Mike Tyson 'scared to death' as he was filmed putting a shark to sleep

Mike Tyson was filmed putting a shark to sleep by tickling its nose as part of a Tyson vs Jaws challenge for Discovery Channel's Shark Week.

The age-old question of Tyson vs shark has finally been answered. The boxing legend faced off against a lemon shark in three separate rounds, ultimately putting the shark to sleep.

Challenge accepted

For the first round, Mike Tyson had to cage dive among a group of lemon sharks. In the second challenge Tyson once again had to face off with the ocean beasts, this time without a cage. And, to add some danger to the mix, the boxer was made to push the sharks away if they got too close.

But the third challenge is where it really gets interesting. Mike Tyson had to face off against one of the lemon sharks and induce what's called tonic immobility.

Tonic immobility is a state of involuntary paralysis or 'temporary state of immobility' which affects animals such as sharks and stingrays. It is thought that tonic immobility is almost like a state of calmness and hypnosis and can be induced in some sharks by turning them on their backs. Females are often more sensitive than males to tonic immobility leading many to assume it has something to do with mating. However, why it occurs has never been proven.

How does one induce tonic immobility?

To induce tonic immobility, Tyson was given a shark to target which he had to tickle on the nose until he could put it to sleep. After diving nearly 50ft below the surface with no protective gear, Tyson managed to cat the shark on the nose as it swam past him.

The cameras surrounded Mike and the shark as he continued to tickle it to the ground. In the footage, one of the crew can be heard saying 'keep calm and the shark will stay calm.'

Once the boxing champion gets one over on the shark and softly sets it on the seafloor the crew crowns:

Mike Tyson the undisputed heavyweight champion of the shark!
Mike Tyson the undisputed heavyweight champion of the shark! Discovery Channel

Mike Tyson was 'scared to death'

Tyson claimed that before the challenges he had vomited and was 'scared to death.' But, ultimately the experience helped him conquer his fears. Speaking about the encounter, Tyson stated:

I took on this challenger to overcome fears I still deal with in life. I equate this with overcoming my fear of getting back into the ring at 54 years old.

He continued:

I learned from this experience doing Shark Week that whatever intimidates me, I am still able to step up to the challenge of overcoming anything that would prevent me from accomplishing my life's mission of reaching my highest potential in life and bringing me closer to God.

Tyson is set to return to the ring in an 8 round exhibition match against Roy Jones Jr. But, the high profile match has been postponed until November 28.

Shark vs shark: A tiger shark tries to take on a hammerhead Shark vs shark: A tiger shark tries to take on a hammerhead