Why you should care
Because when man kissing is outlawed, only outlaws will be man kissers.
The year is 1995. Jerome Le Banner, a French kickboxer is making his debut in the K-1 fight promotion. K-1 standing for kickboxing, karate and kung fu. Banner tips the scales at 265, and at about 6’3” is aptly described as a mountain of a man.
Squaring off against him is one Mike Bernardo, a South African hard-ass. Oh, and at 6’4” and 240 also a veritable hunk of man.
Called forward to hear the ref’s instructions immediately pre-match, Bernardo and Le Banner face each other doing the stare down of death, the 15-second, pre-fight scramble for advantage right before the punches are thrown.
Then the unlikeliest of things happens, outside of two men about to beat the crap out of each other and being excited about beating the crap out of each other.
Jerome Le Banner kisses Mike Bernardo. On the lips.
Now this is not the first time this has happened, and in other instances the response was predictably sudden and violent. More times than not, the kisser got knocked out, the kissed got DQ’d and their respective corners shook their heads. Or worse.
But Mike Bernardo, sangfroid and all, responds the only way that made sense to him: He kisses Le Banner back.
They both smile, touch gloves and come out fighting. Both against type and expectation.
In the end Bernardo ended up getting knocked out (and sadly succumbed to depression and suicide last year), but for that briefest of moments, he and the French lothario Le Banner did the unthinkable and the unexpected, in style.