While filming his special for Shark Week, Mike Tyson was a mess as he prepared to face his biggest fear.
He’s one of the most feared men on the planet.
But Mike Tyson was reduced to a terrified schoolkid when it came to diving with sharks for his latest TV project.
The ex-professional boxer – aka ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ – takes centre sea in a new documentary airing on Saturday as part of Discovery Channel’s phenomenon Shark Week, which kicks off on Foxtel tonight.
The special, Tyson vs. Jaws: Rumble On The Reef, will see Tyson diving with reef, bull and lemon sharks alongside Australian shark attack survivor Paul de Gelder.
de Gelder told news.com.au the extent of how terrified Tyson was before diving in the water, with the show filmed in the Bahamas late last year.
“We think he’s this incredible feared man and all of a sudden he’s the most afraid man on the planet,” de Gelder said.
“He was throwing up before and after every dive. He also had a fear of the ocean but a greater fear of sharks.
“He had no prior knowledge or experiences with him when he came to this, he only knew what the media had told him and that was that sharks are man eating monsters.
“My challenge was taking him from that far extreme fear into a realisation that sharks don’t actually want you eat you.”
Tyson wasn’t afraid to admit just how spooked he was during the ordeal. He told the New York Post he was “scared all the way through”.
“(I) was just trying to get through it alive. I’m a scary guy but not when it comes to adventurous stuff,” Tyson said.
Watch Shark Week 24/7 on Discovery Channel. New customers get all of Foxtel Now $25/mth for 3 months*. Sign up at foxtel.com.au
Former navy diver de Gelder knows a thing or two about overcoming fears.
The well-known Aussie identity was viciously attacked by a bull shark while completing diving drills in Sydney Harbour in 2009, where he lost a hand and a leg.
“Me and my three teammates were conducting counter terrorism training,” he said. “I jumped in on my back kicking my legs, and I was only in the water for about five minutes and I felt a huge whack in my leg and I could see a gigantic shark head attached to me – it was my worst fear.
“It dragged me underwater and ripped out my hamstring and hand – thankfully because I had a wetsuit on I popped to the surface and, realising I wasn’t dead, I started swimming to the boat with one hand and one leg, thankfully the guys got to me first before the shark came back.”
RELATED: Mike Tyson shows off jacked rig
Now he works for Discovery and speaks at motivational conferences around the world.
“So I’m proof we can actually turn our greatest fears into our greatest strengths,” he added.
Shark Week is a 24/7 TV event packed with documentaries from Australia and around the world.
What’s noteworthy for the 2020 edition is that the host of shark experts set off on a mission to determine how the COVID-19 global lockdown – and less people in waters – has impacted sharks behaviour.
Shark Week starts Thursday November 26 on Foxtel’s Discovery Channel at 9.30pm AEDT