What Did Mike Tyson Go to Prison For?

March 7, 2024
David Sunnyside

Mike Tyson is widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers ever to have graced the sport. But he is no stranger to controversy outside of the ring either. In fact, he once spent a number of years in prison for raping a beauty pageant contestant. It’s a case that shaped public perception of the athlete and triggered a flurry of reactions from fans, the media and beyond.

In July 1991, Tyson met Desiree Washington at a rehearsal for the Miss Black America pageant in Indianapolis. The two subsequently went back to Tyson’s hotel room and the boxer raped her. The boxer claimed the sex was consensual but he was later found guilty of rape and sentenced to ten years in prison. He served just shy of three of those years at Plainfield Correctional Facility before returning to the ring in 1995 and reclaiming his heavyweight title.

During his time in prison, Tyson took part in substance abuse counselling and experienced a spiritual awakening. This journey, which was facilitated by his friendship with a Muslim cleric, provided Tyson with a sense of discipline and purpose that significantly influenced his post-prison life. As a result, he often refers to his time in prison as the ‘best three years of my life’.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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