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What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Mike Tyson

Fifteen years later and Mike Tyson is still ready to go eight rounds.

Fifteen years later and Mike Tyson is still ready to go eight rounds. The last time we saw heavyweight boxer Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) step into a professional boxing ring was in June 2005, where he lost to Irish-born heavyweight boxer Kevin McBride. 

But on November 28, two of boxing’s greatest-ever world champions, Tyson, 54, and Roy Jones Jr., 51, will return to the ring competing in a seniors exhibition fight with over four (4) hours of coverage. Talk about a picker upper during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tyson and Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) are expected to make their ring walks around 11pm. 

In 1986, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in the history of professional boxing, making him one of the most popular figures to watch on television in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. But underneath the speed, underrated defense, and instant fame, Tyson’s story is definitely layered with complexity and lessons for entrepreneurs of all industries and sizes to take note of.

#1 – Spend Wisely Because the Big Screen Isn’t All That It’s Cracked Out to Be

While many believe most of Tyson’s earnings to be somewhat dried up, it is believed the professional boxer’s net worth has dropped to a “stumbling low” of just $3 million, according to Wealthy Gorilla. It’s estimated that Tyson has accrued over $300 million throughout his boxing career, but ended up losing it all. 

Think about it though–following an expensive lifestyle which comes with two divorces and three years in prison for a rape conviction in 1992. Oh, and he also filed for bankruptcy back in 2003, with a reported $23 million in debt at the time. That definitely has to have quite the impact on the wallet. 

Indeed, the former heavyweight world champion has had to get creative in discovering new revenue streams since his fall from grace in 92, looking to TV and film in the entertainment industry, beginning with his appearance in the 2009 and 2011 films, The Hangover and The Hangover Part II, respectively. That was rumored to be a $100,000 payout for Tyson.

#2- Invest Smart: The ‘Wonderland of Weed’

Everyone is doing it and you don’t want to miss out. Both Tyson and Jones Jr. have invested into the cannabis space, respectively. 

Tyson, a cannapreneur, left his acting career behind after The Hangover Part II, turning to cannabis, launching his holding company, Tyson Holistic Holdings in 2016. After his exit from The Hangover trilogy, Tyson turned to a new recreational (and profitable venture): cannabis. Tyson. He invested into building a legal cannabis ranch, commonly known as Tyson Ranch (TR). It reportedly sells over $500,00 worth of medicinal marijuana per month, with distributions to dozens of dispensaries throughout California.

Adding to its ongoing brand success, TR announced last year its plans for developing a boutique luxury resort outside of Palm Springs, which will include a hotel, spas, lodges, a glamping park, and the world’s longest lazy river providing for the means to get around. Those plans also include educating prospective cannabis farmers on cannabis agriculture through “Tyson University” and hosting annual marijuana and music festivals.

One of the main functions to the future resort is to address the national opioid epidemic, recognizing that many people still see a stigma attached to cannabis and cannabis-derived products. 

“I’ve been fighting for over 20 years, and my body has a lot of wear and tear,” Tyson explained to Cannabis & Tech magazine. “I had two surgeries and I used marijuana to calm my nerves, and it would take the pain away.” “But before, they had me on those opiates, and those opiates had me all screwed up.”

Ironically enough, Jones Jr. also decided to throw his cannabis hat in the ring, launching a new CBD product line, Left Hook in partnership with New York-based manufacturer, The Emerald Corp. The 35,00 square foot facility in Long Island, New York will serve as its headquarters and offer four different CBD products.

#3 – Own Your Sh*t

On November 18, Tyson finally revealed what led to arguably, one of the most controversial moments in the 1997 heavyweight world title fight between Tyson and Evander Holyfield. In a recent interview with Jim Gray of Fox News, Tyson shared that he bit Holyfield’s ear because he “wanted to kill him” in the heat of the moment.

When asked if he would do it again, Tyson responded, “I hope not…I say, ‘no, never ever again.’ but I might do it again. Well, if he does what he was doing to get bitten, I would bite him again. Yeah.” 

“I bit him because I wanted to kill him. I was really mad about my head being bumped and everything,” Tyson said. “I really lost consciousness of the whole fight. It took me out of my fight plan and everything.”

Jordan French

Written by Jordan French

Jordan French is a Fast 50 and Inc. 500 serial entrepreneur. A biomedical engineer and intellectual-property attorney by education and aerospace engineer by training, French has successfully launched five different businesses ranging from 3D printing to real estate data services. Named a top "growth hacker" by CIO Magazine, French is among the most well-connected Millennials and on the leadership team at FOWNDERS, the social-impact startup accelerator based in Newark, New Jersey.

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