Mike Tyson Vs. Fight to Fame: Is the Former Champion Involved in Crypto?

United States boxing legend Mike Tyson has denied a connection with the cryptocurrency project Fight to Fame, which is suspected of financial fraud. He announced it in a Twitter post on Aug. 15:

“I am not involved with Fight to Fame or their countdown website, nor will I be involved with anything related to Fight to Fame now or in the future. Any media reporting my current involvement isn’t accurate.”

The information about the project first appeared in the media back in April this year. Why, however, it was only recently that Tyson publicly denied its involvement in the activities of Fight to Fame is still unclear. In order to get to the bottom of the story, Cointelegraph conducted an investigation.

Tyson’s name, token and fame

Fight to Fame was brought to media attention on Aug. 13 as Cointelegraph reported that Tyson had headed the sports and competition committee of the previously unknown project. The information originally appeared on VentureBeat.

Fight to Fame is an entertainment platform for promoting new sports stars through films and video games, and it used the former boxing champion Mike Tyson as its cover star. Meanwhile, the project utilizes a blockchain to provide a transparent and secure decentralized ledger.

Project CEO Farzam Kamalabadi and Chairman of Global Operations Tim Smithe planned to conduct an initial coin offering (ICO) and issue a token that fans could use to support the fighters. To make it more appealing, the token was also named after Tyson. Likewise, as was said to a crypto YouTube vlogger, Tim Smithe attributed the idea to the eminent boxing champion. According to Smithe:

“He’s a co-founder. This isn’t like we threw Mike few tokens to say we use your name. This was his idea. He stands with the co-founders.”

The idea that Tyson himself allegedly proposed was not new, though. The founders resorted to the classic Hollywood recipe — charity and a global star’s name to market it.

In an interview with blogger Crypto Beadles that was broadcast on April 13, Smithe shared plans “to host fights in 200 countries.” Thus, it was planned to help talented fighters build a career regardless of financial status or location. Smithe said during the interview:

“When you’re hosting fights in Sierra Leone or Ghana, you’re putting a spotlight on local economy or revitalizing local economy, and more importantly you’re giving kids that would never have a chance, boys and girls, men and women, young and old […] to be in a real global competition.”  

The site even contained Tyson’s quotes, but they were soon removed together with the rest of the information. The champion’s role in the project also remains unclear. 

Tyson: Not involved

Tyson himself chose to remain in the shadows until recently. Only on Aug. 15 did he made a public statement about his involvement with Fight to Fame. The next day, his wife and part-time manager, Lakiha Tyson, told the media that they were discussing the collaboration with the Fight to Fame creators several years ago, but they have made it “very clear” since then that they were not involved with the project.

Tyson’s publicist, Jo Mignano, also confirmed that the boxing star had never been on the Fight to Fame board or directors, and negotiations that ended two years ago have not led to anything. The champion’s family even hired lawyers to protect his rights. On Feb. 12, the law firm Lavely & Spencer sent a number of persons involved in the issue of the Tyson Token cryptocurrency cease-and-desist letters, which demanded them to stop using Mike Tyson’s name, photos and voice.

A cease and desist letter sent by Tyson’s attorneys

After three months of unsuccessful attempts to reach an agreement, Tyson decided to involve the public. On May 22, his spokesperson contacted the Wall Street Journal, informing the paper that the former champion was not involved in the new project.

Who dragged Tyson into this?

So, who is responsible for all this? The answer is not clear cut. Formally, the roles of talking heads and nominee project managers belong to Kamalabadi, head of the Future Trends International Group investment holding, who claims to have