Former world champion boxer “Iron” Mike Tyson is a self-professed MMA fan who can often be seen rubbing elbows with UFC president Dana White at UFC events. Recently, Tyson visited The Ultimate Fighter gym during taping of this twelfth season of the popular reality show; this installment featuring welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and number one contender Josh Koscheck as opposing coaches. Tyson spoke with The Associated Press about the visit, and also gave his opinion on fellow boxer James Toney’s recent failed attempt at trying his hand at MMA.
“I was just enjoying the scenery and everything,” Tyson said of his experience on ‘TUF 12.’ “It was pretty exciting. They get together and work on things together, and it’s great to see how hard they train. This sport is amazing stuff, good stuff.”
Toney was the most high-profile boxer to have attempted MMA and was absolutely floored when he took on MMA legend Randy Couture this past August at UFC 118. Tyson, who was at one point heavily rumored to be in talks of competing in the PRIDE Fighting Championships MMA promotion, critiqued Toney’s performance and said it was a lack of respect for his opponent that sealed his fate.
“You have to admit, Toney looked horrible,” Tyson said. “He looked slow. He didn’t look like a seasoned, conditioned athlete. You only had to look at his body structure. No way, Toney didn’t get ready to fight a real, professional athlete like Randy is. It was ridiculous. He had no respect for Randy.”
That is not to say that Tyson believes all boxers would meet Toney’s fate. On the contrary, Tyson likes a pure-boxer’s chances in MMA provided he is respectful of the sport and shows up in shape.
“I know 100 per cent that a boxer (could win),” Tyson said. “As long as he learns how to grapple and wrestle, he could do great. You’ve got to go in there respecting the sport, and not just thinking you’re going to knock somebody out every time. It’s a complicated sport, but a good boxer has to be a great athlete anyway.”
Tyson’s appearance on ‘TUF’ will air tonight on Spike TV during the reality show’s normal time slot.