Mike Tyson in popular culture

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Mike Tyson is an American former World Heavyweight boxing Champion. Tyson, ranked by ESPN as the #1 Most Outrageous Character in modern sports history[1] has appeared in numerous popular media in either cameo appearances or as a subject of parody or satire.

Cameos and other appearances[edit]

  • Tyson is mentioned in the third verse of Nas' original It Ain't Hard to Tell demo, in the line: "Move like a maniac, Nas is nice son, talk to your conscience and hit like Tyson"[2]
  • Tyson has appeared in a commercial aired in 1990 for Toyota trucks in Japan.[3]
  • Mike Tyson is featured on the three-part Jimmy Kimmel parody episode "The Pizza", a parody skit of the hip hopera by singer R. Kelly called Trapped in the Closet.
  • Tyson was good friends with rapper Tupac Shakur, and often came out for a fight with a song Shakur specifically recorded for his ringwalk music. In 1996, Shakur was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting after attending the Tyson-Seldon fight.[4]
  • Tyson was the special outside enforcer for the World Wrestling Federation match between Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin at the March 29, 1998 WrestleMania XIV pay-per-view. Before the match he seemingly aligned himself with Michaels and his D-Generation X stable, only to turn on them and punch Michaels, after counting the pinfall for Austin and awarding him the WWF Championship.[5]
  • Tyson appears in Sylvester Stallone's 2006 movie Rocky Balboa and plays himself. He can be seen taunting Mason "The Line" Dixon, the current champion in the movie (who because of his arrogance and ability to end fights early, is based on Tyson's early career) at ringside right before the Balboa / Dixon bout begins.[6]
  • Recently Indian Bollywood movie producer Firoz Nadiadwala has approached Mike Tyson to feature in a promotional video for his film Fool and Final.[7] It has been reported that despite his pending legal problems, Tyson has been given clearance to go to India on April 20 to participate in the shoot.[8]
  • Tyson appears as himself in the 2009 comedy film The Hangover. He appears in the protagonists' hotel room, demanding the return of his tiger, which they stole from him while drunk. In a 2010 interview, he stated that he appeared in The Hangover in order to fund a drug habit.[9]
  • In 2011, Tyson made a cameo in the TV series Breaking In where he hired Contra Security to assess his estate's security. He later became involved in a case that involved a cyber teen bully and helped the student become more popular.[10]
  • On May 18, 2011 Tyson appeared with his wife on Argentina's version of Dancing with the Stars, Bailando 2011.[11]
  • On August 7, 2011, CBS aired an episode of Same Name, featuring Mike Tyson.[12]
  • Tyson guest starred in the Feb 6, 2013 episode of the long-running NBC legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a murderous death row inmate. Andre Braugher portrayed his defense counsel.[13]
  • Tyson makes a cameo in the critically acclaimed How I Met Your Mother TV series. He appears as himself, helping Robin take care of Baby Marvin in the Series 8 episode "Bad Crazy".
  • Tyson makes a brief appearance alongside Neil Patrick Harris in the opening number of the 2013 Tony Awards.

Parodies and satire[edit]

  • The Simpsons character Drederick Tatum, voiced by Hank Azaria, is based entirely on Tyson with a high-pitched lisping voice, a menacing demeanor, a criminal record, financial problems and a tendency to make pseudo-intellectual comments like "I insist that you desist" and "your behavior is unconscionable".
  • Tyson's well hyped and short bout with Peter McNeeley in 1995 served as obvious inspiration for the parody film of that phase of Tyson's career, The Great White Hype, with a caricature of Tyson played by Damon Wayans and a caricature of Don King played by Samuel L. Jackson.[14]
  • ESPN.com Page 2 columnist Bill Simmons makes frequent references to "The Tyson Zone" (named after Tyson), which is a status an athlete or celebrity reaches when their behavior becomes so outrageous that one would believe almost any story or anecdote about the person, no matter how seemingly bizarre.[15]
  • Tyson was the inspiration for the Street Fighter character Mike Bison, but to avoid a lawsuit, several characters names were switched outside Japan, resulting in the boxer Mike Bison being renamed Balrog, the masked claw-user Balrog becoming Vega, and the dictator Vega renamed to M. Bison.
  • The website www.miketython.com features edited and photoshopped movie posters that make fun of Mike Tyson's lisp, with titles such as "Jurathic Park" and "Ghothbuthterth".


In movies and television[edit]

Film Roles
  • The Hangover (2009), Tyson appears in a supporting role as a caricature of himself. He appears in the main characters' hotel room, where he threatens them if they do not return his tiger in one hour. The film's protagonists had broken into his home while intoxicated and stolen one of his beloved pet tigers. They later return the animal to Tyson's mansion, where Tyson shows them security footage to help them locate a missing friend.
  • The Hangover: Part II (2011), Tyson reprises his role as a fictional version of himself. However, he only makes a brief cameo at the end of the film as the wedding singer for Stu's (Ed Helms) wedding.
  • Scary Movie 5 (2013), Tyson appears as himself in a scene where he complains to Christian Grey (Jerry O'Connell) about neck pain.
  • Grudge Match (2013), Tyson appears as himself in a post-credits scene with Evander Holyfield.
  • Ip Man 3, Hong Kong film where he plays a negative role of a property developer.[23]

In music[edit]

World Wrestling Federation/WWE[edit]

In 1998, Tyson made a guest appearance at WrestleMania XIV as an enforcer for the main event match between Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. During this time, Tyson was also an unofficial member of D-Generation X. Tyson was paid $3 million for being guest enforcer of the match at WrestleMania XIV.[31]

Tyson appeared on WWE Monday Night Raw as the guest host on January 11, 2010 and even made his return to the ring in a tag team match with Chris Jericho against D-Generation X. At first, the duo had their way until Tyson revealed a DX T-shirt he was wearing underneath a black shirt he was wearing and knocked out Jericho, which allowed Shawn Michaels to pin Jericho, giving DX the win.

On April 2, 2012 Tyson was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. He was inducted by D-Generation X members Shawn Michaels and Triple H.[32]

In video games[edit]

  • In 1987, Nintendo released Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!, on the NES, based on the arcade game Punch-Out!!, although there was later a version released in 1990 that replaced Mike Tyson with a fictional character, "Mr. Dream", after Nintendo's license with Tyson expired. Tyson is the final opponent in the 1987 game. Defeating Tyson (through boxer Little Mac) is extremely difficult, as he can knock Mac down with a single "Dynamite Punch", modeled after the real-life Tyson's devastating right upper-cut.
  • In 1992, a second Nintendo game featuring Mike Tyson entitled Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch was to be released as a sequel to Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!. However, due to the Desiree Washington case the project was scrapped and the game was eventually released as Power Punch II with Mike Tyson in the game being replaced with a character named Mark Tyler.
  • A video game called Mike Tyson Boxing was released for PlayStation by Codemasters on October 23, 2000,[33] and for Game Boy Advance by Virtucraft and Ubisoft in March 2002.[34]
  • Electronic Arts' Fight Night Round 4 marks the debut of Mike Tyson on the Next Gen consoles in 2009. Tyson is featured, along with Muhammad Ali, on the cover of the game.
  • Tyson appeared at the SXSW Screenburn Arcade in March 2011 for the launch of his iPhone app Mike Tyson: Main Event.[35]
  • Tyson is featured as downloadable content in WWE '13 as a member of the Attitude Era."[36]
  • Tyson, set in two different eras, is an additional character in another Electronic Arts game, EA Sports UFC 2.


  1. ^ ESPN25: The 25 Most Outrageous Characters, ESPN25.com, Retrieved on 2007-04-01.
  2. ^ http://www.absolutelyrics.com/lyrics/view/nas/nas_will_prevail
  3. ^ (Japanese) 自動車CM大全 - 出演者リスト (外国人)
  4. ^ Scott, Kathy./AP, Shakur mourned, body cremated, Las Vegas Sun, 1996-09-18, Retrieved on 2007-03-31.
  5. ^ Powell, John. "Austin wins WWF World Title at WrestleMania". Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  6. ^ Rocky Balboa photo, Allmoviephoto.com, Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
  7. ^ Mike Tyson eyes Bollywood debut, BBC News, 2007-04-13, Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  8. ^ Firoz Nadiadwala has approached world famous boxer Mike Tyson to feature in a promotional video for his film Fool N Final, IndiaFM news Bureau, 2007-04-11, Retrieved on 2007-04-12.
  9. ^ Wilson, Greg. "Mike Tyson: I Did "The Hangover" to Buy Drugs". NBC Washington. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  10. ^ Hibberd, James. "Mike Tyson down for 'Breaking In' -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "Mike Tyson still has the good footwork". USA Today. 2011-05-19. 
  12. ^ Watch SAME NAME on CBS.com. Full Episodes, Clips and Behind the Scenes footage. Cbs.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-25.
  13. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (January 10, 2013). "Mike Tyson To Play Convicted Murderer On ‘Law & Order: SVU’". Deadline. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  14. ^ Maslin, Janet., FILM REVIEW;Float Like a Butterball, Hit Like a Flea, New York Times, 1996-05-03, Retrieved on 2007-04-01.
  15. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/061011
  16. ^ Emery won't use Tyson mask again, CP via TSN.com, 2006-01-31, Retrieved on 2007-04-01.
  17. ^ "Real Madrid star Ronaldo reveals gift from new fan Mike Tyson". au.sports.yahoo.com. May 12, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Mike Tyson threw a strike for the Pirates' ceremonial first pitch and pretended to eat someone's ear". USA Today. 
  19. ^ http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=340417123
  20. ^ Documentary in IMDb
  21. ^ Film in IMDb
  22. ^ Documentary in IMDb
  23. ^ http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/ip-man-3-review/5098259.article
  24. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/298631/canibus/chart
  25. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20150430125827/http://www.mtv.com/bands/h/hip_hop_week/2007/groups/index3.jhtml
  26. ^ http://www.polyvinylrecords.com/store/index.php?id=1891
  27. ^ http://www.biography.com/news/pioneers-of-rap
  28. ^ http://www.complex.com/sports/2014/10/rapper-athlete-beefs-history/ll-cool-j-mike-tyson
  29. ^ "Radio Scope". Newspaper (Page B4) (Hoosier State Chronicles). The Indianapolis Recorder. August 27, 1994. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  31. ^ Biography for Mike Tyson in popular culture at the Internet Movie Database
  33. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps/250607-mike-tyson-boxing/data
  34. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/557187-mike-tyson-boxing/data
  35. ^ "Mike Tyson promises knockout with new interactive boxing app". USA Today. March 14, 2011. 
  36. ^ http://wwe.thq.com/go/article/view/258817/mike-tyson-returns-to-the-ring-in-wwe-13

External links[edit]