Mike Tyson, the "Baddest Man in the World." Photo: sxsw 2011

Mike Tyson, the “Baddest Man in the World.” Photo: sxsw 2011

51-year-old Mike Tyson was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1986 to 1990. He won his first 19 professional fights by a knockout, 12 of them in the first round. He was the youngest man to ever secure the title at 20 years, four months and 22 days of age. He regained his status as WBC and WBA champion in 1996, one of only six men to do so, with one of the others being Muhammed Ali. In 1997, in the course of a boxing match, he bit off a section of one ear of Evander Holyfield. He declared bankruptcy in 2003. He’s widely considered to be one of the best heavyweight boxers ever.

In 1992, Mike Tyson was convicted of the rape of 18-year-old model Desiree Washington in a hotel room in Indianapolis, serving three years of his six-year sentence. He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And now he’s going to grow cannabis, which he firmly believes to be of medicinal value and he admitted in his 2013 biography, Undisputed Truth, to smoking before fights.

Mike Tyson’s latest venture

With business partners Robert Hickman and Jay Stromnen, Tyson will open the Tyson Ranch, which covers 40 acres in California City, a Mojave desert town with a population of 14,000 that is 110 miles to the north of Los Angeles. The state of California legalised cannabis consumption for recreational purposes on January 1 2018 and was the first state to legalise it for medicinal reasons in 1996. A 30-minute drive away is Edwards Air Force Base, and the ranch will be mostly staffed by veterans. The facility will be committed to helping servicepeople; “Iron Mike” has been insistent that cannabidiol, an ingredient of cannabis that doesn’t get you stoned, is useful in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, which affects many veterans.

The details

Half of the territory will be used for the growing of cannabis, and research will also be conducted. There will additionally be an amphitheatre for live music; an edibles factory; a supply shop; the Tyson Cultivation School for cannabis growers, where Tyson will reportedly teach; and “premium” glamping (glamorous camping) cabins and campgrounds. Ground was broken in December 2017, and the mayor of California City, Jennifer Wood, attended the ceremony, enthusing that the ranch could presage the “rebirth” of the city. No opening date has been proposed.

Rapper Snoop Dogg, who owns a cannabis business, has offered to advise Tyson on which strains to grow. Other slebs to get into cannabis include actress and chat show host Whoopi Goldberg and musician Willie Nelson.

His biggest regret isn’t the rape, oh, no

Mike Tyson told the Associated Press that the greatest regret of his life is that he turned down frequent invitations to smoke dope with Tupac Shakur, with whom he was deeply friendly in the 1990s and who died of gunshot wounds sustained while driving his car in 1996. The reason was that he didn’t want boxing officials to know of his habit.

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