Mike Tyson reveals the original design for his iconic face tattoo was at first rejected

The tattoo takes inspiration from the ‘Maori’ tribe.

Mike Tyson reveals the original design for his iconic face tattoo was at first rejected

Boxing legend Mike Tyson has sported an iconic face tattoo for a little over 20 years.

The 57-year-old revealed the bold piece of ink back in 2003 as he prepared to face Clifford Etienne which turned out to be his 50th bout across his career.

But what remains relatively unknown about Tyson’s ‘Maori’ tribe tribute is that he initially proposed something entirely different.

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Credit: Instagram/MikeTyson

‘Iron’ Mike endured plenty of controversy but perhaps wishing to appear in tune with his feminine side, the original design for his bold face tat at first featured symbols of love.

“I just thought it was a cool tattoo,” began Tyson back in 2012. “I was going to get a bunch of hearts and stuff. That would have been really stupid.

“I was going to be the man of hearts, baby. I was very close. Victor Perez, the tattoo artist said ‘I ain’t doing that. I can’t do that’.

“I said ‘what do you think I should get? Because I was confused.’ Victor Perez is a good guy and said ‘come back in a couple of days I’m going to try and write up some stuff’.

“I waited around and two days later he called and said ‘Mike, I’ve got some tribal stuff’. I said ‘woah, put another one over there’. I was like ‘this is cool, I like this’. So he did it.

Tyson is regarded among boxing's hardest ever punchers (Getty)
Tyson is regarded among boxing’s hardest ever punchers (Getty)

“I thought it was so hot. I would be in these dens, these clubs and strip places sometimes and all the girls said ‘oh you are very exotic, where are you from? Where did your family come from? Why did you put this tattoo on your face?’

“They said I looked like some tribesman or s***. I ran into some chicks that happened to be from the Maowi tribe and they said ‘hey, you’ve got some of my tribe on your face’ and the lady pulled her pants down and she has this tattoo on her butt.”

With a blockbuster fight against internet star Jake Paul to come later this year, fans of Tyson are once again gearing up for his latest exhibition event.

Having previously faced Roy Jones Jr in 2020, the event is expected to be a sell-out show and is scheduled to take place at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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