Superstar boxer Mike Tyson admitted smoking cannabis before going toe-to-toe with Roy Jones Jr as he returned to the ring at the weekend, saying, “I just have to smoke.”
Both boxers were tested for performance enhancing drugs before the fight, but marijuana is not a banned substance and doubts abound about any positive effects a pre-match joint may have in a prize-fighting ring.
The boxing legend admitted his passion after completing an eight-round exhibition match against Jones, 51, at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California. The bout ended in a draw.
At 54, Iron Mike showed glimpses of his destructive former self in the ring, while Jones had a few stirring moments as well.
Speaking after his first fight in 15 years, a philosophical Tyson told reporters about his personal growth and fondness for marijuana.
“I like my pigeons and my fancy clothes. Other than that, I don’t want anything out of life,” Tyson told reporters. “And of course, my children and my wife. And my joints.”
He said he stopped using cocaine nearly three years ago, but has never stopped smoking marijuana. He estimates he smokes US$40,000 (RM160,000) worth of the leaf each month.
Having been the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history, Tyson retired from boxing in 2005 after a devastating loss to Peter McBride.
Following the end of his boxing career he endured years of substance abuse and he claims weed helped him emerge from the bad times.
The laws on “soft drugs” are continually easing in many US states and in 2016 he opened Tyson Holistic Holdings, which sells marijuana merchandise as well as premium marijuana strains, extracts, and edibles.
He continues to be an advocate for removing restrictions around the drug for athletes. In May 2019, he was among 150 current and former athletes who supported a petition to remove marijuana from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited substances list, according to USA Today.
But Tyson’s largest marijuana venture will be Tyson Ranch, a 418-acre property near Desert Hot Springs, California, that he plans to transform into a marijuana resort.
It’s designed to be a wonderland of weed with tourist attractions, a luxury hotel, and an amphitheatre for music festivals and concerts. There will even be a Tyson University to teach cannabis-cultivation techniques to future farmers.
“I thought about how much good I could do by helping people with cannabis. It was a no brainer,” Tyson said on his business venture to media outlet Cannabis Tech Today.
The ex-undisputed heavyweight champion of the world says his vision now is to educate and engage the public on the healing properties of cannabis.
In 2019, he met with the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda in the West Indies to discuss hosting an annual marijuana conference and a cannabis farm in partnership with the islands’ government.
This and Tyson University, he says, will keep him on the straight and narrow in the rest of his retirement.