'Mike' Miniseries on Hulu Tells the Real Tyson Story, Then Lets Him Off the Hook

Mike Tyson in the ring and Trevante Rhodes, who plays him in "Mike."

Hulu calls their Mike miniseries "an unauthorized and no-holds-barred look at the life of Mike Tyson." Since it's unauthorized, Tyson had no say in the content and was not paid.

Totally in character, the former champ says about the eight-parter that chronicles his boxing career that was marred by a rape conviction and him biting off part of Evander Holyfield's ear during their infamous 1997 heavyweight title match at Instagram:

"Don’t let Hulu fool you. I don’t support their story about my life. It's not 1822, it's 2022. They stole my life story and didn’t pay me. To Hulu executives I’m just a n****r they can sell on the auction block."

It's reminsicent of Tyson's verbal attack on a journalist who dared to ask him a question about the bite. "I'll eat your asshole alive" was one of the more disgusting comments he made that day, which is portrayed in the series' final episode.

It is Tyson's story and life, but he's not the only one who can tell it. Poor kid grows up in Brooklyn, learns to fight to protect himself and finds he has great physicial strength that will lead to a series of first-round knock-outs and eventually the heavywieight title. Everyone knows the bad things he's done. Some excuse him for that, saying he paid the price with three years in jail and a year-long boxing ban post the bite. In March, Tyson's cannabis company released a product mocking the incident, indicating he has no remorse. He's also never apologized to Desiree Washington (Li Eubanks), the beauty queen contestant he raped in 1991 when she was just 18.

"Desiree Washington was the girl who caught Tyson's eye at the wrong time. She never had a chance."

Some will say Washington allowed Tyson to take her to his hotel room at 2 am and so therfore it was her fault what he did to her that night. Tyson never denied they had sex, just that it was consensual. It was not. She should never have gone into his limo when he called her. That was her mistake. (Also giving him her number.) But everything else was on Tyson. Some say he was railroaded by the jury. If Washington was white, he might have a case. The series makes clear in the "Desiree" episode that she never made a cent off of his conviction. Desiree was just the girl who caught his eye at the wrong time. She never had a chance.

His marriage to actress Robin Givens (Laura Harrier), depicted in Episode 3 ("Lover"), is another example of Tyson's violent behavior towards women. When she and her mother question his finances and suggest he's being ripped off by his managers, who were white before Don King (Russell Hornsby) took over, Tyson assaults her. "When I drink and do coke I'm going to fght you," he says about Givens. "When I smoke weed I'm going to give you all of my money."

This is chalked up to bi-polar disorder, explaining Tyson's wild mood swings. For Mike, life was one big sport: Boxing fighters in the ring and threatening everyone else outside of it. Tyson became the "monster" he calls himself in the show's running monologue performed by Trevante Rhodes.

Following the Holyfield debacle, Tyson's career continues to go downhill (he actually bit Lennox Lewis on the leg before their fight) until he finally decides to stop boxing and split up with King. Tyson marries Kiki Spicer (Ash Santos), his third wife, and they have several kids. As the series ends, things are looking up for Tyson. "I'm the American dream," he says. "From nothing to something." 

So despite his complaint about the miniseies, Tyson's treated like a phoenix, a man who can overcome his faults and rise up to be a better person. Twenty years later, with the help of cannabis and psychedelics, Tyson purports he's a new man. But deep down you have to wonder where the old Tyson lurks and what he really thinks about what he's done.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.