• Boxing/MMA

Tyson: MMA stars care more than boxers

ESPN staff
May 3, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Boxing great Mike Tyson has revealed he would love to take on a commentary role in either boxing or mixed martial arts, but insists competitors in the latter care more than their flashy counterparts.

Tyson, a former undisputed world heavyweight champion, has long been known as an admirer of MMA, where he lists Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Cain Velasquez as his favourite fighters.

Recently the paths of the two sports have become closely intertwined after British heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury claimed he would "smash" UFC heavyweight king Velasquez, labelling MMA a sport for average boxers.

'Iron' Mike Tyson has a rather different view, accusing the current generation of boxers of being more interested in fame and celebrity than carving out a memorable career. In his eyes, mixed martial artists are inspiring the next generation of fight fans.

"It has to be a passion. That's the problem with boxing: There's no passion," Tyson told ESPN.com. "People want to be record producers, rappers. In MMA, you see that passion. Georges St-Pierre, this is all he wants to do. That's why he's so successful.

"I think there's room for both [sports], but boxing just has too many black eyes. It doesn't have a good image. In MMA, even though people are fighting, they have a good image. Very few of them get into tragic troubles where they're beating people up and stuff.

"I love MMA and love boxing, but I'm always watching the MMA stuff. With boxing, you don't know if the guy's going to get a [good] decision, you know?

"In UFC, there's the Ultimate Fighter house - you cultivate the fighters spiritually, work with them, it's a team effort. In boxing, it's like, 'The hell with you'. The fighters dislike everybody. The MMA fighters are killing each other and they're friends!"

Tyson is currently touring America as part of the one-man stage show labelled "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth". He does not know what his long-term future holds, but admits his own passion for MMA could well lead to a commentary role.

"Absolutely," he replied when asked if he would be tempted into the hotseat. "I would also work in boxing if I could get a chance to clean it up, get it organised and government-operated. It has to be. Look at all the atrocities that have happened in the history of boxing.

"I look at MMA totally differently from how the fans look at it. I look at people overcoming adversities. Most guys being knocked out the way Cain was [against Junior Dos Santos] would've lost all of their spirit. He could've come back for a payday and gotten knocked out in one round. Instead, he examined his loss and changed the outcome."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Close