Many people use tattoos and other forms of body art to tell their stories–whether it is in memory of their loved ones, recognition of obstacles that they have overcome, or a symbol of something they are passionate about.
Mike Tyson has six tattoos in total, and each of them holds a unique meaning to him. Tyson has tattoos on his face, right bicep, shoulder, ribcage, left forearm, and right forearm.
You can see one of his most notable tattoos, which has become his trademark, in the Instagram post linked below.
Tyson’s Trademark Tattoo
If you see someone with an interesting tattoo, you will likely ask him why he chose it, when he decided to get the tattoo that would stay on his body forever, or what it means to him. The same is true for Mike Tyson, who holds special meaning behind each of his six tattoos.
Perhaps Mike Tyson’s most notable tattoo, the one that covers the left side of his face, requires the first explanation. Mike Tyson has Maori tribal art that covers one half of his face, but he originally wanted his whole face to be covered in tattoos.
He wanted his face to be covered in hearts, so others would know him as the “man of hearts.” However, his tattoo artist talked him out of it, and the two settled on the tribal art tattoo.
Others assumed Tyson got the tattoo as a way of being different, or to make himself stick out. But in fact, it was the opposite.
Mike Tyson got his face tattooed because he wanted to cover it, and it was created out of personal dismay. The young man had gone through a series of challenges–the deaths of several loved ones, a stint of time spent in prison, and emotional health concerns–led him to want to “deface himself” through tattoos.
You can hear more of Mike Tyson’s thoughts on his face tattoo, using the YouTube link below.
It is a sad reality to hear about the past troubles that Mike Tyson has had to go through, and there have been rumors that he is going to have the tattoo removed. However, he claims that that is simply false.
The tattoo now reminds him of all that he has been through, and has become the trademark that other people know him by. Now, he loves it.
Mike Tyson’s Other, Lesser Known Tattoos
Mike Tyson also has a tattoo on his right bicep of Mao Zedong, a Chinese communist revolutionary. During his time in prison, Tyson studied and related to Zedong’s political beliefs.
Looking for more meaning in his life, Tyson used the tattoo to pay tribute to his new influence.
On Mike Tyson’s rib cage, he has a tattoo of Che Guevara. He claims that he chose this tattoo because, “Che Guevara is an incredible individual. He had so much, but sacrificed it all for the benefit of other people.”
It seems Tyson has a theme of influential people tattooed on his body.
In a unique way, Tyson showed his appreciation and admiration for his now ex-wife by getting a tattoo of her face on his left forearm.
Appearing to be another inspiration, tennis star Arthur Ashe is featured on Tyson’s shoulder with the words, “days of grace.” Tyson might not be the biggest tennis star, but Ashe was also known for his support of local causes, which could be one reason why Tyson was inspired by him.
Lastly, Tyson has a dragon on his right forearm that signifies strength, wisdom, and freedom in Chinese culture.
Regardless of personal meaning, one thing is for sure. Tyson embodies strength, wisdom, and freedom – as do many of the other inspirations that he has tattooed on his body–and his tattoos represent who he has been, is now, and will be in the future.