Things You Didn't Know About Mike Tyson

From being friends with Darryl Baum (man accused of shooting 50 Cent) to a gun incident with Teddy Atlas, these are the craziest Mike Tyson stories and facts.

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Image via Getty/Lintao Zhang

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Who is Mike Tyson? To a younger generation of people who never watched him fight in his prime, he’s the guy you saw punch out Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover. Those of you who did get to watch Iron Mike go to work in the 1980’s and early 1990’s remember him as the most feared fighter on the planet, a man who towered over the heavyweight division for over half a decade.

That long-term shift in perception reflects the duality of Tyson’s life, even at his peak. When he had it all going for him in the ring, Tyson was a force of nature, leaving men bloodied and battered on the canvas. But he never found a way to channel the rage that fueled him, and it led to some shocking, even criminal missteps in his personal life. Jailed for rape in 1992, Tyson came back battered physically and mentally from his time in prison, and paid for his transgressions as his career spiraled down the drain. There was nothing more compelling than a Tyson fight when he had it all working, but once he lost his edge, he resorted to goon tactics in a desperate attempt to stay relevant. 

Think you know Tyson? Maybe you do, at least on the surface. But there’s a lot more to the man than meets the eye, and there are enough crazy stories from his life to last at least six lifetimes. He is both the youngest heavyweight champion ever and a man whose mental state sometimes bordered on insanity, a hip-hop hype man and a Phil Collins aficionado. Love him or hate him, Tyson is probably one of the most fascinating people alive, and that's what makes the idea of the soon-to-come Tyson biopic so fascinating.

These are some of the best, craziest, and sometimes deranged things you may not know about one of the greatest boxers ever.


He was a friend of Darryl "Hommo" Baum, the same man accused of shooting 50 Cent nine times back in 2000.

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Prior to allegedly shooting 50 Cent in May 2000, Darryl "Hommo" Baum served as Tyson's bodyguard. So two weeks after Baum was killed in June 2000apparently in retaliation for the 50 Cent shootingTyson dedicated his fight against Lou Savarese to him. "I love you with all my heart," Tyson said. "Oh, God, I'm mad." Aside from dedicating the fight to Baum, Tyson also allegedly put out a $50,000 "hit" on members of a street gang that he believed to have played a part in Baum's death.


He is the inspiration for a character in 'Street Fighter II,' but they had to switch the name to avoid a lawsuit

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He was the highest-paid athlete in the world in 1990, making more money than Michael Jordan.

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He appeared on a song with Madonna and Chance The Rapper

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Tyson may be famous for some of the most outlandish quips in history, like telling Lennox Lewis he wanted to eat his children, but he doesn't exactly have what you'd call a voice for singing. That hasn't stopped him from popping up on songs in the past, mostly in a spoken word capacity; he's best known in the music world as the hype man on Canibus' LL Cool J diss track, "Second Round K.O."

And while that combination made sense, Tyson made a somewhat random appearance on Madonna's 2015 album, Rebel Heart. He and Madonna are both "Iconic" in their own unique ways, but it's hard to figure how this one came together. Maybe next time he'll get behind the mic and actually rap a few bars.

He beat up seven prostitutes once when he was high.

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He caught Brad Pitt sneaking around with his former wife, Robin Givens

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It seems like a pretty dangerous move to cheat on Mike Tyson—have you seen how violent he can be?—but his ex-wife Robin Givens decided she'd had enough. With the couple nearing a divorce, Tyson told The Real Daytime that he spotted Brad Pitt with his soon-to-be-ex at the home the couple shared together. The rest is history.

"I was driving before I go to my divorce lawyer, I decided to go by the house we lived in and get a rump session before I go back and tell my lawyer," said Tyson. "Nobody's there, as I'm getting ready to leave to go to my car, there's a car that comes out, a BMW. I knew it was her car because I bought the car. So when I saw the car come out, I think maybe it's her and one of her girlfriends from the show, but it's not, it's a guy. And then I got mad, and of course I'm jealous at that time."

Thankfully for Pitt, Tyson didn't lay down the law. "We met each other and stuff, that was my first engagement [with him], he's a really nice guy." 

The Simpsons boxer character "Drederick Tatum" was designed to be a parody of Tyson.

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He contracted and was suffering from gonorrhea before his championship bout with Trevor Berbick in 1986.

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He beat up a garbage man for hurting one of his pigeons

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He abstained from sex for five years when he was an up-and-comer because he believed that having sex before a fight made him a weak boxer.

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For the record, Iron Mike isn't the first boxer to subscribe to the "no sex before a big fight" theory. Everyone from Manny Pacquiao to Amir Khan has also admitted to toning things down in the bedroom in the months leading up to a fight. But most boxers don't take it to the level that Tyson did at the start of his career. Don't worry, though. According to him, he's more than made up for missing out on those five years since then.


He had to pay Robin Givens $10 million in alimony despite separating less than a year after being married.

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Former trainer Teddy Atlas said he put a gun to Tyson's head after Iron Mike allegedly groped Atlas' 11-year-old ne

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In 1987, Nintendo's Mike Tyson's Punch-Out! sold over a million copies.

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He was borderline obese as a child; weighing nearly 200 lbs. by the age of 13.

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He swore revenge for Muhammad Ali as a teenager, and he delivered in the ring

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A massive fight fan at 14 years old, Tyson looked on as his hero, Muhammad Ali, was brutalized by his former sparring partner, Larry Holmes. Tyson used to listen in on calls between his mentor, Cus D'Amato, and Ali, and one night he mustered up the courage to promise Ali he'd get revenge on Holmes, as he described to Conan O'Brien in 2016.

The best part? Tyson delivered on that promise, laying a royal smackdown on Holmes in four rounds of boxing. He knocked down the former heavyweight champion three times in one round, delivering on the promise he made to the man he looked up to.

Tyson used a fake penis to pass drug tests before his fights

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It was once a tradition for him to receive fight-day wake-up calls from female rock star, Joan Jett. However, he di

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When he was imprisoned, Tyson converted to Islam, and gave himself the name Malik Abdul Aziz.

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He received a lifetime ban from boxing after biting Evander Holyfield's ear. The ban lasted only a year and a half.

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Tyson once said he was bummed out that he never killed someone in the ring

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He has a tattoo of Chairman Mao on his bicep.

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Central State University granted Tyson an honorary doctorate in 1989.

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He once owned three pet Bengal tigers.

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Tyson once offered to pay $10,000 for a chance to punch a gorilla

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He once stomped out Don King in front of a bunch of senior citizens at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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