There’s a new page to the legend of Mike Tyson’s Royal Bengal tigers and it’s the odd, spur-of-the-moment way he decided to become a big cat dad.
The former heavyweight boxing champion explained his acquisition of the tigers Tyson during an appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast Thursday.
Warning: Graphic language
Tom Segura, asking the real questions: “What made you think you could get a tiger?”
“So I’m in prison at the time. So I’m in prison and I’m talking to my car dealer at the time and he has some cars that belong to a friend of mind — that’s both a friend of ours — and he’s discussing if [the friend] doesn’t pay for these cars I’m going to sell these cars to somebody and get some horses.
I said, ‘What, you can get horses? Trade horses in for cars?’ Because I had a lot of cars, I’d probably get some horses, too.
He said, ‘Yeah man, you can get cougars, lions, tigers.’ I said, ‘Dude can you get me some tigers?’
He said, ‘Man, imagine how cool that’d be. Imagine that man you’d be in the Aston Martin or Ferrari, you’d have a tiger right next to you, man.’
And I’m a young guy. I’m saying to myself, ‘Wow, that’d be cool.’ I said, ‘Yeah get me some cubs, man.’
When I come home I had cubs there waiting for me.”
The hosts made sure to share a picture of Tyson, in his underwear, holding a tiger by the chain with all three calling it “peak crazy.”
“One minute, he will try and take a chunk out of you, and then the next minute, he will try and lick you,” Tyson told Inside Edition in 1996. “You have got to be very cautious with him.”
The tigers Tyson reportedly cost $4,000 a month to feed and more than $100,000 a year to insure.
It’s easy to get a tiger in the U.S., if you have the cash (or expensive cars). As many as 7,000 are kept in the country in zoos or privately owned — double the 3,890 estimated to live in the wild around the world. New legislation attempts to qualm the number of big cats in captivity.
Tyson told the hosts he didn’t know what was going through his mind in hindsight, as he thought he was going to get horses.
We should all be so lucky he didn’t, because a horse neighing in the backseat doesn’t elicit the same laughter.
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