UFC chief Dana White has urged his close friend Mike Tyson to reconsider a return to boxing at the age of 53.
The two are often seen together at UFC events and White, 50, fears for the former world champion’s health should he proceed with his apparent intention to re-enter the ring.
Speaking on the Canadian podcast Tim and Sid, he said: “I love Mike Tyson, I'm begging him not to go fight. I said ‘You look awesome, you're still explosive, you're obviously still powerful, you're one of the all-time greats’.
“'But Mike, you're 53, please don't do it, please’.
“Bottom line is I don't want Mike to fight.”
“If it comes down to where he is about to do something crazy, I might have to jump in and figure out something for him not to do it,” White added.
Tyson, who became the youngest ever heavyweight champion in 1986, last fought in 2005, in a defeat to Ireland’s Kevin McBride where he retired upon his stool, ending his two-decade career in unceremonious fashion.
He’s now exciting and worrying fight fans in equal measure with social media posts of him back in action in the gym, ending his last video by claiming: “I’m back.”
Last month, Tyson revealed his intent on getting back in shape and orchestrating some charity exhibitions later in the year, with former rival Evander Holyfield, also looking to return to the ring, and Rugby League star Sonny Bill Williams among his mooted opponents .
“I've been hitting the mitts for the last week,” he said on Instagram Live. “That's been tough, my body is really jacked up and really sore from hitting the mitts.
“'I've been working out, I've been trying to get in the ring, I think I'm going to box some exhibitions and get in shape.”
Dana White isn’t the only person to voice their concern over Iron Mike and any other boxer’s potential return. Former WBO cruiserweight champion and pundit Johnny Nelson told Sky Sports:
"It's about the pace, that timing, that light-switch reaction. Once you've had time out to reflect and assess, you think 'I could do that.' But it's our mind playing tricks on us, because when you get in the ring and you come up against a youngster who's not as good as you, technically, but has more pace than you, he will do you every day of the week.
"We've seen Mike Tyson hit the headlines on the pads. And everyone's like 'Oh my gosh, he's the don.'
“We're remembering the good times but we're not remembering the back end of the career when the body didn't switch as quick as it used to. The body didn't react as quick as it used to."