April 15, 2013 -- Former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson is now a one man show and a champion of veganism, a regimen he credits with helping him lose 140 pounds and getting him in fighting trim.
Tyson, in an interview with ABCNews.com, discussed the merits of his vegan diet and has something to say about biting Evander Holyfield's ear. And Tyson does it with his own unique use of the English language.
How does your diet now differ from the diet you followed during your fighting days?
I was real carnivilous [sic] when I was training for fights – a lot of meat, cheese, bread. I devoured everything besides pork. I used to eat a lot. As I got older I didn't like the way I was feeling. I had a lot of arthritis, joint problems and I was morbidly obeast [sic]. My wife who was not my wife at the time, she changes her diet all the time. I says, 'what is this you're doing?' And she says, 'I'm eating vegan for a month or two weeks.' Well, I said that's what I'm going to do too, I want to do that. Cause I was just eating things without even figuring out what they are. And that's how I've been for four and a half years.
True veganism involves eschewing animal products in all forms including leather. Are you that strict?
Listen, I was there. I've been to there already. I had my vegan clothes, my jeans, my shoes. It was just too strict. So I said I just won't eat you. I may wear you, but I ain't going to eat you. OK? Listen, when I go, I go. I'm to the extreme. But in order to be that way I have to realize my extremities [sic] can destroy my family so I'd have to say listen we all have to be vegans here. That was getting crazy so I had to say listen I'm going to have to take care of myself. And let me handle and worry about myself. It doesn't work for everybody.
Do you think you could have maintained a vegan diet while you were fighting?
I don't know. I really don't believe so. But I'm not sure because I found out the greatest gladiators, the greatest ones in Roman times, they were all vegan. That's fighting to the death! The best gladiators, I didn't say all of them, when they looked at their bone marrow and did the research, they found that they were vegans. No meat particles in them. [Editors note: according to the Archeological Institute of America, this is true.]
What is your exercise routine like?
I may get up in the morning and do an hour of cardio. I do StairMaster or treadmill or TreadClimber for an hour and then I go to the gym around 7:30 and ride the bike for an hour and do my ab exercises, my chest and my light weights. Then I start it over again the next morning.
Because I am a fat kid. If I don't continue to watch my diet and exercise and take care myself I balloon to a lot of weight. I've always been a fat kid. I was 380 and now I weigh 240.
I train every day even on the road. I'm making sure I'm in shape, because this whole [one man show] thing is like fighting. You've got to look the part of it, an entertainer and an actor. You've got to be in shape. Not only in shape, you've got to be in good condition just in case you've got to run five miles or something. You're on stage, and on stage is exhausting too because I'm animated, I'm really physical up there. I'm doing antics and I might be doing a little jig, a dance or a karate kick so things are going on.
Do you remember what ear tastes like?
I really sucked and stuff. Cause if you watch the fight, as soon as I did it I spit it right out, instantaneously like [chewing and spitting sound.] It was really disgusting. [Many years later]Holyfield gave me some of his barbeque sauce because he's a barbeque guy. And I was telling him his ear would have tasted a lot better if he used some of that barbeque sauce.
Now that you're 46 years old, do you feel some of the aftereffects of your previous life involving drug use and repeated hits to the head?
You know that's so funny. The fact that I think if you watch any of my films from when I first started as a boxer in 1984, you realize that I talk better now than when I first started fighting. Boxing must have worked in the reverse for me. I may have gotten to become a more articulate talker at the end of my career than at the beginning of my career.