Whether or not you know the first thing about boxing, you know exactly who Mike Tyson is. One of the better Heavyweight boxers to ever grace the ring, he’s lived 5 lifetimes worth of success and turmoil. Over his long career, he’s made hundreds and hundreds of millions but as of 2021, his net worth is estimated to be just $3 million. This is due to bizarre spending habits, being cheated out of millions, bad deals, and more. But how exactly did it all happen?
Tyson got paid a wide variety of purses throughout his career, but since winning the WBC Heavyweight title against Trevor Berbick in 1986, his guarantee has been no less than $1.5 million. The first time he made $10 million was in his first fight in Tokyo against Tony Tubbs, though, of course, the second time is far more famous. Off the back of the Tubbs fight, he then made a whopping $20 million to fight Michael Spinks to add The Ring Heavyweight Title to his belt collection.
The biggest purses of Mike Tyson’s career didn’t come until the mid-1990s. For his rematch with Frank Bruno, where he regained the WBC Heavyweight title, his WBA heavyweight title win against Bruce Seldon, and his pair of consecutive losses to Evander Holyfield immediately afterward, Tyson earned a massive $30 million each and every time. That’s $120 million from March of 1996 to June of 1997.
All in all, it’s widely reported and believed that Tyson made $400 million over his professional boxing career from his fight purses. But of course, the word “made” is disingenuous. It must be said that Tyson was never earning anywhere close to his entire fight purse.
Before deducting for expenses, Don King received 30% of all of Tyson’s fight purses. Rory Holloway and John Horne also received a hefty percentage, meaning Tyson was left with just half of his own money before paying taxes and bills. When it came to the hundreds of millions he reportedly made off of endorsements, he also only ever received half of the money, at most.
Don King was robbing Tyson. He charged Tyson everywhere he could. He was accused of paying $200k to his wife and kids per Tyson fight and $1,000 weekly to his daughter because she was the President of Tyson’s fan club. In 1998, Tyson wised up and sued King for $100 million. They settled out of court, with Mike winning $14 million—a handsome sum, but far from justice served.
With the level of star power that Mike Tyson has had for decades now, having him as part of your franchise has always brought some extra eyes to it. His famous appearances in The Hangover films reportedly brought him $300k in total. While that’s good money for the amount of work he did, the Hangover franchise topped $1 billion and he was one of the least paid ‘main’ characters in the films.
When he appeared at WrestleMania XIV in 1998 as the enforcer for Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin’s main event match, he was paid $3 million.
For a few years now, Tyson has been selling cannabis products after people around him telling him it made him a better person and him wanting to help others through it. Today, Tyson is believed to be making $1 million monthly from the Tyson Ranch.
Tyson also hosts one of the more popular podcasts in the space with Hotboxin which, though there are no official numbers on, is certainly one of his most lucrative ventures in 2021.