The idea of Mike Tyson showing up somewhat unexpectedly at a radio studio in Las Vegas immediately after a visit to the dentist may sound like a great opening scene to the Hangover 2, but when that actually transpired, listeners were treated to a fascinating look into the life and transformation of a man of great extremes. Mike Tyson’s story of dedication, training, success, failure, desperation and out of control antics is well-known and compelling in its own right. It’s latest chapter, though, paints the poignant picture of a very different man, who in many ways, is still the same.
Since losing his four year old daughter in a tragic accident at his home late last year, Tyson has dedicated himself to his family and do living a healthy lifestyle free of drugs and infidelity. But as is the case with every other chapter of his life, Tyson’s dedication has gone beyond any otherwise expected extreme. He turned Vegan – cutting out all animal products from his diet – and has lost about 130 pounds since weighing 350 just a year ago. Tyson does not go out in public when not invited to do so and is rarely apart from his wife and children. It’s a obviously a much more positive and less destructive way to live, but it’s still at an extreme that anyone would find difficult to maintain.
Mike Tyson’s story paints such a powerful picture of the good and bad that can come from extreme addiction in all of the ways that that can manifest. The best part about his story now is that he is the one telling – and in such a raw, candid and matter-of-fact way to the public.
Mike Tyson joined Gridlock on ESPN Radio Las Vegas to talk about losing 130 pounds, his past life, his family, being in the Hangover, if he would box again and being 350 pounds.
On losing about 130 pounds:
“I became a Vegan. Vegan is where no animal products. No livestock products. Nothing. I just did a lot of training and try to become more faithful in life. I wanted a different life. I felt like I was dying. I had an incident in life where I lost my four year old daughter in a tragic accident at home. I don’t know. I didn’t want to live anymore. So I said, that in order to go there, I had to change my life. I am going to change everything I dislike about myself. I changed everything that I was as a human being. I started that journey in October or November… I don’t smoke anymore. I wanted to give up everything. I had to change my life. I didn’t have a problem with drugs or nothing. I had a problem with thinking. My thinking was broken. That was the solution of my broken thinking using drugs and living crazy. It was just the way I was thinking.”
On his former lifestyle and women:
“It was everything goes. Just being out there, being Mike, not realizing who I am. The next thing I know I got people saying, ‘Yo man when are you going to pay for these girls?’ I said, ‘Well you know. What’s the problem? I ain’t got the money. I can’t pay you.’ And he said, ‘Well I got to pay somebody.’ And I said, ‘Tell the guy you got to pay to come talk to me.’ Listen, I’m Mike Tyson, international superstar, and I’m robbing a drug dealer. What happened? What happened to my life? I’m an international star and now I’m shaking down a drug dealer. I’ve really came a long way, huh? I’ve really came a long way… My personal life is so isolated right now. I don’t go anywhere unless I’m invited. If I don’t have a reason being there, I’m not going to go. I enjoy being with my children and my wife now. That’s the only the that keeps me grounded’
On the impact his wife and family has had on put him on the straight road:
“I’ll say everything to do. I didn’t now where the straight road left. A straight road reminded me of a line of cocaine. That’s the only thing that I knew was straight. But the fact was that, she said, ‘I want a commitment.’ I thought that’s what was going to happen for the rest of my life. I’m just going to bone these chicks and drop babies and take care of these kids and let these girls do what they do – sue me, whatever they do. I’m familiar with that. She said, ‘I want a commitment.’ I was like, ‘A commitment? What do you mean?’ And she said, ‘I want to do this. I want to establish ourselves as husband and wife.’ I said, ‘We’ll do that one day. One day we’ll do that.’ Then one day, I said, ‘Let’s just do it. Don’t wait to next week. Let’s do it right now.’ And I took a responsibility. I’m an extremist which is bad and good. Once I partake in something, I’m going all the way. I’m not going to cheat on you no more. I’m not going to drugs no more that could cause us to break-up… When I am dedicated to something, it gets too overbearing. When I’m dedicated to destroying my life, no one can stop me. When I’m dedicated to doing the right thing, no one can stop me. That’s the sickness that I have.”
On being in the Hangover:
“I was doing that to supply my drug habit. I’m sorry I’m coming at you guys like this… I said, ‘Wow, This is going to be really good. We’re going to sell this stuff on 42nd street on bootleg and make a lot of money.’ This is my best thinking on drugs… It wasn’t that way. It was an international success.
On if he would consider fighting again:
“I wouldn’t consider nothing to do with boxing. I couldn’t do that no more. I’d be petrified now. That’s not who I am anymore.”
This or That – Iron Mike or Baddest Man on the Planet?:
“Wow. They’re both a bunch of crap. Baddest Man on the Planet sells more tickets so I like that one.”
And on the worst part about being 350 pounds:
“It was hard to wipe my butt… I was sweating like some kind of guy from a moon project or something. It was crazy… All the clothes you see me with now are clothes that I had 15, 20 years ago. (Host: Did you have the back fat and everything?) Oh man the back fat. The back fat is when it’s so bad, your ass looks like a board. It’s like boom. The back and ass is one. It’s not like the back goes down and the butt protrudes. No. It’s just straight down. And then girls were telling me I looked great. It has to be a money deal. It had to be.”