Mike Tyson Originally Thought He Was Going To Be on ‘Shark Tank’ but Ended up on Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week’ Instead

Mike Tyson surprised and amused many of his fans when he made an appearance on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week in 2020. During the program, titled Tyson vs. Jaws, Tyson was required to put a shark into “tonic immobility” by tickling its snout. 

Even though Tyson was able to successfully subdue the shark, it was clear that he was nervous about being in the water with them. As it would turn out, it was never Tyson’s idea to jump in the ocean with sharks. His good friend, UFC president Dana White, got him onto the show in a failed attempt to keep him from boxing Roy Jones Jr

When Tyson first got the call about being on Shark Week, he misinterpreted what White had told him, and assumed he was going to be on Shark Tank instead. When he finally realized he was going to be with real sharks, he was scared, to say the least.

Mike Tyson thought he was going to be on ‘Shark Tank’ instead of ‘Shark Week’

Mike Tyson poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California
Mike Tyson poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California | Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images)

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Tyson recalled getting the news about Shark Week during a recent episode of his Hotboxin’ podcast. 

“I thought he said Shark Tank,” Tyson said. “I thought I was gonna be on Shark Tank talking to people, trying to sell Tyson Ranch or something. This n*gga said get in the cage with a shark … I have to put the shark to sleep.”

Dana White got Mike Tyson on ‘Shark Week’ so he wouldn’t box Roy Jones Jr. 

Although it might’ve seemed random for Tyson to be on Shark Week at the time, it turns out that the decision to get him on the show was very intentional. White didn’t like the idea of Tyson boxing Roy Jones Jr. at his age, so he tried to get him to do Shark Week instead. 

“Somebody asked me, I told them I didn’t like it,” White said. “And then somebody asked me publicly about it at a press conference and I said, ‘Yeah, I don’t like it. Mike Tyson is super famous, there’s lots of other ways for him to make money, I don’t want to see him get punched in the head anymore, man.’” 

Mike Tyson was terrified of getting in the water with sharks

When the day finally came for Tyson to swim with sharks, he’s was beyond scared. The Shark Week crew became worried that Tyson wouldn’t follow through. 

“I heard the day that he actually went in to swim he was super pissed off and the whole crew was scared that day ‘cause Mike didn’t want to get in the water with the sharks,” White added.

Even though Tyson was scared and seasick, he ended up getting in the water after all. 

“And then they turned the boat off and the boat started rocking, I started [heaves] … getting boat sick,” Tyson said. “Then I gotta go in the cage, getting boat sick. So I said, ‘I’d rather a shark eat me out of the cage’ … I’m getting claustrophobic in the cage, I’m dying, I’m throwing up like a dog.”