'Iron Mike' Limited Series a Go at Hulu as Tyson Blasts Streamer for "Tone-Deaf Cultural Misappropriation"

Mike Tyson
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Mike Tyson

Hulu is stepping into the ring.

The Disney-backed streamer is turning its lens on polarizing boxer Mike Tyson with a limited series fittingly titled Iron Mike.

From the team behind I, Tonya, the eight-episode series will explore the wild, tragic and controversial life and career behind what the streamer calls "one of the most polarizing figures in sports culture." Tyson is not involved with the series in any capacity, though sources say Hulu executives briefed him and his team on the series a couple months ago.

"Hulu's announcement to do an unauthorized miniseries of my life, although unfortunate, isn't surprising," Tyson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "This announcement on the heels of social disparities in our country is a prime example of how Hulu's corporate greed led to this tone-deaf cultural misappropriation of my life story. To make this announcement during Black History Month only confirms Hulu's concern for dollars over respect for Black story rights. Hollywood needs to be more sensitive to Black experiences especially after all that has transpired in 2020. My authorized story is in development and will be announced in coming days."

(Hulu declined comment on Tyson's statement.)

I, Tonya screenwriter Steven Rogers created the series, with Karin Gist (Mixed-ish) attached to serve as showrunner and executive producer. The series hails from Disney's 20th Television. I, Tonya helmer Craig Gillespie will also exec produce and direct the series. Fellow exec producers include I, Tonya's Margot Robbie and her LuckyChap colleagues Tom Ackerley and Brett Hedblom. Entertainment 360's Darin Friedman will also exec produce alongside Clubhouse Pictures' Bryan Unkeless and Scott Morgan.

While Tyson is considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, he was convicted of rape and served three years of a six-year prison sentence. Tyson staged a boxing comeback after his release and lost in a 1997 rematch against Evander Holyfield in which he was famously disqualified for biting off a piece of his opponent's ear. He retired in 2006 but returned to the ring against Roy Jones Jr. last year.

On the entertainment side, he played himself in 2009's The Hangover and teamed with Spike Lee to bring his one-man show to Broadway. The production aired on HBO in 2013. He's published a New York Times best-selling autobiography and tackled multiple animated series, including Adult Swim's Mike Tyson Mysteries. He also produced the feature Champs, a boxing doc that examined the lives and careers of Tyson, Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins.

Iron Mike is part of a rapidly growing LuckyChap slate that also includes Hulu's Kat Dennings comedy Dollface, Netflix's John Wells drama Maid and features Promising Young Woman, among others.

Iron Mike comes as Hulu continues to turn its lens on pop culture. The streamer last year ordered Pam & Tommy, an eight-episode limited series focused on former tabloid favorites Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson, with Sebastian Stan and Lily James set to star. (Anderson and Lee are not involved with the show.)