Wanderlei Silva Says He'd Fight Mike Tyson in $20M Bareknuckle Boxing Match

Blake SchusterAnalyst IMay 27, 2020

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 09: Heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson attends the 19th annual Harold and Carole Pump Foundation Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 09, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

If Mike Tyson is serious about getting back into fighting, he has an opponent ready to go, though the circumstances would be vastly different from the last time the former heavyweight champion stepped in the ring. 

After Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship President David Feldman told MMA Fighting the company would give Tyson more than $20 million for a bout, MMA fighter Wanderlei Silva said he'd step in as Tyson's opponent. 

"This fight has everything to sell a lot, especially now that everyone is stuck at home," Silva told MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz. "It would be the perfect moment to book a fight like this."

Tyson, who turns 54 in June, last fought in 2005, falling to Kevin McBride at age 38. It was his third loss in four fights, spelling the end of his career. 

Or maybe not.

Videos of Tyson training have surfaced in recent weeks. On May 11, Iron Mike declared himself "back."

There's a good reason Silva's name has come up as well. In Tyson's training videos, the former champ is seen working out with Rafael Cordeiro, who once trained Silva.

At 43 years old, Silva hasn't fought since a loss to Quinton Jackson via technical knockout at Bellator 206 in 2018. The Brazil native said Feldman has contacted him on numerous occasions to set up a bout, but it wasn't until Tyson's name was floated that Silva became interested: 

"He asked me if I would agree to fight Mike Tyson, if I had the guts to fight Mike Tyson with no gloves. [I said], 'Look, first you have to ask Tyson if he has the guts to fight me without gloves.' I was a world champion [in MMA], I fought with bare hands before, and he never did. I think it would be a memorable fight."

Cruz noted when Silva was told the offer to Tyson was roughly $20 million, the former MMA star told BKFC he would sign up for half of that "now."

"There's nothing going on right now, so a fight like this has everything to generate more money than [Floyd] Mayweather's fights because of the entertainment and other factors," Silva said. "He's aggressive and so am I. I'm in great shape both mentally and physically, so it has everything to be a great show for everyone."

As for Cordeiro, Silva told him he can continue to train Tyson all he likes, but Silva won't accept his former coach hanging in his opponent's corner on fight day.