S6 E21 | Mike Tyson
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN linked up with legendary heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.
Hailing from Brooklyn, Tyson had a turbulent childhood that included many run-ins with the law and frequent arrests, so boxing naturally became a form of therapy for him. Regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, he became the youngest to ever win a heavyweight title at 20 years old. In the span of his career, Tyson had a total of 58 fights and won 50 of those matches, 44 by knockout. Furthermore, the icon was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011 and held the title of undisputed champ until losing to the 42:1 underdog Buster Douglas in 1990.
Aside from his well-established boxing career, Mike Tyson has since transcended sports, making his way into the cannabis industry, books, big screen appearances, and more. Among his several film and television projects, Tyson has appeared in The Hangover, his Adult Swim animated show “Mike Tyson Mysteries,” and the recently announced Hulu series “Iron Mike.” However, one of the boxer’s most popular ventures is his podcast “Hotboxin’ With Mike Tyson,” which he created in 2019 with former NFL player Eben Britton. Despite many of his peers and former competitors fading away from the limelight, Tyson has remained one of the most prominent names in boxing and beyond.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Mike Tyson “Drink Champs” interview. Read on to learn more.
1. On getting into a physical altercation during a recent flight
In April, videos surfaced of Mike Tyson getting into a physical altercation with a passenger on a JetBlue airliner. The one-minute clip depicts a drunken fan getting hit by Tyson after being told to leave the boxer alone and throwing a water bottle at him. Subsequently, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office reported that Mike would not face charges after all parties involved declined to file any. While the boxing champ acknowledges things could’ve gone a lot worse, luckily, he was not arrested or charged with assault — nor does the young man have plans to sue him. “Even though they didn’t press charges and I was in the right from a moral perspective, I shouldn’t have touched him,” Tyson admits.
2. On owning pet tigers and starring in The Hangover
At some point during his boxing career, Tyson owned three pet tigers and one of them was named Kenya. Among the bewildering stories, he shares that he would go to sleep with them until they became too enormous. Tyson also recalls the time one of his tigers bit someone’s arm off, which led to him paying a hefty fee.
Notably, the icon can be seen with tigers in the 2009 film The Hangover, which was partly shot at his luxurious Las Vegas mansion. Previously, it was assumed the exotic animals were his own, however, he shares they were provided by the film.
3. On why he doesn’t drink alcohol and fighting while under the influence
One of the more publicly documented issues of Mike Tyson’s life is his battle with alcoholism and substance abuse. During an episode of “Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson,” he admitted to drinking problems but never formally referred to himself as an alcoholic. “I’m so allergic to that shit … If I drink this shit, I can’t fit my pretty clothes. I just can’t do it, man,” he says. Pivoting into the conversation of whether he ever fought under the influence of substances, Tyson adds, “Many times. I was in Brooklyn, I had a fight. The reason? I don’t know, somebody was bothering me or said something to me and I’m high. I’m on cocaine so I’ll fight for any reason.”
4. On cannabis and its impact on his career
Marijuana has had a profound impact on Tyson’s career, whether it be his 40-acre cannabis ranch located in California or his renowned podcast series where he chats with celebrities whilst smoking. This year, the entrepreneur unveiled ear-shaped edibles called “Mike Bites,” which nod to him biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear during the infamous title fight that took place in 1997. While speaking on whether or not he’s used substances while boxing specifically, Tyson shares a time he fought after using cannabis.
“The one time I did fight with cannabis, I broke the guy’s back, I bust his spleen, broke his eye socket, cheek. I just did a number on the guy and I was high,” he shares. Later, Tyson admits, “It may be some children in here, and I don’t recommend you get high while you participate in sports.” The boxer also delves into how he used other substances like cocaine and acid prior to marijuana, saying that cannabis was “too mild.”
5. On losing to Buster Douglas in 1990 during “Tyson is Back!”
In 1990, Tyson faced Buster Douglas in a professional boxing match billed as “Tyson is Back!” At the time, Tyson was renowned as the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. In previous interviews, the champ admits to not preparing as much as he should’ve, instead amusing women and getting caught up in his luxurious lifestyle at the time. “I wasn’t in tip-top shape, and that’s what it’s about,” Tyson states.
6. On confronting rapper Boosie Badazz
Last year, Louisiana rapper Boosie Badazz was accused of making transphobic comments about Dwyane Wade’s daughter Zaya Wade. As Tyson tells N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, while talking with the rapper about the remarks on his “Hotboxin’ With Mike Tyson” podcast, his daughter flew from New York City to confront Boosie about it as well.
Mike later details how he attempted to intervene in the conversation between Boosie and his daughter, who is trans, so the former wouldn’t say anything that would offend her. “That was scary, she’s really representing the trans [community]. She did it in a real violent fashion and I was just blown away,” he explains. “Boosie ain’t say a word. My daughter is big and strong, she will fucking sit on Boosie. My family is from the South. They’re big strong women, they fight men.”
7. On Tupac and Afeni Shakur showing him love while he was incarcerated
Midway through the interview, Tyson details how he met Tupac in California and when he was sent to prison six months later, the rapper came to visit him and gained instant praise from inmates. The boxing champion recalls Shakur’s mother Afeni calling him while he was incarcerated and subsequently, the late musician visiting him in prison. “They respected him. As soon as he came in the room, they started applauding,” he shares. “When I was locked up, I had such an onslaught of visitors. I had everybody: B.B. King, James Brown, Whitney Houston, Bobby … Florence Henderson. I can’t even name them all, it’s just so many people that came to visit me while I was locked away.”
On the topic of Tupac and Biggie Smalls’ notorious beef, Tyson shares, “I thought it was ridiculous, and that’s what it was. It was two people into their feelings too much and couldn’t just say, ‘It’s over, fuck it.’ I knew it was going to end really bad. I knew it wasn’t going to end nice.”
8. On fighting Mitch Green outside of Dapper Dan’s house
Two years after their 1996 boxing match “New York Is Busting Out,” Mike Tyson and Mitch Green got into a street brawl at Dapper Dan’s spot in Harlem. In his 2013 autobiography “Undisputed Truth,” Tyson shares that his former promoter Don King owed Green money, which led to them getting into a physical altercation that night.
“It was like four or five [a.m.]. Sometimes when you’re married, you don’t want to fucking go home, sometimes you don’t want to go home so you stay out sometimes,” he tells N.O.R.E, to which the rapper insists that he thought he was the “baddest.” Tyson replies, “That was a big mistake believing that.” In the middle of the conversation, the former boxer insists that he forgot what happened afterward.
9. On identifying with the gentrification of Brooklyn
When asked about his thoughts on the “new” or gentrified areas of Brooklyn, Tyson shares that he’s content with the changes in his hometown. Gentrification, which typically encompasses increased property values, is reported to reduce crime rates and improve economic opportunity while also leading to less affordable housing for those who are from the community. “It’s really gentrified. I’m cool with being with people that are settled and civilized and not savages anymore. I had to go through that transition, so it’s good to see other people go through that transition.”