Mike Tyson Interview Transcript
MIKE TYSON: Hey Guys
Is there anything you don’t like to talk about in the show? Something that hurts you to talk about.
MIKE TYSON: You went right to the hurt part, huh? I speak about my daughter towards the end of the show and that’s kind of not a pretty sight.
Did you have to be pushed to talk about everything?
MIKE TYSON: I talk about everything that everyone knows about. They have seen them in the press and they don’t know the underlying factors – I am expressing that.
MIKE TYSON: They know it all so I have to talk about it or they would say, ‘that’s bull’ because they know it. What they don’t know it how i got started and what caused the altercation. They just know about the altercation. I am expressing the underlying story.
Did you have a relationship with Spike Lee?
MIKE TYSON: When I fought Alex Stewart, Spike came in and he did the promo for it. It was a 24/7 – one of those types of things. He was awesome. He was just wonderful on the One-Man-Show on Broadway. The little perfection that he impressed upon us just did wonders for the show.
How did doing the show change your understanding of yourself?
MIKE TYSON: I really learned a lot by expressing myself – that I am an interesting guy – you know? I can conform with society. I want to entertain people and i don’t know if that comes from my frustrations, from wanting to accomplish things, my goals? I don’t know, it just comes from a lot of things. I didn’t want to be a failure in life, I want to leave a good legacy from a missionary perspective – caring for people like myself when i was a young kid and that’s what is on my mind now. I want to be a champion in that rather than a champion as a so-called celebrity guy because I never realized that giving would give me so much fulfillment. That’s why I am so dedicated to this Mike Tyson Care Foundation to give kids a fighting chance. That’s what I’m about now.
Does the show bring up memories in your life?
MIKE TYSON: I do feel the memories and i think about some and every now and then i get a pain and I try to be very objective. Some of this stuff does hurt. Some of it does really hurt. The stuff that hurts the most the crowd laughs at. It takes me back and i don’t know how to deal with that. I think ‘that’s funny?’ They are the turning points in my life that destroyed me, and that’s funny?
Do you think you have found your sea legs on stage?
MIKE TYSON: I am comfortable now but i still have my doubts and jitters about certain cities you go to and what their personality is. But then I realized that everybody has the same sense of humor.
What city would make you think twice?
MIKE TYSON: For example when I was in Australia, I did something similar to when I was in New York and they thought it was amazing, and I was like ‘whoa.’ It was hard to do the show because if i even sneezed they would go berserk. I was so grateful for that and it gave me so much confidence doing it.
Can you draw comparisons to fight night?
MIKE TYSON: 100%. The doubt and the fear of being a failure is there. Not succeeding is there. The only thing that’s different is I don’t have to go to the hospital afterwards.
MIKE TYSON: One was I was on stage and someone was talking – I didn’t know what was going one – and they said “I’m going to kill you.’ It was on Broadway when it happened and they arrested him of course. But the funniest thing was in Australia. They stage is elevated about 12 feet and the guy tried to climb from the balcony to the stage and he fell down and I said “holy, moly.’ He tried to jump on the stage from the balcony.
Did you take the threatening seriously?
MIKE TYSON: Well, I was nervous because that week someone threatened to do a shooting at one of my shows, so I thought ‘are they really going to do this, or what?’
What was your initial reaction to Camacho’s death?
MIKE TYSON: My initial reaction was “Damn, I just saw the guy.’ I thought that could easily be me if I hadn’t had these life-changing decisions. Some people say it was over some rivalry stuff but I remember being in the street saying ‘I’m not going to be the tough guy.’ I’m tired of paying. Being the tough guy, someone is scared to fight you. He sees you when you don’t expect it and your guard is down and that’s what happens. I’m not saying that’s what happened to Hector but that’s how I was living my life.
Did you think you would make it to 46?
I didn’t think I would make it to 25. God blessed me that I went to prison that time. I was just crazy. I was so out of control. I didn’t know how out of control I was until I was in prison. I took that as a blessing.
You open the show in Indianapolis, where you had all the trouble – have you come full circle?
MIKE TYSON: I don’t look at things like that. I look at this as an opportunity for those people that witnessed it. We do have disagreements in what happened in the case. That was the person then and this is the person now. It is going to be so awesome and I hope my lawyer comes who was invited. Even with the trials and tribulations I had in Indianapolis I have a great deal of friends there. I’m not going to be one that worries about the past.
MIKE TYSON: The Mike Tyson Cares Foundation, we are going to have, on December 7 before the Pacquiao-Marquez fight – at the Tabu Lounge in MGM Grand from 7-10 PM – we are giving homeless kids a fighting chance in life. We are thinking about doing this in every city we do our show in. This is something I have embarked on and going full speed ahead, in the most cautious way I can, because there is so much a satisfaction in helping these people – just like I needed the help. I was one of these kids. Whoever thought a kid like that could become Mike Tyson that people all over the world know, because of Cus D’Amato and Bobby Stewart and all those guys they would never believe this ever happened.
What gets you going more, being on stage or in ring?
MIKE TYSON: I would say now, because doing this is helping so many people. When I was doing it back then it was about getting myself and my friends rich and that’s no what I am about at all. I am so happy that some of those friends are now involved in the Mike Tyson Care’s because they get to do both. This is what I want to do – to have a legacy of caring and the feeling is so awesome.
MIKE TYSON: The goal is to have a Mike Tyson Cares Foundation in every city. Andre Agassi is like the model I want to compare myself to. He has one of the best schools in the nation in the African-American community in Las Vegas.
Does the show change from night to night?
MIKE TYSON: Do you know what dictates that? The fans dictate that. It depends on how they react. I do a lot of add-lib.
What is next for the show – overseas?
MIKE TYSON: If this goes well, I’d like to do an international tour. Then a tour for charity. Then we will do another chapter in my life, like after I retired – after the McBride fight – then the recovery. You are going to love this. This guy is interviewing me and these guys start yelling at him, calling him names, and I tell them to stop, because it is Ramadan – he’s a man, he’s a human being. Next thing you know, I’m in the gym and the FBI comes and surrounds the gym and I am getting nervous, thinking ‘what did I touch at the club last night?’ – but then it wouldn’t be the FBI coming to see me about that, right? No, they brought this guy in, and I said I was sorry if I did anything. They said, “No, he likes you Mike, not like the other 25 guys that he shot.” It was Dale Hausner, a boxing guy. He is going around sniping people (Phoenix sniper) and they came to me because there was a photo on his web site of me shaking his hand. I guess they thought I was an accomplice, and I said, “no, no.’
I’m glad you liked Australia…
MIKE TYSON: The Australian press thought I was the abominable snowman or something. They thought I was scary, I thought, ‘who, chill out dude.’ They thought I was going to give them a knuckle sandwich like back in the old days.
Would Cus be shocked or proud with what you are doing with your life right now?
MIKE TYSON: This is difficult. Cus would say I should be fighting. “You’re still healthy, you’re still strong. You lost because you didn’t have the interest no more.” He would have my sons fighting. He would have my daughters boxing. That’s just how he is. He would be happy I am taking care of my family. That’s No. 1 – he would love that. But he would say my sons should be fighting and the girls should be fighting – that’s just who he is. I am 46 years old and Cus would still have me fighting. That’s not going to happen.
You are coming to Detroit and we just lost a great man here in Emanuel Stewart…
MIKE TYSON: Mm, mmm. He changed the game. I think Manny was one of the last old school fighter and I way that because he had all the great champions and he had them all in the same gym. His amateur team was always the best amateur team in the world because he had them boxing the great fighters. They were always competitive with great competition. They always won the trophies and they were magnificent with a magnificent trainer – he was just the man.
Maybe Tommy Hearns could come to one of your show?
MIKE TYSON: I have to go and represent. Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson – I have to go represent in the Motor City.
When you fought at The Palace – it was a bad night then you tested positive for marijuana…
MIKE TYSON: I don’t know. Did you see how Golota looked? I was nervous. I had to relax, man. Do you remember? He looked crazy, man.
Manny would have loved to be there…
MIKE TYSON: Manny would have been backstage – he would have been talking – he was so good. He was just a beautiful guy.
What do you do to connect with the fans while on stage?
MIKE TYSON: It is different when you are on the stage. In that perspective, you feel the fans and I can’t even explain it. You know what they want. I feel very grateful and I do it for the people. I appreciate the people that appreciate my life.
Tell me about the show…
MIKE TYSON: It’s like a roller coaster of emotions, my life. I hope they understand the story – it’s not about loss, it’s about victories and triumphs, mistakes, heartbreak. It’s what you have to go through to be a complete human being.
Have you been heckled?
MIKE TYSON: Yes, I have been heckled.
How do you deal with it?
MIKE TYSON: It depends on what mood I am in.
Would you jump off the stage and go after people?
MIKE TYSON: I don’t know – you never know. I may do one of those rock and roll things when a guy jumps off the stage – I don’t know.
You said when you did Hangover you were fat and high on cocaine…
MIKE TYSON: Well, you saw the movie. I was heavy, dude.
How do you get ready to perform now?
MIKE TYSON: I am ready to perform. The stage gets me high. The fans get me high. That’s the high I was looking for when I did drugs and could never receive it. Now it’s back and I’m back here doing what I love to do and give them the perspective of who I am.
Next, would you do Dancing with the Stars?
MIKE TYSON: I don’t know about Dancing with the Stars. I’d like to do some satire.
We are looking forward to you coming to Charlotte…
MIKE TYSON: My father was from Charlotte, North Carolina. That’s going to be funny because I am going to talk about him in the show so that is going to be real interesting.
How does your family feel about you being brutally honest as you are?
MIKE TYSON: As I told it to my wife who wrote it, she tried to sugarcoat it at first but I had to explain that it is the guy they know. It is not the guy you fell in love with. She had to write it down as I explained it to her, what kind of guy this guy was back then.
What is the level of anxiety of doing this compare to a fight?
MIKE TYSON: I have the same anxiety but the only difference is the anxiety of failing. When you are an entertainer you get applause. An entertainer hears the one that is not applauding, not he 50,000 that are applauding. That’s what he hears and that’s what he looks for.
Do you think about being a main character in a movie?
MIKE TYSON: Absolutely – I am willing to do that as well. I am open for pretty much everything.
What about the trials and tribulations of life?
MIKE TYSON: The football player that just killed the young lady and himself. His heart was shatter and he thought his life was meaningless but you have to come back from it. We come back, we don’t go the full 9 yards. Everyone has to go through moments like that to become a complete human being. Man and woman – we overcome it. You have to overcome it. I know you lost this or that but it’s not over. Love plays tricks and sometimes it’s not what it is.
MIKE TYSON: Black Americans look at themselves as being American, but being black too. We look out ourselves in two perspectives. We have to allow our consciences to supersede our color and look at life for what it is.
MIKE TYSON: Do you know any Kirkpatrick’s from Charlotte? I am a Kirkpatrick from Charlotte. We have lots of children, so you probably know some.
How has Spike Lee helped you in the show?
MIKE TYSON: I thought Spike Lee was awesome on Broadway. He put so much into the show and has made it so much better. He has an awesome way of looking at things that I could never conceive of – a movement, a stare, a sit, a stoop and it changed the whole dynamics of the show.
Has the show changed since Broadway?
MIKE TYSON: No, but it is so spectacular, I don’t want to change it. It is an awesome show and I am grateful for Spike.
What other countries would you like to go to?
MIKE TYSON: Any one of them – Saudi Arabia, Scandinavia, a Philippine tour. We could even do a show where they don’t speak our language and have interpreters on speakers. I would really like to go to India and participate in some kind of charity there.
Has the show helped with your sobriety?
MIKE TYSON: If the show started and I said this is my life, I would show emotions and start feeling sorry for myself. I would think I am nothing, my mother was a bad woman but I don’t do it from that perspective. I am an actor – I don’t get too emotionally involved with it because it would be disastrous.
How do you feel about a marijuana string named after Mike Tyson?
MIKE TYSON: That’s interesting- there has always been a Mike Tyson string even when I was fighting in Baltimore. I always look at thing from a different perspective – that’s not who I am and not who I am representing and I just wouldn’t do it.
Who would you credit for your life transformation?
MIKE TYSON: A lot of it would have to go to my wife but there are other people as well. I am like Frankenstein – it took a lot of people to put me together. A lot of people contribute stuff and in time of tragedy they all came into play.
What food do you miss most since you became a vegan?
MIKE TYSON: I don’t miss anything because if I did I would be eating it. I don’t gain weight as fast as I did when I ate meat and processed stuff and it has made me a better person. I know it sounds weird but it makes me want to live life on life’s terms. You run into brick walls but you want to look at it in a positive perspective.
Have you thought about making the stage show into a movie?
MIKE TYSON: I just want to entertain the fans and participate in more charities. I’m not looking at it from an ambitious point of view to gain status, just giving and being of service.
Ontario…have you ever been to Canada?
MIKE TYSON: I have been to Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.
Because of problem in New Zealand, do you have worries of going to other countries?
MIKE TYSON: Listen, I take it only to the countries that want me, and Canada is one of the countries that wants me.
What are you going to do in Niagara Falls?
MIKE TYSON: Hey, look at the falls. When I was in the amateurs, I used to box there.
How do compare boxing now to when you were fighting?
MIKE TYSON: I don’t remember what it was like when I was fighting. I was not objective. I was too busy fighting to know how big the event was.
Do you follow it now?
MIKE TYSON: Periodically I do, yes. And I like the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
We look forward to you coming to Spokane…
MIKE TYSON: I have never been to Spokane. I have boxed in the amateurs with guys from Spokane, but never been there.
What should we expect from the show?
MIKE TYSON: Everything, expect everything. It is going to be a roller coaster, ups and downs, you might cry and you might laugh. It’s really not that funny but it is interesting.
What caused you to get into this?
MIKE TYSON: I saw Chaz Palminteri and Bronx Tales and I was taken away by that and that kind of inspired me to do the show.
What is your fear when you go on stage?
MIKE TYSON: You don’t want to be a klutz and mess up – you want to connect with the people. You want to speak right and speak clear – a lot of things go with that.
The Mike Tyson Nintendo video game that my 9-year-old daughter plays – have you ever played that game?
MIKE TYSON: Holy, moly, not once. I caught on late to video games. I am a video game junky now. I caught on in 2006 and I can’t stop now. I am doing the Black Ops thing right now. I am killing the zombies right now.
What advice would you give kids that want to go into pro sports?
MIKE TYSON: Things are so different right now. You have to have parents that, once you find you have the aptitude for that stuff, you have them find a good lawyer for you. It is going to be something that is going to change your life. A massive contract is going to change your life and peoples’ perspective of you and you need grounded forces behind you – that is just my experience.
Which do you like better, movies or stage?
MIKE TYSON: I like the stage better. I am acting in movies but there are a bunch of cuts and they make sure you look good but on stage you have to be on top of your game. You’ve got to be in place, you can’t just take it for granted. That’s why I think the stage is more exhilarating.
Are you disappointed you are not in the next Hangover movie?
MIKE TYSON: I am appreciative I was in the first two. I am very grateful I was in the first two.
Is there anything you would take out of a previous show and not use again?
MIKE TYSON: Maybe something that was a little too extreme and I took it out. I had said some things about Robin that my wife thought shouldn’t be in there.
Camacho, Gatti – did you ever think ‘that could’ve or should have been me?’
MIKE TYSON: All the time my friend, all the time. They were not as reckless as I was and the level of notoriety that I was at – out there all the time. I was out there and not behind closed doors. I was like a bully too, I didn’t want to pay the drug dealer his money now and it was very ugly and I’m grateful I changed my life around.
Tell me your greatest boxers of all time.
MIKE TYSON: Oh man, don’t do that too me. I can’t do that right now. There are too many great ones. Ali, Louis, Robinson, Marciano, God. WHOOO – there are too many great fighters, you can’t do that. It’s just impossible.
Do you feel some people may be laughing at you and not with you?
MIKE TYSON: That’s tricky. My low self esteem would make me think that. That’s the devil in me that would make me think that – that I’m not funny and I’m a clown. I don’t feed into that – change that channel. I have to perform.
I asked Johnny Cochran if you ever contacted you about the rape case and he said no but wished you did.
MIKE TYSON: I believe my lawyer did defend some criminals but he wasn’t really a good lawyer and he didn’t represent me well but I don’t have any hard feeling or hold grudges because I think that was such an amazing experience for me that I survived and I’m doing what I am doing now. It is symbolic how I conducted myself in the early ‘90s in Indianapolis and how I conduct myself now that shows evidence of my growth. Now I can go to Indiana for the shows and they can witness that.
What will you say to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates?
MIKE TYSON: I don’t know if it is going to be St. Peter at the Pearly Gate. I just hope I make it to the Pearly Gates but we’ll have to see when the time comes.
What is the Mike Tyson Cares Foundation?
MIKE TYSON: Giving kids a fighting chance in life. We have groups that give school supplies and medical supplies to over 7000 homeless children and I think it is just awesome. Our society gives up on kids so quickly and we send them to prison and spend taxpayers money on them. Many of us are just happy to get our check not caring what is going on in our society – it’s not good.
What would you change in your life?
MIKE TYSON: Maybe I wouldn’t have slept with as many women as I did.
What do you think about MMA now than when you started?
MIKE TYSON: I think they are so much better now than when they first started.
Did you ever think about doing MMA?
MIKE TYSON: Cus would have had to have been a MMA trainer. It was all on who I was involved with. If my mentor were a hockey coach I would have been a hockey player.
MIKE TYSON: Gracie and Fedora Emelianenko are my favorite MMA fighters of all time. Right now they have St. Pierre and Jones, who is the king right now. There is a big fight this weekend but I can record it so I can watch Pacquaio-Marquez.
What would Cus think of you now?
MIKE TYSON: I just know what to do and what not to do because of my experience with him, which I didn’t do before because I wasn’t seasoned enough to do it. When Cus died I was young and not seasoned enough to follow his orders. I was just a kid – 19-years-old living a rigid life. I think about him all the time and I wish he saw my kids.