Mike Tyson Immobilizes Shark During Dive as Part of Discovery's 'Shark Week'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2020

Former boxer Mike Tyson watches mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey train during her workout, Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Glendale, Calif. Rousey, the UFC bantamweight champion, will return to the octagon against Brazil’s unbeaten Bethe Correia at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 1. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

"I'm scared to death."

It's not every day you hear Mike Tyson of all people utter those words, but that is exactly what the former heavyweight boxing champion said during a Sunday appearance on Discovery Channel's Tyson vs. Jaws: Rumble on the Reef.

The show, which was part of the network's annual Shark Week, "pitted" Tyson against sharks in a three-round format.

UFC President Dana White and famed announcer Michael Buffer helped set the stage, and it did not go unnoticed that Tyson—who famously bit Evander Holyfield's ear in a boxing match—said "someone's going to get bit" in a promotional video.

Tyson worked with scientists in the Bahamas to get more comfortable in a location that features lemon sharks, reef sharks, bull sharks and more. The first round was a cage dive with lemon sharks, and it was clear he was scared from the beginning.

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However, he appeared to grow more comfortable in the second round, which was an open ocean dive where he gently pushed sharks away whenever they got too close.

It all built toward the third round, which asked Tyson to seemingly put the shark to sleep with his bare hands. While tonic immobility, which causes a temporary state of inactivity in the shark, is not exactly a knockout in the ring, it was still quite the task.

The tension was all the more clear when he threw up before diving nearly 50 feet underwater without a cage, but he eventually pulled it off and prevailed against the shark.

Tyson is not the first notable athlete to go up against a shark as part of Shark Week, as Olympic legend Michael Phelps lost a virtual race to a great white shark in 2017.

As for Tyson, his next opponent will not be from the ocean. He will face Roy Jones Jr. in an exhibition bout, which Mike Coppinger of The Athletic reported has been tentatively rescheduled from Sept. 12 to Nov. 28.