While former heavyweight champion George Foreman already revealed to Heavy that he’d probably be a UFC fighter had he come along in today’s sports climate where such a thing was a viable option, fellow all-time great heavyweight champ Mike Tyson divulged to renowned sports journalist Brant James that he’d pretty much always choose boxing over MMA for one reason.
“MMA will always have more views and stuff than boxing, but boxers will always make more money than MMA fighters,” Tyson said.
Tyson admitted the economics of the situation didn’t make much sense to him. Why elite superstar boxers make exponentially more than their MMA counterparts stands out to him like a sore thumb.
“That’s tricky,” Tyson said. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Still, when asked whether Tyson would have been interested in being a UFC fighter had that company been around during Tyson’s prime years as a fighter, Tyson said he just couldn’t quite get over the vast differences in pay.
“I don’t know, because they don’t make enough money in my perspective,” Tyson said. “It’s exciting and sexy, but [UFC fighters] don’t make enough money.”
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Tyson’s Career Full of Ups and Downs
Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion ever (20 years, four months) when he defeated Trevor Berbick for the WBC title in 1986. By the next year, Tyson had already become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
But Tyson suffered a shocking loss to James “Buster” Douglas in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history in 1990. Two years after that, Tyson was convicted of rape and sentenced to six years in prison.
He was released on parole after serving three years.
Tyson’s stunning comeback to boxing netted him another run as heavyweight champion. He combined with Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield to help make the 1990s one of the deepest and best divisions ever. Since retiring in 2005, Tyson has appeared in numerous films and remains an icon of pop culture.
Mike Tyson vs. Tyson Fury?
James also asked Tyson what he thinks about Tyson Fury and how he thinks he’d match up against the current heavyweight champion, who was amazingly named after “Iron Mike”.
But Tyson wouldn’t budge on giving an answer to that question. Instead, the 53-year-old praised the lineal and WBC heavyweight champ Fury and said he was “humbled” that the British boxer had been named after him and was doing so well in his career right now.
But as far as Tyson vs. Fury? Prime vs. prime?
“I don’t know, it’s just different times,” Tyson said. “He is the man in his day. I was the man in my day. There’s no way we can compare that.”
You can hear more of James’ interview with Tyson below.