final week(s) of the regular season often sit their star players - the Indianapolis Colts are known for doing this, among others. In such cases, it's usually because winning another game doesn't earn them anything (i.e., they've already won their division or the top seed and can't finish any better) but actually trying could get their star players injured and totally screw up their playoff run. This can lead to cases where Team A could lose to Team B, who's trying to get in the playoffs... and face Team A, who's now rested and has seen up close how Team B plays - see 2004, Colts versus Broncos. In an effort to prevent meaningless Week 17 games, starting in 2010 the NFL's schedule has all division games in the final week, where teams would presumably be motivated by rivalry to play hard.
      • Of course, such shenanigans don't always work. In 2009, the Cincinnati Bengals faced the New York Jets at home in the final week of the season. Cincinnati had already locked up its best possible playoff seeding, but New York needed to win to get into the playoffs. Since New York would play at Cincinnati the next week if they entered the playoffs (their game was the Sunday night game and the last scheduled game of the regular season), Cincinnati played with minimal effort to avoid risking their players to injury or tipping off any of their plays. New York won, made the playoffs, and then beat the Bengals in the playoffs the next week. The football gods chortled.
    • When it comes to international competition, politics may enter the picture. In the second round of the 1978 FIFA World Cup, Argentina (who were hosts and had just undergone a coup d'etat two years before that put the country in the grip of a military dictatorship) needed to beat Peru by four goals in order to edge out Brazil by goal difference and make it to the final. This task was made even more daunting by the fact that Argentina had only scored six goals in their first five games, while Peru had only conceded six goals in their first five games. Argentina won the match 6-0, prompting accusations of shenanigans (that the Peruvian goalie was born in Argentina, that Peru was dependent on grain sales from Argentina, etc.), though nothing was ever proven.
    • In the 2012 Olympics Women's Badminton, players from China and South Korea realized if they won some of their matches, they would be playing against other Chinese and South Korean teams respectively in the later knockout rounds. To avoid facing their own teams, as well trying to face easier competition they started to play like someone who had never played the sport before, hitting the ball into the net or very wide. Unfortunately, everyone watching noticed the blatant attempts to throw the matches, and the teams were disqualified.
  • Competitive StarCraft:
    • There was a scandal in the StarCraft: Brood War leagues in 2010 where a number of players, including the previously dominant Savior, were found to have deliberately lost matches for money.
    • A second scandal erupted in 2015 when high-ranking StarCraft II players, including 2014 world champion Life, were found to have fixed matches. All gamers and coaches involved were banned from KeSPA (the Korea eSports Association) forever, and Life had his WCS championship voided.
    • A much funnier example happened at the 2011 ASUS ROG StarCraft II Tournament during a match between Brat_OK and Stephano. Neither of the players wanted to win, because that would mean going up against a crazy good player called Sen. Not wanting to simply Rage Quit immediately and have the fans turn on them for wasting their time, both players do implausible builds in attempts to lose, while TotalBiscuit and co-commentator Apollo try not to lose their composure at what they are seeing. In the end, Brat_OK — who, despite his token attempts to play, is winning — surrenders to Stephano, who refuses to accept his concession.note 
  • The NFL's Raiders franchise seems to have a habit of Averting this trope even when it would benefit them:
    • Late in the 1976 season, the Raiders were at the top of the AFC, having lost only one game all year and had a playoff spot well-secured relatively early by winning the AFC West division. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals were in a race of their for the Central Division crown and the playoff spot that goes with it. In the penultimate week of the regular season the Raiders hosted the Bengals, and given that the Steelers had beaten them in the playoffs three of the previous four years it was thought that After beating the Raiders in three playoff games in three seasons, it was believed by the media that Oakland would throw the game in order to avoid meeting the Steelers in the playoffs again. Instead, they gave it all their effort and beat the Bengals 35-20. The Raiders capped the awesomeness beating the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, and then utterly demolishing the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI to capture the Raiders' first championship.
    • In 2021, the now-Las Vegas Raiders were having a tumultuous season but through it all somehow managed to find themselves in a win-and-you're-in-the-playoffs situation entering the final weekend of the regular season. Their opponent for that week, the Los Angeles Chargers, were also in a win-and-you're-in position, so the NFL scheduled them for the lone nationally-televised Sunday night game presumably as a winner-take-all high-stakes matchup. There was one potential snag, which manifested after the league's other games finished earlier that afternoon: while the winner would make the playoffs and the loser would not, if the Raiders and Chargers tied the game both teams would make the playoffs.note  Speculation and rumors ran rampant about a "deal to kneel" in the hours prior to kickoff by both teams proverbially doing nothing to ensure both of them clinch, but the game itself was a high-scoring affair, with the Chargers scoring a last-second touchdown to tie the game at 29 and send it to overtime. Both teams traded field goals in their first possessions of overtime, so the Raiders got the ball back with 4:30 left. They initially played it safe by keeping it on the ground to keep the clock going, and while they made progress to the Chargers' 39-yard line (which would have meant a very difficult 57-yard field goal attempt) the clock ticked to 38 seconds left and the Raiders seemed content to take the tie. Then the Chargers called timeout, stopping the clock. That seemed to anger the Raiders, who might have thought the Chargers wanted a shot at scoring to win outright — Chargers coach Brandon Staley said later he did it because the Chargers had the wrong players on the field to stop the run. Whatever the case, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs gets a 10-yard run to the Chargers' 29, setting up a 47-yard game-winning field goal by Daniel Carlson to give the Raiders the win and send the Chargers home without a playoff berth.
  • This became an issue in professional Dota 2 play in some regions, so much so that Valve Software began issuing lifetime bans from competitive play for anyone discovered engaging in match fixing.
    • One of the first cases of this came about when someone named Alexei "Solo" Berezin betted 100$ against his own Rox.Kis team during a match against Z Rage in which his team was heavily favored to win note . Come the match itself, and Rox.Kis began making some really questionable plays, as though deliberately dicking around in order to let Z Rage win - which they did. Then the betting site sent a report of the match-fixing scandal to the organization and as a result, Solo received a one-year ban from his organisation, a three-year ban from his team (who eventually kicked him out entirely), and a lifetime ban from Starladder (reduced to one year after he apologised for the incident). Compared to later match-fixers, he got off pretty lightly.
    • Another, even more controversial incident occurred when two members of Arrow Gaming, Kok Yi "ddz" Liong & Fua Hsien "Lance" Wan, bet really expensive items (Arcanas, Whaleclaw Hook, Golden Immortals, you name it) against their own team in their match against CSW, which again was a match that Arrow Gaming was heavily favored to win but would have no bearings on the standings. Come the match and the team - but particularly those two - made really questionable plays, such as intentionally pursuing against five heroes, and even teleporting right in front of them to feed even more. Once the match was over and Arrow Gaming had lost, controversy arose when organizers discovered the betting scandals, and only intensified when the team repeatedly tried to deny it and claim it was a fluke in spite of all the evidence, even arranging a fake chat to pin the blame on others. Eventually, Arrow Gaming had no choice but to apologize and yield; they were permanently banned from all Valve-sanctioned tournaments, and disbanded shortly afterwards.
  • This was a major issue in Sumo for a time due to the rule that a sumo wrestler with 8 total wins would receive a huge bonus. A match between a wrestler with an 8-6 score and one with a 7-7 score would almost always result in a win by the wrestler with the 7-7 score, granting both an 8-7 score. In rematches, the previous losers won 80% of the time. Wrestlers began confessing to throwing the matches.
  • The 1992 USA Basketball Dream Team lost one game ever: their first practice against a group of college all-stars led by Chris Webber, Grant Hill, and Penny Hardaway. Assistant coach Mike Krzyzewski claims that head coach Chuck Daly deliberately threw that game by doing things like limiting Michael Jordan's playing time, not making any strategic adjustments, and making non-optimal substitutions in order to prove to his team that they could be beaten and couldn't slack off. The Dreamers demanded a rematch the next day and crushed the college guys.
  • A non-sports example: it has been speculated that RTÉ selected Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan's "Rock 'n' Roll Kids" as Ireland's entry in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest over other songs deemed superior purely to tank the competition, as they didn't want to pay the costs of hosting Eurovision for a third year in a row. It backfired, as "Rock 'n' Roll Kids" not only won but became the highest-scoring song in Eurovision history up to that point, earning Ireland the contest's first and only three-peat. This was the inspiration for the Father Ted episode "A Song for Europe", in which Ted and Dougal's terrible song is selected in the knowledge that they'll bomb, as well as a subplot in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga in which Victor Karlosson has all the competitors in Söngvakeppnin, the contest to select Iceland's Eurovision representative, killed save for Lars and Sigrit so that a duo he sees as talentless will inevitably embarrass themselves and lose.
  • Another non-sports example came from the quiz show scandals of The '50s, in which it was found that some of the biggest game shows of the era, most notably Twenty-One, Dotto, and The $64,000 Question, were in fact rigged from top to bottom. The scandal blew up in 1958 when contestant Herb Stempel revealed that he had been ordered by the producers to lose against Charles van Doren, and the resulting Congressional investigations destroyed the genre's credibility in the US for over a decade.
  • In 2002, the soccer team SO l'Emyrne (SOE) intentionally lost a game against their arch-rivals AS Adema in protest over refereeing decisions that had gone against them during a four-team playoff tournament 0:149.

Alternative Title(s): Throwing The Match, Throwing The Game