Mike Tyson Once Offered $10,000 to a Zookeeper Face a Gorilla One on One


By: Hans Themistode

In the 1980s, there were plenty of ways to earn some money. Metal forging, coal mining and knitting mills were amongst the popular options. But fighting Mike Tyson was the last option. 

There was a reason why Tyson was once considered the “baddest man on the planet,” it’s because he was. Whenever a Mike Tyson fight came across your television screen, it made no sense to get up for a bathroom run, or go grab a snack from the fridge. Even blinking didn’t make sense. No, when Tyson came on, you stayed in your seat and stared at the ring. If you decided to do anything else, then chances are you missed his entire fight. 

From the moment he walked into the ring in 1985, Tyson was a one man show. On his way to the ring, he usually never wore socks or a robe. It simply took too long. 

Just hand him a pair of shoes, black trunks, put his gloves on and get out of the way. 

There was absolutely no one who could beat Tyson at that time. The fans knew it, the media knew it and most importantly, Tyson knew it. Usually when a fighter carries that aura of invincibility, they search for someone who can give them a fight. 

George Foreman found Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis found Hasim Rahman and most recently, Deontay Wilder found Tyson Fury. 

Before Tyson found James “Buster” Douglas, there was no one who could give him a good fight. So he went looking in an entirely different direction. 

“I paid a worker at New York’s zoo to re-open it just for me and [ex wife] Robin [Givens],” Tyson once told The Sun about a story that presumably took place before 1988. “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. I offered the attendant $10,000 to open the cage and let smash that silverback’s snot box! He declined.”

News of Tyson wanting to fight a gorilla are both surprising and not typical. For years, Tyson was known as an animal lover. His pet tiger for 15 years lends credence to that statement. 

It’s crazy enough as it is to own an actual tiger for so long, but it’s something else entirely to be willing to face a gorilla. For anyone else, the chances of beating a gorilla in a one on one fight would be considered infinitesimal. But for Tyson, he most likely would have walked into that cage as the overwhelming favorite.  

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