Mike Tyson was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.

Tyson’s childhood was a tumultuous one. His father left the family when Tyson was two-years-old. And his mother died when he was 16, leaving him in the legal care of his boxing coach. Suffice it to say, religion was likely not a part of his life.

But in 1992, Tyson was convicted of rape and during his three years in prison, he converted to Islam.1

Now, Tyson is quite devout, even having made a trip to Mecca2 as well as marrying the daughter of a Muslim cleric.3 And though Tyson admits that he doesn’t follow the Muslim tradition like he should (such as not always praying five times a day),4 it is undoubtedly a very big part of his life. He said:

Being a Muslim is who I am as a person. But let’s say there wasn’t Islam. Just that spirit, just for me to have my everyday [routines] helps. I have to be constantly on the move, or else the machine is going to break. I’m a realist. I deal with the world coming at me. It comes at me fast — faster sometimes than I can say my prayers. God will have to forgive me if I forgot a few things. I hope he does, at least.5

Politics is like a boxing ring: it’s right against left

Mike Tyson’s politics can be about as gruesome as his bouts in the ring. Sometimes you wonder if it’s even about politics at all, like when he suggested that former Alaska Republican governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin might enjoy finding herself in a compromising sexual position with a horse (or a black guy).6

But sometimes, he’s genuinely funny, such as when he spoofed Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s creepy campaign ad–cheesy smile and all.7

All of this might lead you to believe that Tyson is a Democrat: disparaging comments toward Republicans and the fact that he once said that black Republicans are “sellouts.”8

But Tyson is a man of many conversions and his latest is to the Republican Party. He even campaigned on behalf of Maryland Republican Senate candidate Lt. Governor Michael Steele.9 Plus, he’s expressed a few conservative views. He’s said that welfare is bad and praised private education over public.10 Plus, he pissed off PETA when he started holding pigeon racing events.11 That’s a one-way ticket out of the liberal camp.

  1. Sports of the Times: The Tyson, Olajuwon Connection. NY Times. []
  2. PHOTO: Mike Tyson at Mecca. Beliefnet. []
  3. Mike Tyson: ‘I doubt my rage will ever be gone.’ Telegraph. []
  4. Mike Tyson interview about islam muslim. YouTube. []
  5. Time Covers Mike Tyson’s Islam, Not Radical Islamist’s Shooting of U.S. Troops. Newsbusters. []
  6. Mike Tyson Thinks That Sarah Palin Needs Harder Sex. With Leather. []
  7. Mike Tyson Spoofs Herman Cain. ABC News. []
  8. Mike Tyson: Republican? Off Wing Opinion. []
  9. Mike Tyson: Republican? Off Wing Opinion. []
  10. Mike Tyson interview about islam muslim. YouTube. []
  11. Pigeon Racing, Mike Tyson and PETA. Birding. []