‘I broke my back – spinal’ – Mike Tyson chuckles at old viral interview

Mike Tyson Spinal


Mike Tyson has addressed one of his funnier career moments after telling Jim Gray in 2003 that he ‘broke his back’ in a post-fight interview.

The 54-year-old, who is just days away from a comeback fifteen years from his retirement, firstly made the statement after beating Clifford Ettiene.

Without social media at that time, the quip couldn’t go viral but is still one of the more memorable and light-hearted incidents of Tyson’s boxing stint.

At the time, Tyson seemed deadly serious. Unflinching, he told Gray his spine has problems while standing perfectly upright, despite having just demolished Ettiene quickly.

“I broke my back,” said Tyson. Gray responded, “What do you mean by that?”

Tyson answered, “My back is broken.” Again, a bemused Gray quizzed Tyson by asking, “A vertebrae or what portion?

Unbelievably, Tyson uttered the immortal words, “SPINAL.” Then stating that a motorcycle accident caused it.

Reflecting on the now-infamous clip viewed millions of times on social media and the subject of several t-shirts, Tyson laughed when speaking to CompuBox’s Dan Cannobio.

“Listen, I have a bad back just through all of the work I put in over the years,” pointed out Tyson. “The spine in my back has a lot of wear and tear.

“I had to get an operation. So I tried to explain my situation but wasn’t eloquent enough to do it the way I wanted it to be explained.

“I think it’s very funny. ‘What’s wrong, Mike?’ – SPINAL,” he added jokingly.

At that point, Tyson is rolling back in his seat as he remembers how it all went down.


‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ is now closing in on a return to action in his first appearance in the ring since 2005.

Back-to-back losses against Danny Williams and Kevin McBride had given Tyson nowhere to go in his career. Mainly due to his lifestyle outside the ropes.

Getting himself in unbelievable shape for his age, the New Yorker goes up against Roy Jones Jr.

Tyson is set to earn an eight-figure paycheck dependent on Pay Per View sales. He once again could be an active boxer on the overage circuit.

By creating his own ‘Legends Only League,’ fans will be able to enjoy Tyson trading blows for a few more years, potentially.

It all depends on how this Saturday night goes down when two icons of boxing collide.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay.