Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Don't Turn Your Back On A Jealous Cokehead: A Mike Tyson Life Lesson


Excerpted from Undisputed Truth, available now from Blue Rider Press.


Don King was offering me a $20 million settlement in exchange for him getting to promote my fights again. I told Jackie Rowe that before we could talk about working together and settling, I wanted three things of mine that Don still had—a green Rolls-Royce, a painting that the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi had given me that was supposed to be worth a lot, and the thing I was worried the most about: a drawing of me in the middle of a bunch of X-Men that Stan Lee had done.

Don called Jackie and told her that he would fly us down to Florida and put us up so we could work out a settlement. Jackie, her son, my girlfriend Luz, and I got on Don’s private jet and flew down. I packed a big block of coke and a duffel bag with a half-pound of reefer. I was doing my coke and smoking my blunts and listening to my Walkman and I was higher than the plane was when an epiphany hit me.

“This is my motherfucking plane. I paid for this plane. And this motherfucker is acting like he’s doing me a favor sending me down on my own fucking plane. This nigga is playing me.”

The drugs were playing with my head and I was freaking out and getting jealous.

Don picked us up at the private airport in his Rolls and he had Isadore Bolton, who used to be my chauffeur before he stole him from me, driving some of Don’s associates in the lead car. We were driving down to Miami from Fort Lauderdale on the I-95. Don said some innocuous thing, and all that jealousy and rage spilled out of me and I kicked him in his fucking head. Boom! You don’t turn your back on a jealous cokehead.

Don swerved off onto the side median and I started choking him from the backseat. I got out of the car to get into the front seat and kick his ass some more, but Don took off down the median.

Now I was on the side of the fucking highway by myself. Don drove a little bit down the road and then let Jackie and her son and Luz out of the car. They came up to me carrying my bag with the half-pound of reefer. I had the coke stash on me.


“Why did you let him go, Jackie?” I screamed. “Now we’re out here on the fucking highway.”

All of a sudden, Isadore pulled up. He was there to pick us up because he lost our car and when he called Don, Don told him to turn around and get us.


He pulled up alongside me and rolled his window down and told me to get in the car.

“Fuck you, motherfucker,” I screamed.

Isadore got out of his driver’s door and I was right on him. I punched him in the face twice, shattering his left orbital bone. The force of the blows knocked him across the driver’s seat and I reached in and grabbed his leg and bit it. Isadore managed to kick me off him and close his door, so I punched the outer panel of his door and bent the steel. I was about to break his window when he managed to drive away.


His shoes were still on the side of the road and he was driving barefoot.

Then the cops came. They were talking to us and I had the half brick of coke and Luz was holding the duffel bag with the half-pound of weed. These cops were so excited to see me that the motherfuckers didn’t even ask me what we were doing on the side of the highway. They’d have put anybody else’s ass on that grass, and they’d be locked up for life for having all that coke. I’m an extremist. Why couldn’t I just buy an eight ball? No, I had to have a half a brick. The guys who sold it to me said, “Mike, this is sales weight. Police are not going to hear that you’re getting high with a half a brick of blow.” And I had this as my personal stash.


The cops offered to drive us to our destination. Jackie talked Don into giving us some money, and he sent a guy over with a couple hundred grand.

We partied every night for a month and then a friend of mine came by with his tour bus and we picked up a couple of girls and drove all around the east coast.


In June, I was visiting my childhood friend Dave Malone and we were flying our pigeons in Brownsville. That night Dave drove me back to the Marriott Hotel where I was staying. Outside the hotel, two guys who were returning to their rooms and they were pretty drunk and came up to me and asked me for an autograph. I was high on cocaine. Let me tell you something about me. When I was getting high and it was nighttime or early in the morning, I was not a good person to meet. I was just nasty, looking for trouble. I could have these Herculean fucking mood swings, almost Jekyll and Hyde shit.

So these two Puerto Rican guys approached me and asked me for my autograph. I told them to fuck off.


“You ain’t all that, anyway,” one of them said. “We got guns and you only got your fists.”

If I wasn’t on coke probably nothing would have happened. But I was, so I chased them into the lobby and up the escalator. We got to the top of the escalator and I knocked one of them out with one punch. The other guy was hiding behind the front desk and I pulled him out and hit him. He was spared when hotel security came.


Image by Jim Cooke, original photo via Getty