Bankrupt boxer Mike Tyson 's promoters are asking TV stations for a minimum of $80,000 for an interview ahead of Iron Mike's one-man bout in Dubai.
The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world will appear on stage at Dubai World Trade Centre from November 6-9 to speak about his controversial career and life in a show called ‘The Undisputed Truth’.
However, a producer at a UAE TV station said he was “gobsmacked” to discover that a five-minute chat with Tyson while in Dubai will cost $80,000.
“It’s crazy,” the producer said. “I’ve had interviews with the likes of Tiger Woods and Roger Federer, who never asked for a penny.
“Why’s this man so special?”
Mac S Far, the CEO of the event organiser the Alchemy Project, admitted that TV stations that were not official sponsors of the event would be charged “$80,000 to $300,000” to talk to Tyson.
Far said an international station is paying more than $150,000 for a face-to-face interview. He added: “Mike Tyson requests these fees because they have existing agreements with [US TV network] HBO.”
Tyson is estimated to have landed a $400 million fortune during his two-decade boxing career - at his peak earning $30 million per fight.
However, he was famously declared bankrupt in 2004 with debts of $23 million after his lavish lifestyle of mansions, luxury limos and bling jewellery spiralled out of control.
In May 2010 Tyson told the hosts of US talk show ‘The View’: “I’m totally destitute and broke.”
Last year, Tyson admitted that he only accepted a cameo part in hit film ‘The Hangover’ to fund his cocaine habit - and was high while making the flick.
And just last month, Tyson told US programme ‘The Today Show’ that he was “on the verge of dying” from years of alcohol and drug abuse.
The Dubai-based TV producer said the four-night Tyson show in November was “at the entertainment level of watching a car crash”.
“It’s desperate,” he said. “Everything about this things reeks of a money-making exercise.”
By Duncan Hare