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Evander Holyfield on Mike Tyson, Ric Flair & the Real Deal’s Cannabis Yield

Boardroom speaks with the boxing legend and Carma Holdings’ Chad Bronstein about leveling up in the cannabis entrepreneur alongside legends like Iron Mike and the Nature Boy.

When Tyson 2.0, Mike Tyson‘s cannabis brand, approached Evander Holyfield about a year ago to collaborate on a line of ear-shaped edibles making light of their infamous 1997 heavyweight title bout in which Iron Mike literally bit a chunk of Holyfield’s ear off, “The Real Deal” declined.

“I didn’t want to do it,” the 60-year-old former undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight boxing champion told Boardroom via Zoom earlier this month. “When I was young, people were saying ‘don’t touch that stuff. The stuff’s no good.’ As a kid, I just knew that this is not what you do, so you don’t get older and say I’m going to do it when you think that it’s wrong.”

Tyson went solo with Mike Bites in March, quickly going viral and becoming the company’s best-selling products, which he discussed with Boardroom in July. Fast-forwarding to October, Holyfield was approached by pro wrestling legend Ric Flair, whose Ric Flair Drip, Inc. was acquired by Tyson 2.0 earlier this year to produce licensed Nature Boy edibles and cannabis products.

Holyfield spoke with Flair and several others who informed him about cannabis’ benefits and how putting his name behind a product would positively impact people’s lives.

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“Ric Flair and Evander weren’t really big cannabis advocates until they started to really get educated,” Chad Bronstein, Chairman of Tyson 2.0 and Ric Flair Drip parent company Carma Holdings, told Boardroom, “and now they are because they understand the value of it and how it can help people in their sports or other areas.”

The most important issue to Holyfield was doing the right thing. As the youngest of nine growing up in rural Alabama and Atlanta, his mother taught him how important forgiveness is. It’s why he had no problem teaming up with Tyson for Holy Ears, a new product launched last month that included a hilarious commercial bit introducing the partnership embracing forgiveness.

“We go into this thing here, and it gets funny because I start messing up, he starts messing up,” Holyfield said. “You want to say something before it’s time to say it. It was kind of funny.”

In an industry growing and moving more rapidly each year, Bronstein’s seen the cannabis company iterate bigger and bigger over the past 14 months. Mike Bites launched in March right before Ric Flair Drip was acquired. Holy Ears launched in November right before he brought both companies under the Carma Holdings umbrella.

“Carma comes from the fact that we believe that everyone in the organization always believes in second chances,” Bronstein said. “And the ears are scaling across not just boutique dispensaries, but across convenience stores, gas stations, and smoke shops where it’s legal to sell THC or Delta 8.”

Tyson’s life famously changed for the better when he was introduced to the psychedelic substance DMT (dimethyltryptamine) found in several plant species and certain species of toad venom. “Toad,” which the company recently trademarked, is the name of its best-selling cannabis flower product — but it’s just a small part of what Bronstein considers a very strong 2022 for Carma.

Tyson 2.0 products are in 25 states and Canada, with more international expansion to come. Ric Flair Drip is in 15 states, and Carma has strong offerings in cannabis, CBD, Delta 8, and Delta 9. Bronstein believes the company’s created a great roadmap, on track for several million dollars in revenue, and showed the market what it can do from a national brand perspective.

As with many cannabis companies, Carma’s biggest roadblock moving forward is supply. Bronstein said he’s made sure the company has the right cultivators and partners in each state to make sure the supply meets the growing demand; that includes Columbia Care and Verano on the THC side and Legend in Delta 8 and Delta 9. The connections Bronstein has made as founder and CEO of compliance and data giant Fyllo have helped him immeasurably with Carma.

Now firmly entrenched in the U.S. and Canada, Carma is set to expand its partnerships and offerings outside of North America in 2023, ensuring Tyson, Holyfield, and Flair will be helping people while packing a potent punch all around the world.

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