Mike Tyson once offered a zookeeper $10,000 to let him fight a silverback gorilla

Mike Tyson once offered a zookeeper $10,000 to let him fight a silverback gorilla

In his prime, Mike Tyson was nicknamed 'The Baddest Man On The Planet'. The boxer seemingly believed he could win a fight with anyone or anything - including a gorilla.

In a new interview, the undisputed world heavyweight champion revealed that he once offered a zookeeper £9,000 ($11,640) to let him fight a silverback gorilla.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Kumbuka, a 15-year-old western lowland gorilla, explores his new enclosure in ZSL London Zoo on May 2, 2013 in London, England. The silverback male, who weights 185 kg and stands seven foot tall, moved from Paignton Zoo two weeks ago. It is hoped that Kumbuka will mate with the zoo's three female gorillas to increase numbers of the critically endangered species as part of the European breeding programme. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

The proposal was made in the late 80s when Tyson bribed a worker to open up the grounds after hours for him and his then-wife Robin Givens.

As they were strolling through, the couple peered into an enclosure where they saw a dominant alpha male bullying the rest of the submissive troop. It was then, the 52-year-old claims, that he decided he should step in.

Speaking to The Sun, Tyson said: "I paid a worker at New York's zoo to re-open it just for me and Robin. When we got to the gorilla cage there was one big silverback gorilla there just bullying all the other gorillas. They were so powerful but their eyes were like an innocent infant. I offered the attendant $10,000 to open the cage and let smash that silverback's snotbox! He declined."

Credit: Getty

It's certainly not the first time Tyson has hit the headlines with controversial tales about animals; he infamously kept a number of wild animals as pets, including three Royal Bengal tigers: two girls named Kenya and Storm and a male called Boris.

Each tiger allegedly cost $70,000 to purchase and thousands a month to care for and the professional boxer was forced to sell them when they became too expensive to keep.

Speaking on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast about how he came to buy the wild cats, Tyson claimed he had the idea while in jail.

"I’m in prison at the time," he explained. "So I’m in prison, I’m talking to my car dealer at the time and he has some cars that belong to a [mutual friend], and he’s discussing, 'If he doesn’t pay for these cars, I’m going to sell these cars to somebody and get some horses.'"

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 15: Actor and former boxer Mike Tyson attends the world premiere of the movie 'China Salesman' at the Cannery Casino Hotel on June 15, 2018 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

He continued: "I said, 'What, you can get horses? And trade horses in for cars?' Because I had a lot of cars, I’d probably get some horses too. And he said, 'Yeah man, you can get cougars, lions, tigers…' I said, 'You do?! Can you get me some tigers?' The guy said, 'Imagine how cool that would be?'

"Because I had a bunch of fancy cars, 'Imagine that man, you’d be in an Aston Martin or a Ferrari. You’d have a tiger right next to you, man. That’d be so awesome.' And I’m a young guy. I’m saying to myself, 'Wow, that would be cool. Get me some cubs, man.'"

Before Tyson sold his tigers, one of them knocked his gold tooth out when he tried to give it a kiss.