Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson may be retired from competition, but he has found plenty of ways to keep busy.
The Brownsville native appears as Frank in the martial arts film “Ip Man 3,” in theaters Friday. On Wednesday, it was announced he will be featured in EA Sports’ “UFC 2” video game, which releases March 15. The 49-year-old also will be appearing in the film “Meet the Blacks” later this year, and his “Mike Tyson Mysteries” animated series recently finished airing its second season.
amNewYork spoke with Tyson about his various projects, as well as his thoughts on the state of combat sports today.
How was your experience filming a fight scene with star Donnie Yen?
I just had a good time. I’ve been a big fan. A friend of mine trained under Donnie’s mother before, my really close friend. This is just a big experience. … I was aware of Donnie before Donnie was aware of me. I know more about him than you can imagine.
What are some of your favorite martial arts films?
“[The] Chinese Professionals,” “Five Deadly Venoms,” “The Crippled Avengers,” I could go on an on.
Who is your favorite action star?
Right now, I don’t know. I would have to say The Rock, probably. The Rock is up there. If it’s not The Rock, you gotta go with Jason Statham. I like those kind of guys. The Rock is up there. The Rock is the number one guy right now.
Would you enjoy the chance to do a fight scene with The Rock someday?
Oh, man, would I love to, yes.
Other than boxing, are there any other martial arts you wish you had the chance to learn in your youth?
Probably judo [because it requires] leverage and balance. I’m an oxymoron. I’m a clumsy guy with great balance. Does that make any sense? I’m clumsy as hell. My feet are too big.
You’re a big UFC fan and will appear in the next video game. What current or former UFC fighter do you wish you could have faced in your prime?
I don’t want to fight none of those guys. I’m one of those guys [who thought], “ I could do [mixed martial arts],“ until I saw one of those guys step on that guy’s foot. If they step on my foot, I’m gonna tap out. … You don’t have to worry about getting me in a floor hold or leg lock. I’m tapping right out when you step on my foot.
You were at Barclays Center for WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s knockout victory. Can he be the next great heavyweight and help restore the division’s popularity in the United States?
A lot of guys say this, even myself: I don’t think he’s got it. But every fight he’s improving. If he keeps improving, he can get something here. Remember, they said the same thing about Larry Holmes, “Oh, he’s a bum,” but then no one could beat him for years.
Do you want to see Wilder fight lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury?
I want to see Tyson Fury get everything he can get. He’s named after me. I don’t care if he can fight or not, I’m so proud that he’s the heavyweight champ of the world.
Who are some of your favorite boxers or mixed martial artists to watch right now?
The Irish guy [UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor], he’s number one. And I love watching [former UFC women’s bantamweight champion] Ronda [Rousey]. Ronda’s real good. And [former UFC light heavyweight champion] Jon Jones is the best.
Would you have any advice for Jones, who was stripped of his title last year after his arrest?
You know what he has to do? He has to live life on life’s terms. Everybody can give you advice, but don’t usually learn from other people’s experiences. Normally, you have to touch the stove to know that it’s hot. And I think he felt some pretty hot fire not too long ago. He’s gonna be OK.
What is the latest news on a Mike Tyson biopic?
From what I heard from them, it’s gonna happen. I just talked to somebody about my life not too long ago. The writer, Terence Winter.