Former boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and Street Fighter’s Balrog have very distinct similarities but Tyson only just became aware that the character was actually inspired by him in his heyday.
It doesn’t take long to realize Balrog has a lot in common with boxers, Mike Tyson in particular, but the former heavyweight champion had no idea about this.
To make the similarities even more obvious, Balrog’s name in Japan is M. Bison, which rhymes with Mike Tyson. Instead, M. Bison is the name of a completely different character everywhere but Japan.
Capcom decided to avoid any legal technicalities and changed his name to Balrog but the similarities were still right there, especially for people who knew the original story.
During an appearance on ESPN in early July, Tyson found out first-hand how much he looked like the character, and he was genuinely surprised by what he saw.
“Do you know the story of Street Fighter II and M. Bison?” asks Arad Ocal of ESPN. “I want to show you a picture actually,” he said as he handed Tyson a picture.
If he truly didn’t know before, then there’s no way he doesn’t now as he very quickly noticed the eye-popping similarities.
“Holy moley, does he look like me,” he said after he saw an uncanny resemblance of his face next to Balrog’s.
However, instead of being upset about this, Tyson was able to take it in stride by saying he was actually honored they would base a character after him, even if was without any permission by him.
Mike Tyson is pretty involved in the esports community, investing in a team back in May, so it isn’t surprising to see him talk video games.
However, it’s clear that his general game knowledge could use some work as it took him over two decades to release this fact about Balrog.
Back in April, Tyson expressed confusion by thinking a new Punch-Out title was being released by Nintendo.
heard @Nintendo was doing the new “Punch Out” without even contacting me. it wont be the same. my knockouts made the game. thats whack.
— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) April 4, 2019
As it turns out, it was just a simple re-release as part of the Nintendo Switch Online service.