Often adopting something of an anti-hero persona, footage of Mike Tyson ‘playing’ with one of his pet tigers is solidifying his role as a madman.
A frequent provider for media hysterics within and without the ring, Tyson often came under fire for his antics – least of all the well-known biting-off of Evander Holyfield’s ear.
But part of that made him a hugely financially successful figure. It’s believed that at the peak of his career he was worth around $300 million.
And unsure how to make use of his money, Tyson thought it best to purchase three white Bengal tigers, estimated to be around £48,000 each. Two females by the names of Kenya and Storm and a male named Boris.
The monthly maintenance of each animal was thought to be around $4,000 a month, while the yearly food bill is estimated at $200,000 a year.
One of the tigers Kenya was obtained by Tyson while he was still in prison. He elected to buy the cat rather than a luxury vehicle… as you do.
On ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ podcast, Tyson explained his purchase: “I said [to the car dealer] ‘Can you get me some tigers?’ The guy said ‘imagine how cool that would be?’
“Because I had a bunch of fancy cars, ‘imagine that man, you’d be in an Aston Martin or a Ferrari. You’d have a tiger right next to you, man. That’d be so awesome.’ And I’m a young guy. I’m saying to myself ‘wow, that would be cool. Get me some cubs, man.’”
Footage surfaced of Tyson playing with one of the tigers back in 1996, the monster feline clutching at the boxer while running around with a ball in its mouth. The video also shows the tiger going for a swim, on a leash held by Tyson.
He had to get rid of Kenya, however, when she became too old and her eyes suffered… and after she ripped somebody’s arm off, the boxer said.
Without the necessary license to own the animals, they were sent to Colorado to continue their lives.
He has since admitted it was an unnecessary risk to own the dangerous animals, citing the inability to completely tame them.
“I was foolish. There’s no way you can domesticate these cats 100 per cent.
“There’s no way that’s going to happen. They’ll kill you by accident, especially when you’re playing rough with them, you’re punching them back. They get hyped up, hit you back and you’re dead.”
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