In 2006 in Manchester, ‘Iron Mike’ got a surprise call from the World Cage Fighting Championship, an MMA promotion in the UK, to act as referee for a match between Spaniard Diego Gonzalez and 20-year old Terry Etim, a Liverpudlian who went on to have a decent career in UFC, of which Tyson is a big fan of.
It was an easy night for Tyson, who called off the fight after just one minute. Terry Etim had the honour of having his hand raised by the boxing legend.
It’s not the first time he has donned a referee shirt in a different sport.
Tyson bagged $3.5million to referee the WrestleMania 14 contest between Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1998 when his boxing licence was suspended.
His star power helped launch WWE above WCW in the Monday Night Wars and ultimately made the former the biggest wrestling company on the planet.
Still, we have to imagined World Cage Fighting Championship wasn’t shelling out $3.5m.
Maybe Tyson did it for his love of the sport?
“When I came up, my trainer was a boxing guy. If my guy was in UFC, I’d probably go that way,” he explained.
“I love UFC, big time. How could you not be? They play UFC so much, you see it year round, and you just have to want to be a fan. If you’re not a fan, you’re not cool.
The gig in Manchester came a year after he retired from the sport that made him – and five after his controversial appearance in the UK where he was paid handsomely to fight Julius Francis.