UFC: Mike Tyson Speaks From Experience in Advice to Conor McGregor

On October 4, 2019, Conor McGregor was charged with assault for an incident in which he punched a man at a pub back in April. McGregor has a long history of violence and bad decisions outside of the octagon, and this incident was just another example of that. The maximum punishment on these assault charges if convicted is up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,646.

Former boxing champion Mike Tyson is one of the very few people on earth that might be genuinely qualified to give Conor McGregor life advice. During his career, Tyson was one of the best fighters in the world with a personality that transcended his sport, much like McGregor’s has. But he also had his share of legal issues and demons outside of the ring.

Mike Tyson’s advice to Conor McGregor

Mike Tyson was a guest on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on October 7. Helwani showed Tyson a clip of an interview with Conor McGregor from earlier this year.

“As far as like my fellow colleagues, I deserve to be called out on it,” McGregor said in the clip. “I deserve to be called out on my behavior; it’s just unacceptable, there’s no excuse to it, I deserve everything that comes my way with it.”

The clip continues with another quote in which McGregor was talking about an incident he had with a fan that led to another arrest in March. “I need to just stop reacting to the bait. People are trying to bait me into things. Am I the fish? Or am I the whale? I must be calm. I must be calm. I must be zen. I must lead by example. There’s so many people looking up to me. How can I react in this way? I need to get a hold of this, and I’m working really hard to do this.”

When asked for his thoughts on Conor McGregor’s inner turmoil and desire to change his behavior, Mike Tyson gave a clear and concise answer. “Conor has to look inside himself and do this: ‘What happened? Why am I the way I am? And how do I stop this from continuing to be?’”

Tyson explains his theory on why some fighters act the way that they do

Conor McGregor should heed Mike Tyson's advice
Conor McGregor should heed Mike Tyson’s advice | Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Helwani asked if Tyson had met McGregor before, and Tyson responded, “oh yeah, I think he’s an awesome guy.” The MMA reporter then asked Mike Tyson if he’d been keeping up with some of the controversies swirling around Conor McGregor, and Tyson began to talk about how instant fame can negatively affect athletes.

“We don’t know how to handle this stuff,” Tyson told Helwani. “We got millions of dollars. We never had this. Our families never had this. We’ve never been around this life. All of a sudden, you start fighting, doing something you love to do, and you do it easily, and all of a sudden, they give you a lot of money for doing it.”

“But you have no restraint, no control,” Tyson continued. “You don’t know what to do. You give it away. You buy people gifts that don’t deserve gifts. You just don’t know what to do with it. You feel you don’t deserve it.”

It’s true; fame and riches don’t come with an instruction manual. And the people around you aren’t likely to have the answers, either. “They don’t know how to figure it out,” Tyson said of the people surrounding these athletes. “They never had it, either. It’s almost like you don’t feel deserving of it. I don’t deserve this, I’m nobody. How come I deserve this? I would do this for nothing.”

Tyson sees his old self as a separate entity

Mike Tyson’s advice to Conor McGregor to look within and make real changes to become a new person comes from a very personal place for Tyson. While he says that he knows that he and his younger self are the same person, he doesn’t feel that way.

“Because that’s not who I am now. I don’t know him anymore. He’s almost like a stranger to me. I look at him, and I’m proud of him. And I think he’s spectacular. But there’s a real dark side there that I don’t like getting involved with anymore.”

Making these changes in his life wasn’t like flipping a switch, either; Tyson feels that it is always a work in progress. “I am that guy. That guy can always show up somewhere if I’m not cautious and control the way I think and my social environments.”

While Tyson’s past is marred with violence and controversy, he seems to be in a much better place now, and has been trying to make a positive impact on the world in recent years. Hopefully Conor McGregor will follow suit and find some peace of mind both inside and outside of the octagon.