Mike Tyson Allegedly Offered Zookeeper $10,000 To Let Him Fight ‘Bully’ Gorilla

Mike Tyson at the premiere of 'Taking on Tyson', and a Silverback Gorilla
lev radin / bimserd / Shutterstock

Former boxer Mike Tyson has always been a bit of an eccentric character. The 52-year-old has a tattoo down half his face, has owned several pet tigers as well as 350 pet pigeons, and even considered becoming a missionary at one point after converting to Islam and retiring from boxing. Wanting to a fight a silverback gorilla known for bullying others of his species at the New York Zoo can apparently now be added to that list.

Tyson recently told the Sun that he offered a zookeeper $10,000 to let him fight the gorilla in the late 1980s. According to the publication, the former heavyweight champion had been visiting the zoo with his wife Robin Givens late one night after having bribed a zookeeper to open the facility for them after hours.

He then explained that while the pair of them were enjoying their private, romantic stroll through the quiet zoo, he realized that one of the massive male gorillas in the enclosure appeared to be picking on his enclosure-mates.

“When we got to the gorilla cage there was one big silverback gorilla there just bullying all the other gorillas. They were so powerful but their eyes were like an innocent infant,” Tyson told the publication.

Despite what might have been a tempting offer on hand, the zookeeper had the good sense to deny Tyson the chance to go toe-to-toe with a 400-pound gorilla.

“I offered the attendant $10,000 to open the cage and let smash that silverback’s snotbox! He declined.”

Whether or not there is any likelihood that Tyson would have come off the victor in that particular match-up is probably debatable, given how incredibly strong fully grown male gorillas are as well as their general ignorance of normal fight club rules.

Tyson won gold medals at the 1981 and 1982 Junior Olympics and beaten some of the biggest names in the business, including Trevor Berbick, during his career. However, it would still be unfair to realistically compare any of his past competitors to a huge gorilla that could probably just sit on him.

Although he apparently took exception to this particular animal and its bullying, Tyson is a well-documented lover of animals.

He also has a love of marijuana. In 2018, bought himself a 40-acre ranch in California where he now grows cannabis. The ranch is scheduled to be hosting a weed-friendly music festival this weekend, the Kind Music Festival, according to the Growth Op.