Mike Tyson, the former undisputed heavyweight champion, once expressed his desire to fight a caged animal in a zoo. The incident came to light again when the popular Netflix series, Tiger King, was released, which Tyson watched with great interest, considering his past affinity for tigers. In the media frenzy that ensued, many linked the series to Tyson because he had once owned tigers in his Las Vegas home. This association was further reinforced by the iconic scene in the hit movie The Hangover, where Tyson punched Zach Galifianakis’ character Alan with a single blow.
However, Tyson’s fascination with animals went beyond just tigers. In a story he shared years ago, Tyson claimed that he wanted to fight a silverback gorilla at a New York zoo. He even paid a zoo worker to reopen the cage for him and his then-wife, Robin Givens, but the attendant refused to let Tyson confront the gorilla, despite offering him $10,000.
“I paid a New York zoo worker to re-open it for me and Robin [Givens, former wife, and money manager]. When we got to the gorilla cage, one giant silverback gorilla was there, bullying all the other gorillas.
“They were so powerful, but their eyes were like an innocent infant. I offered the attendant $10,000 to open the cage and let me smash that silverback’s snot box. He declined.”
When it comes to his love for tigers, Tyson revealed that he came to own them after a friend suggested that he trade in some exotic cars for animals. He was intrigued by the idea of having a tiger, so he ordered a couple of cubs before his release from prison. However, one of the tigers allegedly attacked a woman who had jumped into its habitat, causing a “bad accident.”
Despite the controversies surrounding his ownership of exotic animals, Tyson continues to hold a fascination for them, especially for tigers. He has expressed his admiration for their power, yet, at the same time, he sees them as innocent creatures with eyes like that of an infant. While some may criticize his affinity for wild animals, Tyson’s stories serve as a reminder of the bond that can exist between humans and animals, even if it’s unconventional.