In the midst of a global pandemic, it seems everyone is tuning into the hit Netflix series, “Tiger King.” However, it seems that Joe Exotic might not be the original “Tiger King.”
Mike Tyson might have been the Tiger King in the early 1990s, but he is no longer. Tyson claims that he regrets owning tigers in the past and that it was “foolish” and “wrong” to try and domesticate such large animals.
Tyson owned three tigers at once, naming him the “Baddest Man on the Planet,” but he now claims that it was not worth the reputation boost.
Still, you can see his recent Instagram post with its clever caption–”The original tiger king”–using the link below.
A Bold Replacement for “Man’s Best Friend”
In March 1995, Tyson was awaiting his pending release from prison, and talking to a mutual friend who was a car dealer about buying a new exotic car upon release.
In conversation, the friend mentioned that he had access to purchasing wild animals. Tyson liked the idea, and by the time he was released from prison, he had two tiger cubs waiting for him at home.
The tigers did become Tyson’s friends in a sense. He gained a large amount of attention from them, even appearing in the movie “The Hangover” with the tigers.
You can watch some of the scenes with Mike Tyson from “The Hangover” using the YouTube link below.
He loved having them ride in his exotic cars with him, posing as people in the back seat. And, despite their massive size and wild nature, he even slept with them.
Hindsight is 20/20
Looking back, Mike Tyson regrets owning the beautiful, intensely powerful animals. On a recent Instagram Live session with musician Fat Joe, Tyson said “There’s no way you can domesticate these cats 100 percent. No way that’s going to happen. They’ll kill you by accident, especially when you’re playing rough with them, you’re punching them back. They get hyped up, hit you back, and you’re dead.”
In that sense, he is lucky he did not get hurt. Unfortunately, someone else did.
Tyson’s pet tiger of nearly 16 years, who was named Kenya, was spooked when someone she did not know came onto the property. The woman was intrigued by the tigers, and hopped the fence to play with Kenya, who was beautiful but anything but docile.
At around 550 pounds, Kenya charged the trespasser and bit her arm off. If she had given her even one hit with her massive frame, she could have easily killed her.
The accident was settled for $250,000, thanks to Tyson’s excessive wealth at the time, but the horror of the incident caused Tyson to get rid of his beloved tiger after spending 16 years together. Thankfully, the woman who was trespassing his property survived.
Older and wiser, Mike Tyson emphatically expresses that it was wrong for him to own tigers in the past. Not only did it put him at risk, but the tiger also harmed another human and that is something he has to accept.
If Mike Tyson, the former “baddest man on the planet,” is warning us to avoid owning tigers as pets, maybe we should take his advice. If nothing else, there are plenty of other ways you can spend the $4,000 per month that it took to care for the tigers.