Stars Who Can't Stand Mike Tyson

Objectively, there's no denying that Mike Tyson is one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, and has a fair claim to be in the conversation for the very best one. As a person, however, the untold truth of Tyson leaves far more room for discussion. To give you an idea of his personal history, Tyson claims he was arrested so many times before he was even 12 years old that it beggars belief. (He says it's 40 times.) 

It might be because of his tendency to get in trouble with the law, or his self-admitted temper issues. It could be simply because he's had a rough life. No matter the reason, Tyson has made quite a few enemies over the decades, and not all of them are obvious. For instance, you'd expect someone like Evander Holyfield to hate the guy after he bit part of his ear off, but in reality, Tyson and Holyfield's relationship is very friendly. However, there are others who have very legitimate reasons to dislike the boxing superstar, and others still who seem to have inserted themselves in a feud with the guy more or less arbitrarily. Still, regardless of the things that caused their ire, there's no shortage of people who can't stand Mike Tyson. Let's take a look at some of the most famous cases.  

Robin Givens' relationship with Tyson ended with spousal abuse

The dark details of Mike Tyson and Robin Givens' relationship are one of the biggest stains in the boxer's legacy. The athlete and the actor got married in 1988, but Givens filed for divorce a mere eight months later citing physical abuse, which didn't reflect well on Tyson. 

The turbulent marriage was hard on Givens. In a 2004 appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," she discussed how people labeled her as a gold digger for marrying Tyson, and revealed that she suffered from depression for a long time after she realized the extent of what had happened to her. "I could not get out of bed for days at a time," Givens told Winfrey. "I was diagnosed as clinically depressed. It took me a while to realize I was depressed and to get help and to get over the shame of what had just robbed me of so much time. I was unable to participate in life." As it happens, Tyson himself publicly admitted hitting Givens in a 2009 appearance on the very same show. 

Even over three decades later, Givens hasn't forgotten her experiences with Tyson, which she says didn't end with the divorce. "I remember my ex-husband calling up and saying, 'I've decided I'm not going to kill you'" she told People in 2020, before adding he threatened to make her life unbearable to the point she would die by suicide.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Tyson have had issues for years

Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. both have a legacy as dominant champions. Like Tyson, Mayweather has also been a true villain at times thanks to his history as a domestic abuser, misogynist, and giver of uncomfortably offensive comments. Despite this, the two are no kindred spirits and have actually kept a lengthy feud going for the majority of the ongoing millennium. Apart from unverified rumors about the pair's relationship falling apart after Tyson allegedly egging Mayweather on when the younger man abused and abducted a woman and Mayweather — also allegedly — getting some payback by arranging a police raid at Tyson's house, there's little solid evidence on why the two drifted apart.

Drifted apart, however, they did. Tyson being used to delivering flurries of punches with his peek-a-boo style and Mayweather Jr. being a highly defensive boxer, it's fitting that the former has delivered more blows in their feud. When Mayweather labeled himself the greatest boxer of all time in 2015, Tyson quickly tore him down. When Mayweather commented on the large number of championship belts, Tyson adopted the opposite stance. When the pair found themselves face to face in a Las Vegas event in 2014, Tyson preceded a hug with a fake punch. While Mayweather hasn't been as vocal, Tyson's many, many comments about him suggest the heavyweight is unlikely to be on his Christmas card list.

Michael Jordan may have been threatened by Tyson

There is a long-standing rumor that Mike Tyson once nearly beat up fellow famous Mike, Michael Jordan. In any other case, a 5'10" dude threatening to knock out the 6'6" NBA superstar might be taken with a pinch of salt, but since Tyson once flattened the similarly-sized Eddie Richardson in just one minute and 17 seconds, the possibility of him wanting to do the same to his Airness doesn't seem all that far-fetched. But did it actually happen?

As the story goes, the altercation happened during a dinner meeting in 1988, where an inebriated Tyson started claiming Jordan was having an affair with Robin Givens, who was divorcing the boxer at the time. However, while the dinner did take place and was somewhat turbulent, there are multiple versions of what actually happened – none of which come from Tyson or Jordan themselves. According to a former member of Tyson's management, Rory Holloway, Tyson did face off with Jordan and managed to freak out the basketball star. Other people, however, have put this course of events in dispute. 

Part of the untold truth of Michael Jordan is that while he's a great athlete and a nice enough guy to get endorsement after endorsement, he can trash-talk just fine when he wants to. Since it doesn't seem that he's either commented on the Tyson story or met the guy for another dinner, he may have found the incident unsavory enough to file the boxer in the "silent treatment" folder.  

Tyson had a one-sided rap feud with Soulja Boy

Mike Tyson is a former heavyweight boxing champion. Soulja Boy is a rapper with plenty of Billboard success. They're not similar vocations, but there is some overlap. Rappers have been known to box, after all ... and as Tyson demonstrated in 2017, boxers aren't necessarily averse to rapping, either. Tyson's debut rap endeavor, you see, was released that year, and as luck would have it, it was a diss track aimed squarely at Soulja Boy. 

The track, which was called "If You Show Up," may not have had entirely to do with Soulja Boy. Tyson rapped in support of musician Chris Brown, who was feuding with Soulja at the time. The pair was gearing up for a physical fight that ultimately never happened, but both had already managed to recruit some serious talent in their respective corners. Where Brown had Tyson, Soulja had Floyd Mayweather Jr. behind him.

As for Soulja Boy, he didn't answer Tyson back with a diss track of his own — after all, despite Tyson's personal enthusiasm, the heavyweight was largely an ancillary figure in this particular feud. However, the rapper's response on X, formerly known as Twitter, made clear that he had no patience or respect for the boxer. "What the f*** is mike Tyson gonna teach Chris brown? How to bite my ear off? b**** the money team never lost shoutout big bro Floyd," Soulja Boy tweeted.

Conor McGregor has words for everyone, including Tyson

Anyone reading on the truth of Conor McGregor will find several feuds with his MMA rivals, and an assortment of altercations outside the octagon. He's picked a fight with the pro wrestling federation WWE, made various insensitive comments, and has a history of wreaking general havoc wherever he is. Before he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017, he slung a racist slur at the boxer, and Mayweather responded with a homophobic one.

McGregor's list of people to annoy reached "T" for "Tyson, Mike" during the lead-up to the fight with Mayweather after hearing Tyson give blunt comments about the rules of the match in an appearance on the "Pardon My Take" podcast, while utterly failing to remember the MMA man's name. "McConor put his dumb ass in a position where he's gonna get knocked out because this guy has been doing this all his life since he was a baby," Tyson said (via CBS Sports). "McConor can't kick and grab and stuff, so he won't stand much of a chance." McGregor responded to the sentiment on X. "That's nice Mike, but you're looking at the new Don King here, son. Money is mine," he tweeted

Despite the expert feuding levels of both participants, this promising animosity seems to have died over time. Tyson ultimately praised McGregor for making it to round 10 with Mayweather, and McGregor has returned the respect by naming Tyson as an inspiration for his 2024 combat sport comeback.

Chael Sonnen feels Tyson is a fraud

Former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen has a long-standing grudge against Mike Tyson ... or rather, numerous minor grudges that he airs whenever he feels. In 2020, he chastised the boxer on his YouTube channel for smoking marijuana prior to an important match. In 2022, he once again hit YouTube to accuse Tyson and Lennox Lewis of effectively robbing him of $50 for faking a rivalry ahead of a big fight Sonnen paid said wad of cash to see. He also stated in no uncertain terms that he and Tyson aren't exactly the best of friends, confirming that the boxer is at the very least aware of the animosity. "In all fairness, he'd rather not see me and I'd rather not see him," Sonnen said. 

In 2024, Sonnen reignited his Tyson fury when he took affront on the boxer's training video during his preparation for a fight against Jake Paul. "In the future, if you're ever going to spend five seconds hitting mitts, as a way of making the audience believe you're doing a training session, make sure you splash water on your face and T-shirt first," Sonnen wrote on X, evidently suspecting that the impressive lunges and punches in Tyson's video were just for show instead of being part of a real training program. It remains to be seen whether Sonnen intends to take it easier on Tyson at some point down the line, but based on available evidence, it doesn't seem likely. 

Don King and Tyson aren't exactly best friends

Don King once sued ESPN for defamation when the network dug up some unsavory details from his past, so clearly, the famous boxing promoter is keen to defend his honor when the situation calls for it. However, this doesn't seem to apply to his tumultuous relationship with former protege Mike Tyson. That story has largely been told by Tyson's words and actions ... and, of course, the court records between the pair.

Much of the animosity between Tyson and King comes from Tyson's 1998 lawsuit that alleged that the promoter had been mismanaging the boxer and defrauding millions of dollars from him through various means. Such issues are more than enough to explain Tyson's negative views on King. As for the other way around, the fact that the boxer was suing him for an impressive $100 million likely didn't exactly endear Tyson to King. 

The lawsuit was ultimately settled in 2004, but the men's relationship seems to have soured for good. While King did make an attempt to treat Tyson in a civil manner when the pair met at a 2018 Boxing Hall of Fame event, Tyson promptly responded by throwing water at the promoter's face. 

Kevin Rooney has an issue with not training Tyson anymore

The year 1998 was eventful for Mike Tyson. Apart from his $100 million lawsuit against Don King, the boxer was also wrapping up his courtroom issues with his former trainer Kevin Rooney. Rooney had trained Tyson during his amateur years and started getting 10% of the athlete's fight purses after he turned pro. This went on until 1988, when Rooney abruptly found that he'd been fired ... by reading about it from a newspaper, no less. Rooney took things to court in 1989, and the case was ultimately decided in his favor in 1998 as Tyson was ordered to pay Rooney a little over $4.4 million in compensation. Of course, it's worth noting that Rooney was seeking $49 million.

The reason Tyson fired Rooney was that the trainer was giving unauthorized comments about the athlete's divorce from Robin Givens to the media, which Tyson viewed as treachery. Even so, he testified in court that he held no ill will toward Rooney. ”Even right now, I'm not mad at Kevin,” he said during a court appearance in 1996 (via The New York Times). 

As for Rooney, he's a case unlike any other on this list in that his issue with Tyson largely stems from the fact that the boxer doesn't want to work with him anymore. "Mike could have been 100-0 and made a billion dollars, if he stayed with me," the trainer told Boxing Insider in 2011.  

Teddy Atlas pointed a gun at Tyson

Mike Tyson's former trainer Teddy Atlas has made it clear that he's not his old trainee's biggest fan, and has even called Tyson's greatness as a boxer in question. "I don't know if he was ever great," Atlas said during a 2023 appearance on the Lex Fridman Podcast (via Boxing Scene). He went on to explain that while Tyson's power and speed were lethal, Atlas' view is that he tended to win against opponents who were athletically inferior but struggled against more formidable challengers. "A fight is not a fight until there's something to overcome," he explained. "So, if you go by my definition, not Webster's, pretend it means something, Mike Tyson was only in five, six fights in his life. The fights where there was something to overcome, he didn't overcome it."

It's a bold take, but Atlas' methods of dealing with Tyson have always been on the undaunted side. As young Tyson's first trainer, Atlas was known to clash with the young, unruly boxer to the point that he once put the barrel of a gun in the then 15-year-old Tyson's ear, drew it out, and fired it by his head. Atlas has said that he did this after learning that Tyson had abused an 11-year-old girl in the trainer's family. Tyson has a slightly different version of the story, but admits that the gun incident took place. Atlas left his trainer position at the Catskill Boxing Club after the incident.

Mitch Green confronted Mike Tyson for real

Boxer Mitch Green was also known as "Blood," and he was very angry with Mike Tyson in 1988 since Tyson didn't grant him a rematch after their 1986 fight. Unlike most athletes, Green wasn't willing to move on to the next challenge, however. He was a legitimate gang leader outside the squared circle, and set out to settle things with Tyson the hard way. 

The two encountered each other when Tyson was visiting a shop in Harlem, and while it's unclear precisely what happened, it was certainly violent and left Green with severe facial bruising. Meanwhile, Tyson received a hand injury that messed with his fight schedule. 

The nature of the injuries seems to imply that Tyson had the upper hand in this unofficial rematch, though Green has said that the champ sucker-punched him. The fact that Green soon sued Tyson for $25 million, and was ultimately awarded a comparatively meager $45,000 for pain and suffering, is also a pretty solid argument about "Blood" not exactly winning the Harlem confrontation. Still, this didn't stop Green from finally claiming victory over Tyson once the verdict came. "I'm the winner, I whupped him," he proudly proclaimed when exiting the court (via the Los Angeles Times).  

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, has been a victim of sexual assault, may be the victim of child abuse, needs help with mental health, or is struggling or in crisis, please contact the relevant resources below: 

- The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

- The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

- The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

- The Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

- Call or text 988 or chat