Mike Tyson is known for his many whims, but perhaps one of the worst among them was keeping pet tigers in his house.
The legendary boxer had three Bengal tigers as pets over the years. They were named Boris, Storm and Kenya. He had the one named Kenya for 16 years, and she was probably the closest to Mike Tyson. However, he had to give up his beloved wild feline after she attacked a trespasser and brutally injured her, for which Mike Tyson had to pay a compensation of $250,000.
In a 2019 social media Q&A session with GQ Sports, Mike Tyson shared what had happened to his pet tiger, or at least one of them. It turned out that had to give the wild cat up, as she lost her sight and also strength in her hips.
"At one time, I did have a pet tiger. Her name was Kenya, and she was around 550 pounds. I had great affection for her. I kept her; I slept with her; I kept her in my room. She stayed with me. I had her for probably sixteen years. She was a massive monster. You can't imagine the size of her," Mike Tyson had said.
"She got too old, and I had to get rid of her. Her eyes and her hip got bad. And she ripped somebody's arm off," continued Tyson.
Mike Tyson's tigers also starred in the superhit 2009 move The Hangover, which was shot at his luxurious Las Vegas mansion.
How did Mike Tyson get his Bengal tigers?
The story of how Mike Tyson ended up with three tigers is also quite interesting. According to his own account, Mike Tyson purchased them when they were cubs when he was behind bars in early 1990s over sexual assault allegations, which he still denies.
"This is really interesting. I’m in prison at the time. So I’m in prison, I’m talking to my car dealer at the time and he has some cars that belong to a (mutual friend), and he’s discussing ‘If he 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? And trade horses in for cars?’ Because I had a lot of cars, I’d probably get some horses too.' And he said ‘Yeah man, you can get cougars, lions, tigers…’ I said ‘You do?! Can you get me some tigers?’ The guy said ‘Imagine, how cool that would be?’ Because I had a bunch of fancy cars, ‘Imagine that man, you’d be in an Aston Martin or a Ferrari. You’d have a tiger right next to you, man. That’d be so awesome,’" said Mike Tyson.
Mike Tyson continued in this regard:
"And I’m a young guy. I’m saying to myself ‘wow, that would be cool. Get me some cubs, man.' And then I came home, and those cubs were right there waiting for me."
Watch the interview below:
Mike Tyson reportedly spent more than $70,000 on each tiger and then nearly $200,000 per year for their feeding and other requirements. As per The Richest, Mike Tyson also paid a whopping $125,000 to train the tigers for domestic living.
However, after the 'Tiger King' documentary on Netflix became popular, Mike Tyson admitted on an Instagram Live session that he might have got his tigers from the now-well-known Joe Exotic, and he was aware it was wrong of him to forcefully domesticate wild animals like tigers and keep them at his house.