Mike Tyson was one of the highest paid athletes of all time, but spent so lavishly he filed for bankruptcy to repay millions in debt in 2003. However, in 2021, he has earned back some of his wealth and has an estimated net worth of $10 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Tyson spent his wealth on cars, jewelry, mansions and tigers, and also paid for some unusual services. He paid a person to dress in fatigues and shout “guerilla warfare” at press conferences. He also paid $2 million for a golden bathtub for his first wife, Robin Givens, Celebrity Net Worth reported. The New York Times described Tyson’s bankruptcy as “a lesson in ways to squander a fortune.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Tyson Filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2003 & Owed $38.4 Million in Debt
Mike Tyson fell deeply into debt despite his immense earnings, and was forced to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2003, according to Benjamin Law. The law firm reported he owed $38.4 million to creditors, including the Internal Revenue Service and his ex-wife, Monica Turner. His bankruptcy filing indicated he had $23 million in debts specified in the Chapter 11 petitions, which were filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, New York.
He sold his mansion in Connecticut for $9 million to pay a divorce settlement to Turner, the New York Times reported. Turner also had a lien on his estate in Las Vegas.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is often referred to as “reorganization” bankruptcy, and allows debt to be repaid over time to keep a business or organization afloat, according to US Courts.
“This chapter of the Bankruptcy Code generally provides for reorganization, usually involving a corporation or partnership. A chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time. People in business or individuals can also seek relief in chapter 11,” US Courts reported.
2. Tyson Could Earn $30 Million for One Night of Work & Burned His Wealth on Mansions, Cars, Jewelry & Siberian Tigers
At the height of his career, Mike Tyson could earn $30 million in one night, the New York Times reported. He had amassed $400 million by the time he filed for bankruptcy.
The New York Times reported he viewed his “record earnings in the boxing ring became a license to spend — on jewelry, mansions, cars, limousines, cellphones, parties, clothing, motorcycles and Siberian tigers.” He “picked up a $173,706 gold chain lined with 80 carats in diamonds” from a Las Vegas jewelry store and failed to pay for it, the article said.
Mordechai Yerushalmi, the store’s owner, told the New York Times Tyson had an open line of credit with them.
“Knowing him for so long, I gave him the merchandise and knew he’d pay later,” Yerushalmi said. “He had open credit with me.”
He added, “He’s been through his ups and downs. He will make good on it.”
3. Tyson Paid a Staffer Named Crocodile $300 Million to Shout ‘Guerilla Warfare’ at Press Conferences & Paid His Entourage Lavishly
While Tyson was a big spender, he did not skimp out on paying his crew. The Associated Press reported on the money he paid to his staffers, and said he had a continual flow of people in his mansion. The news outlet reported most of the people who spent time in the Las Vegas mansion were paid.
“They don’t give a (expletive) about me,” Tyson reportedly said of the crew. “They’re just here for the money and to be with Mike Tyson.”
His payroll included an animal trainer paid $125,000 to be on call when Tyson was out of town, $100,000 for gardening, cooks, bodyguards and chauffeurs, the Associated Press reported.
“A camp aide named Crocodile – whose sole function was to dress in fatigues and repeatedly shout “guerrilla warfare” at Tyson news conferences – was paid $300,000 in 1996,” the Associated Press reported.
4. Tyson’s Divorces Cost Millions of Dollars & the Deed to a 61-Room Mansion
Tyson gave lavish gifts, and among them was a $2 million gold bathtub he bought for Givens, according to Celebrity Net Worth. The news outlet also referenced unconfirmed reports that he would give out gifts to strangers including $100,000 watches.
Tyson’s divorce settlement with Monica Turner included a payment of $6.5 million and the keys to their 61-room Connecticut mansion, according to The Washington Post. She cited his extravagant spending in the divorce filing and accused him of adultery.
The mansion “was listed for $4,750,000 and boasts 38 bathrooms, an indoor pool, movie theater, working elevator and 3,500-square-foot nightclub, according to the real estate agent handling the sale. Turner’s $6.5 million payout will include the proceeds from the sale,” the Washington Post reported.
5. Tyson Has $423 Million in Career Earnings & Now Charges $75,000 for Two-Hour Public Appearances
Tyson is still earning a hefty paycheck in his semi-retirement, and currently charges $75,000 for two-hour public appearances, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He spends much of his time living in Las Vegas, and makes appearances at parties and corporate events.
His career earnings totaled $423 million, Celebrity Net Worth reported, listing each of his fights and his purse. Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. were each paid $10 million when they came out of retirement to fight in 2020. Tyson had said he would donate all of the money to charity, and his publicist soon issued a statement to clarify, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
“Mike is committed to charitable causes at this stage in his life,” the statement said. “Mike is making a substantial donation to charity to help those affected economically, medically, and socially by the pandemic. The exact amount will be determined after the bout.”