(Pictured above: The exception to the rule.)
There isn’t a human being among us who doesn’t have some skeletons in their closet. As a species, we are often genetically predisposed to mental disease, addiction, and all kinds of abnormal behavior. When combined with the meat grinder that is everyday life in the public eye, it is only a matter of time before some of these skeletons, these abnormal tendencies, are uncovered for the world to see and later criticize from our two most prestigious ivory towers, Hindsight and Judgement.
And while there are plenty of combat sports competitors who were raised under “normal” circumstances in a “normal” household, who went on to become poster boys for the “normalness” of their organizations/sports and so on, there are just as many fighters who came from nothing, and when faced with the overwhelming eye of the public, allowed these abnormal tendencies to be placed center stage and eventually destroy them.
One such fighter is Mike Tyson, who after rising to the highest ranks of the boxing world some thirty years ago, saw his fame, fortune, and fanbase crumble beneath the weight of drug addiction and scandal. Nowadays, a wiser, gentler Tyson has emerged, unabashedly sharing the most intimate details of his past in an effort to both restore his shattered reputation and warn young fighters of the potential dangers they could face down the line.
The problem is, “Iron Mike” is being a little *too* candid as of late.
While we’ve heard Tyson admit to being “a vicious alcoholic on the verge of death” in recent months, the former boxing great’s memoir, Undisputed Truth, hit stands earlier today and Jesus tittyfucking Christ is it revealing. Uncomfortably so. The Sydney Morning Herald passes along a few revelations:
“I was a full-blown cokehead,” Tyson says in Undisputed Truth, published today (Wednesday). Recalling his shock 2004 loss to Britain’s Danny Williams, he reveals he was taking drugs until shortly before the fight.
He says that he was high before taking to the ring for a match against Lou Savarese in Glasgow in June 2000 – and came up with an ingenious method to prevent detection by the sport’s official testers.
Confessing that he had taken “blow” and “pot” before the bout, he says: “I had to use my whizzer, which was a fake penis where you put in someone’s clean urine to pass your drug test”. He blamed a $200,000 fine for testing positive for marijuana after a 2000 fight against Andrew Golota in Detroit on the fact that he was tested before having a chance to get the ‘whizzer’ from a member of his team, whom he claims typically carried the device from fight to fight.
Tyson explains that he had taken cocaine before a notorious televised press conference with Lennox Lewis in New York in January 2002, which descended into an onstage brawl between the rival camps. “I lost my mind,” Tyson recalls. “I looked over at him and wanted to hit the mother——.” As the pair of heavyweights tussled, Tyson bit Lewis’s leg.
We understand that these revelations will likely make Tyson even more endearing to his legion of fans, but at the same time, it’s sad to see that these horror stories are all that a boxing legend and former millionaire has left to sell. Tyson’s reading like a humble, self-deprecating version of Jose Canseco these days, to the point that it’s challenging our already warped perception of him as an individual and the sport of boxing in general.
The truly scary thing is, Tyson’s story is one that a fair share of MMA fighters can probably relate to. Sure, “Iron Mike” probably lies on the extreme end of the spectrum in most cases, but we’ve heard everyone from Kendall Grove to Drew Fickett share similar tales of fighting under the influence, and God only knows what treats we’ll be in for when Mayhem Miller publishes an autobiography from Death Row in 2015. It’s not that we don’t appreciate honesty, it’s just that maybe some fighters should first consider how their crazy stories could impact the MMA community as a whole before recounting them to every interviewer who will listen.
Despite how far our beloved sport has come in recent years, even the President of the UFC will tell you that MMA is “just not mainstream yet.” We’re still fighting for credibility, for people to take us seriously. And with organizations like The Culinary Union latching onto every fighter with a somewhat troublesome past in an attempt to discredit the sport and/or keep it banned in certain states, the last thing we need is a bunch of “professionals” bragging about how unprofessional and incompetent the system can be at times. And believe me, it really can be incompetent, but so is any major organization/sport/business in its infant years.
The point is, this CagePotato Ban is a preemptive strike, a warning if you will. Please, you guys, learn from Tyson’s mistakes and maybe keep that story about “needing weed to avoid beating your wife and kids” to yourself.
And for the love of God, just stay off Twitter.