Few sports stars draw a range of opinions like controversial boxer Mike Tyson. The youngest heavyweight champion of all-time became a legend in the late 1980s. He fought in some of the greatest heavyweight fights ever and was a force of nature. Few people could stand against his power during his prime.
However, Tyson has also had an extremely troubled life. Drug problems, a rape conviction, the loss of his daughter, and assault cases have all marred his legacy. Despite this, he remains a pop culture icon and has the support of millions of fans around the world. At 54 years olf, he’s now set to return against Roy Jones Jr. in a charity boing match later this year. With this in mind, let’s take a look at 20 of Tyson’s craziest stories, via The Sportster. Check out the list below.
20. ‘The Hangover’
One of the most curious aspects of Tyson’s life is how he has become mythologized as a pop culture figure. Given his extraordinarily dark past, this was very unlikely. However, despite this, several movies and TV shows have portrayed him, most notably ‘The Hangover.’
Tyson stars as himself in the comedy series. It also happened totally by accident after the cast bumped into him while partying in Caesar’s Palace. Meanwhile, Tyson had no idea what he had signed up for. Later, Zach Galifiankis vetoed a similar bid for Mel Gibson to cameo in one of their movies, but called Tyson ‘very sweet.’
Fortunately, this never happened, but it wasn’t for Tyson’s lack of trying. He allegedly tried to bribe a zookeeper $10,000 to let him fight a gorilla. However, the zookeeper realized that he couldn’t spend that money in jail and turned Tyson down. It’s probably just as well.
According to National Geographic, gorillas are between four and 16 times stronger than an average adult male. Obviously, Tyson isn’t average, but still, those aren’t exactly the best odds. Even so, you can bet Don King would have put it on pay-per-view.
A self-confessed, full-blown ‘cokehead,’ Tyson had a massive drug problem at the height of his fame. Obviously taking a whole medicine cabinet of drugs doesn’t sit well with boxing commissions, so ‘Iron Mike’ had to find a way around that problem, hence the ‘Whizzer.’
His entourage carried a fake penis filled with someone else’s urine. This way, Tyson escaped notice for most of his career. Allegedly, he even fought while high on drugs. After testing positive for marijuana in 2000, a commission fined him $200,000, but overall he avoided detection.
Holmes had a legendary championship-winning career before he ever faced Tyson. After back-to-back losses to Michael Spinks, he retired but agreed to come back and fight ‘Iron Mike’ in a bid to win back the heavyweight title. What happened next was absolutely stunning.
Tyson dropped him with a jab-cross combination in the fourth round. Holmes got back to his feet but his younger opponent knocked him down again. He rose up and fought for another minute before Tyson landed a savage right hook, becoming the only man to knock Holmes out.
Throughout this list, you’re going to understand how much Tyson loves animals. As well as tigers and gorillas, he also loves pigeons. While this may seem random, his appreciation for the bird comes from his days on the mean streets of Brooklyn as a youngster. As an adult, he had his own pigeon coop.
After his favorite pigeon Julius died, a garbageman put it into the compacter. However, this enraged ‘Iron Mike’ and he reacted in the most predictable fashion. He claimed that he knocked the man unconscious for his insensitive action. Don’t come between Tyson and his birds.
One of Tyson’s main ventures is his marijuana ranch in California. It’s believed to be worth about a million dollars per month and produces a whole range of CBD-related products in addition to marijuana. He plans to expand it even further.
‘Iron Mike’ plans to open a marijuana-themed park for visitors. As well as the world’s longest lazy river, he wants to have luxury glamping tents on the site. Tyson’s personality has totally changed from the cocaine-fuelled days of his youth.
One of the strangest installments on this list, Tyson married TV star Robin Givens in February 1988. However, their relationship was rocky. They did an interview with Walters on CBS about it in June of the same year. You can check it out below because it was truly bizarre and uncomfortable viewing.
To sum up, Givens explained how it was an emotional and physical hell for her. She revealed how it was torturous for her and worse than anything she had ever experienced. Meanwhile, Tyson sat beside her as calm as a cucumber. This was a moment where he lost much of the public’s goodwill.
The last time Tyson fought was in 2005 when the Irish journeyman Kevin McBride defeated him. However, at the age of 54, he decided to return against Roy Jones Jr. ‘Iron Mike’ wanted to raise money for charity so he got himself into ridiculous shape for the exhibition bout.
Coach Rafael Cordeiro (@kings_mma) will be in Mike Tyson's corner for his comeback fight 🥊
Check out the clip above of Tyson hitting pads in his preparation for the match. The Brooklyn native only knows one way to win and that’s by knockout. Even so, it’s remarkable that after so long, Tyson has recaptured the fire that made him a superstar.
Another thing Tyson is scrutinized for is his voracious carnal appetite. In sum, only ‘Iron Mike’ could go to prison following a rape conviction and allegedly get a woman working in the prison pregnant. Even on a list of crazy stories, this one really stands out because it’s so ludicrous.
In his autobiography, Tyson claims that he fornicated with the woman three times a day until finally she became pregnant. However, she allegedly never had the baby and instead chose to terminate the pregnancy. One of the most ‘Iron Mike’ tales you’ll ever hear.
In 2003, Tyson got his distinctive face tattoo. His tribal marking is one of the most famous in the world. Three reasons influenced his decision. First, he liked the warrior culture of New Zealand’s Maori people and wanted to adapt it. Second, he thought it just looked cool.
But this wasn’t Tyson’s first choice. He wanted to get hearts on his face instead of the tribal marking. However, the artist was able to convince him otherwise, and finally, Tyson agreed. Now thousands of people across the world also have the same ink on their faces.
King is one of the most notorious promoters in boxing history. However, he had many fallouts with ‘Iron Mike.’ In his book ‘Undisputed Truth,’ Tyson explained how King said something on the highway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Tyson’s natural reaction was to stomp him unconscious in the back of the car.
Then the police stopped them. However, Tyson claims to have had a brick of cocaine and half a pound of marijuana in the car with him. Of course, he was as high as a kite. Fortunately, police were too excited to see Tyson that they quickly gave up on their official duties and just took photos instead.
The former heavyweight champion has a well-documented love of animals including a special appreciation for tigers. During the height of his fame and decadent lifestyle, Tyson bought three tigers and spent lavish amounts of money on their welfare.
As you can see from the clip above, Tyson even wrestled with the big cats even though they were more than capable of ripping him apart. He was a real-life Tiger King before we even heard of Joe Exotic. But in the end, he gave them up after he went bankrupt.
One of the most iconic moments in Tyson’s fight career, he destroyed Savarese at just 38 seconds of the first round. It was a devastating performance and the shortest professional fight he ever took part in. But that wasn’t the craziest part.
Then ‘Iron Mike’ ranted at Jim Grey about what he was going to do to Lennox Lewis. Furthermore, he praised Allah and went off on a tirade about his frightening skills. This infamously ended with him saying that he wanted to eat Lewis’s children. It was shocking but scintillating.
In 2002, Tyson agreed to fight Lewis for the undisputed title. However, Tyson was no longer the same force of nature and Lewis won by KO in round eight. Even so, the press conference before the fight provided some real drama. ‘Iron Mike’ stormed out and charged at Lewis.
This resulted in a major melee on the stage with both men’s teams involved. Then a fan in the audience said that Tyson should be in a straight jacket. Needless to say, Tyson didn’t like this and went on the most explicit rant that you will ever listen to. Honestly, we can’t even quote it here but you can watch it above.
People frequently speak about ‘Iron Mike’ and Muhammad Ali at the same time. It makes sense because they’re the most iconic heavyweights of their individual eras. However, religion is another aspect that brings them together. Tyson followed in Ali’s steps by converting to Islam. He even adopted the name Malik Abdul Aziz.
To sum up, it happened while Tyson was serving time for rape. NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon visited Tyson in prison and vouched for the boxer’s sincerity in his conversion. Furthermore, Tyson has completed his hajj, a mandatory visit to the sacred Islamic city of Mecca.
This was the finish that transformed Tyson into the youngest heavyweight champion of all-time. At the age of just 20 years and four months, a legend was born. The young man totally dominated this fight from start to finish, dropping Berbick in the second round.
Berbick scrambled back to his feet but Tyson landed a devastating combination that sent him crashing to the canvas. A right hook to the ribs and a left hook to the head forced referee Mills Lane to stop the fight. Nobody had seen anything as ferocious as this before.
Atlas and Tyson do not have a good relationship. In sum, it all came about when Tyson was 15 years old and allegedly groped the buttocks of Atlas’s 12-year-old niece at the Catskill Boxing Club. Atlas worked there as an assistant trainer and responded furiously to Tyson’s action.
The story goes that he pulled out a .38 pistol and held it to Tyson’s head. Then he warned the teenager that if he ever laid his hands on another member of Atlas’s family, he would kill him. However, in the end, Tyson had the last laugh because Catskill dismissed him and Kevin Rooney became the young man’s head coach.
During Tyson’s heyday, he was a whirlwind of destruction. He was 37-0 before he ran into Buster Douglas. Then, on Feb 11, 1990, in the Tokyodome in Japan, we saw one of the most stunning upsets in sporting history. Douglas knocked Tyson out in the tenth round of their clash.
After firing trainer Kevin Rooney, Tyson was a mess. Furthermore, he admitted to smoking a lot of marijuana and meeting several prostitutes in Tokyo during the run-up to the fight. Afterward, Douglas couldn’t capitalize on his achievement and went off the rails quickly himself.
To sum up, this is Tyson’s most shocking moment inside the ring. Outgunned against Evander Holyfield, he bit his opponent’s ear in the third round. Then the referee deducted two points but allowed the fight to resume. However, Tyson responded by immediately biting off a chunk of Holyfield’s other ear.
Referee Lane Mills immediately stopped the fight. The state of Nevada stripped him of his boxing license and hit him with a $3 million fine. It was appalling but also somehow played into Tyson’s cult of personality. In the end, Tyson and Holyfield became good friends.
The darkest moment of Tyson’s life so far, it’s amazing that he has successfully come back from it. When you consider the era that we live in, it’s insane that ‘Iron Mike’ has somehow managed to avoid cancel culture and the whole MeToo movement.
He served three years in prison from 1992 to 1995 after a court convicted him for the rape of Desiree Washington. An emergency physician confirmed that her condition showed signs of rape. Furthermore, investigators found evidence in the boxing legend’s limousine. However, Tyson maintains his innocence to this day.