ESPN’s Zach McCann spoke with Mike Tyson about his charity, his personal journey, his one-man show, and the UFC.
Zach McCann: You’ve said in the past you’re not a changed man, you’re just in a different phase of your life. Is that what you mean?
Mike Tyson: People always say this guy has changed or whatever, but nobody has ever changed. People just choose to go a different direction with their life. I chose a direction in my life, a direction that is profitable for other people, more so than me. That’s why I don’t do things for myself anymore. If I do things for myself, I’m self-destructive. But to see I can do things that pay it forward and help other people, I see that as something admirable to do, instead of just being greedy and getting rich for myself. I can do so much more now for other people than I’ve always done.
ZM: These days, with UFC being so popular, boxing isn’t necessarily getting the best fighters. If you were an 18-year-old kid now, would you still be a boxer?
Mike Tyson: That’d all depend on my trainer. When I came up, my trainer was a boxing guy. If my guy was in UFC, I’d probably go that way.
Zach McCann: You’re into MMA, right?
Mike Tyson: Oh yeah, I love UFC, big time. How could you not be? They play UFC so much, you see it year round, and you just have to want to be a fan. If you’re not a fan, you’re not cool.
I think some young kids may think that in boxing you’re so restricted with just your punching power and your hand speed. In natural fighting, anything goes; you’re not restricted at all. Anything on your body is a weapon. I don’t disagree with that. Wouldn’t you like to have more than just your hands to fight with? You know how I feel; I got into a fight and bit Evander’s ear off. I didn’t plan to do it, that’s just how the mind thinks in that situation.