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Alligator Bite Won’t Stop Wrestler

January 2, 1998

MIAMI (AP) _ Memo to alligator wrestlers: Never let ’em see or feel you sweat.

Kenny Cypress of the Miccusukee Indian Village west of Miami had his head inside an alligator’s open jaws Thursday when a few drops of sweat rolled off his face. It put him in mortal danger.

As 200 people looked on, the 10-foot, 350-pound alligator clamped down on Cypress’ head and wouldn’t let go for about two minutes. Friends wedged metal pipes in the alligator’s mouth to free Cypress, who was taken to Columbia Kendall Medical Center and released a few hours later.

``I’ve got holes in my skull and my face from where he was throwing me around,″ he said. ``He was squeezing just as hard as he could.″

Cypress, 27, has handled alligators for years but has been putting his head in their mouths for only two weeks. He plans to return to alligator wrestling as soon as possible.

``As long as you don’t bump anything in there, you’re OK,″ he said. ``As soon as something touches the inside, you’re in trouble. There’s no way you can keep the mouth from closing.″

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