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Mike Tyson tells ESPN he 'had no idea' there was a Street Fighter character modeled after him


Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • July 16, 2019 at 9:43 a.m. PDT • Comments: 105

You don't have to be in the fighting game community for too long before you'll hear the story about Balrog, Vega, and M. Bison swapping names to avoid any potential lawsuits with real-life boxer Mike Tyson, but according to his own words in a recent interview with ESPN, Tyson himself didn't find out until here in 2019.

If you're finding it hard to believe that the former Heavyweight Champion of the World was not aware of a Street Fighter boxing character modeled after his likeness and name for a full 18 years, you're not alone. Still, Tyson seems to be fairly genuine in his reactions to the news.

For those of you, like Tyson, who need a refresher, three of the boss characters in Street Fighter 2 were Vega, (the evil dictator and main boss) Balrog, (a Spanish cage fighter with a mask and claw) and M. Bison (a boxer who fought in Las Vegas). M. Bison was a clear play on "Mike Tyson," and there was some worry that the then-World champ may not be okay with the character being such an obvious reference.

Capcom switched up the names for the game's Western release and thus Balrog became the boxer, Vega became the masked fighter, and M. Bison became the evil dictator. The original ordering of names is still used in Japan, and so the universal monikers are now Dictator, Claw, and Boxer to avoid confusion.

"Holy moly. Does he look like me?" Are the first words out of Tyson's mouth upon apparently seeing the boxer for the first time. Host Arda Ocal asks if Tyson had ever seen Balrog before, to which Tyson responds, "Never in a million years."

You can see the quick interaction via the embed right here, and hear Tyson's actual thoughts on the character now that he finally knows about it.

Thank you to BornReady for sending this our way.

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