Mike Tyson Offered More Than $20 Million to Fight Again in Bare-Knuckle Boxing Match

Should Iron Mike really return to the ring?

Mike Tyson at a movie premiere.
Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson became boxing’s youngest heavyweight champion boxer at age 20, and now the long-retired pugilistic icon is considering a return to the ring at 53.

You’d think that Tyson, now a certified celebrity podcaster with his own brand of weed, would be ready to relax. After all, his last fight was a dismal loss loss to the unheralded Irishman Kevin McBride in 2005. But Iron Mike may well be preparing for a boxing comeback, and this time he may not even bother with gloves.

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The New York Post reports:

The former heavyweight champion is expected to be offered a contract by Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship that will exceed the $20 million pact the company extended to Tyson earlier this month and include charitable donations, the organization’s president told MMA Fighting.

“I think I know what we need to do to make this thing happen,” BKFC president David Feldman said.

Only Tyson’s age makes this unexpected. In the last year, more than one video of him demonstrating that even in his fifties he’s still got ferocious speed and power has gone viral. 


Speaking to rapper Lil Wayne on his podcast May 23, Tyson said he’s “got many guys” lined up and ready to take him on. 

“Listen,” Tyson said, “we’ve got so many guys that want to do this, man. We’re in calls, we’re doing business with guys right now. You’re not going to believe the names when the names come out. Sometime this week, we’ll have the contract done.”

The match would be for charity, reports the Post, but it may be that as far as Evander Holyfield is concerned, it wouldn’t be a bad way to settle scores. Though the two-time former Tyson foe is even older at 57, TMZ reported in May that Holyfield was on the road to (yet another) comeback as well. 

Tyson was famously disqualified from a 1997 match against Holyfield for biting a chunk out of his opponent’s ear. The Sun recently quoted Holyfield “Yes, I want to fight Mike Tyson. I can definitely handle him. … But Mike would have to want to do it as well.”

While Tyson’s return may seem exciting to casual fans, most experienced combat sports observers, from UFC president Dana White to veteran boxing writers, are urging him to stay retired. 

But money talks, and time will tell if we’ll see Tyson in the ring again, whether it’s a bareknuckle fight or merely an exhibition match. Gloves on or off? Who knows? For $20 million, it might be worth the pain, regardless.