Mike Tyson has been one of the most controversial and eccentric boxers in recent times. In addition to his fights, his bite to Evander Holyfield and his scandals, his fans remember the mythical image of him with some Bengal tigers, who were his pets for a time. This week, the former heavyweight champion remembered that time.
A few years ago, the former boxer told on the Hotboxin podcast that he used to sleep with them in his bed: “I was very dumb in that then. There’s no way to tame these felines by one hundred percent, there’s no way that’s going to happen. They kill you by accident, not that they try to do it, they do it by accident.”
This week, during an episode of the podcast Million Dollaz Worth of Game, hosted by rapper Gillie Da King, he revealed the worst part of that experience. “They slept in my bed. The worst thing in the world was their damn gases. As they grow older, they realize the punishment and they no longer do it,” he said with laughter. In addition, he explained that every time they dived into the water they had to relieve themselves right there: “As soon as they touched the pool, they defecate and everything, as soon as they touch the water.”
Tyson was asked about the diet of the Bengal tigers: “Horse meat. They also like chicken, so chicken and horse meat. They eat very slowly. They eat very slowly. They are not gluttons, they know it… they keep their weight, they eat the right thing.” He also explained that he had three of them, in addition to some pumas and lions.
It was then that the former boxer chose his favorite animal: “Mountain Lions. They’re so beautiful. You’ve never seen his face. They have a green face. An incredible beauty. They look very simple at first glance. These brown grays, but you look at their eyes and they have green eyes. Beautiful face.” But, Iron Mike acknowledged that they were not easy to tame and as they grew older it was more complex since they didn’t feel comfortable outside their natural habitat.
In this regard, he said that he once received a bite from one of his huge cats. “I was giving him a tetanus shot and he bit me. I was afraid, I was afraid. Six, seven stitches and that’s it. My dog bit me too.”
In February 2021, Tyson had detailed how he got the Bengal Tigers. The former boxer was in prison, after being declared guilty of sexual abuse against an 18-year-old girl whom he had met in a beauty pageant: “That’s how it happened, I was in and I was talking to one of my friends who I bought exotic cars from. He was saying that a friend of his owed him money. And he said, ‘If you don’t pay me money, I’ll take some of these cars and trade them for some animals. ‘ I said, ‘What kind of animals? ‘ He said, ‘Horses and stuff. ‘Mike, they also have some nice tigers and lions. If you had one of those, that would be great. ‘”
It is worth remembering that in the early 90s, Tyson was one of the most famous and controversial people in the world, so adding wild cats to his chaotic life didn’t seem like a good idea. But he didn’t hesitate: “I said, ‘Yes, that would be true. Why don’t you ask me for a pair? I’ll be out in a couple of months. So when I got out I came home and I had two puppies.” Iron Mike eventually acquired three Bengal tigers: Kenya, Storm and Boris, in a display of waste and unconsciousness typical of his life at that time.
The story didn’t end in the best way. Even in 2019, during an interview he gave to GQ Magazine, he told about the problem he had with Kenya: “I had a great affection for her. I took care of her, slept with her, had her in my room. I had her about 16 years old, but she got too old and I had to get rid of her when her eyes and head got worse. He tore off a person’s arm,” said Tyson.
Later, in an Instagram chat with American rapper Fat Joe, he gave more details: “Someone jumped the fence right where the tiger was and started playing with him. The animal did not know this woman and there was an ugly accident.” Big Mike admitted that he paid a large sum to the victim following what his pet did to him: “When I saw what the tiger did to his hand, I had a lot of money back then, so I gave her $250,000 because she was screwed.”
After that episode, Tyson got rid of the last of his tigers. Nowadays, he owns some dogs and many pigeons, which remind him of his childhood, when he used to have one, although it ended up in the dump because of a mistake.