OK! Investigates: Warren Sapp vs. Derek Hough


Nov. 26 2008, Published 10:27 a.m. ET

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As Brooke Burke and Derek Hough were celebrating their win on DWTS Tuesday night, the buzz behind the scenes was about a report that second-place finisher, football legend Warren Sapp, had allegedly roughed Derek up!

According to, Warren had shown up several hours late to a rehearsal for the show’s group dance, and later complained he couldn’t follow the routine. When the professionals told Warren it was his fault because he showed up late, TMZ reported that the retired linebacker allegedly threw Derek against a wall!

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While Warren wouldn’t address the alleged fight, tersely telling reporters after the finale to “ask Derek” about it, Derek did say, “This has been blown way out of proportion. Warren and I exchanged a few words at rehearsal that lasted seconds. The idea that Warren would do physical harm to me or anyone is outrageous. We’re all become good friends during the season.”

But pro Corky Ballas, who was teamed up with Cloris Leachman this season and has been close to Derek for years as his dance teacher and friend, told OK!, “I think that Warren thinks this is a football field. I mean this in a good way. All his life, they get mad at themselves and angry so they can get out there and play well so he’s only doing what his instincts are, under pressure with adrenalin.”

Added Corky, “I told Derek, ‘let it go right off your back.’ It’s part of psyching people out. Some psych-out tactics work. It doesn’t work on Derek.”

Comedian Jeffrey Ross, who was the first contestant eliminated this season, but who came back to perform on the show again this week, told OK!, “I happened to be at that rehearsal and they got into a little thing, but I think it has more to do with the intensity of the moment; guys having to coordinate their moods and their travel schedules and their work schedules, and things bubble up and honestly, they’re all teammates at this point. There’s no losers here.”

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Derek’s close friend and fellow DWTS dancer Mark Ballas also said the incident was blown out of proportion, but admitted to OK! that the hit ABC show can be a pressure cooker!

“There are stressful times and when you’re working together, sometimes people get heated at each other,” Mark explained. “When you’re together 24 hours a day and you’re working, sometimes you just talk to each other out of frustration. Things like that happen. But both of them are cool.”

By Carole Glines


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