ByAmy Kaplan, writer at
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Amy Kaplan

According to a report by, boxer Tommy Morrison knowingly boxed with HIV for seven years before being forced to retire.

According to the site, who says they have court documents to back up their claims, say he admitted to testing HIV positive seven years before he was forced to retire, and even bragged about hiding his illness from the boxing commission and from women with whom he had unprotected sex.

The documents are reported to show:

When Morrison went into rehab in 1999, the counselor doing his intake wrote that “He claims that he was first told he was HIV positive in 1989. He hid this from nearly everyone until 1996 when it was discovered and made public. At that time he was forced to stop his professional boxing career. He believes he got his HIV from injecting steroids.”
On August 20, 1999, Morrison’s psychiatrist wrote a letter to the boxer’s attorney that said “he has also been HIV positive for 11 years and had not been receiving treatment for this.”
When Morrison’s ex-wife, Dawn Brady, was questioned for the lawsuit in a sworn deposition on April 21st, she said that he had told her in 2000 that he tested positive for HIV in 1989 when he got checked out as part of the screening for a life insurance policy. “It was almost […] like he was bragging about it, in a way.”
Brady added that Morrison’s mother told her “that he had come to her around ’94 and said he thought he might be HIV positive.”
Later in the deposition, when asked if the rehab counselor’s intake report and psychiatrist’s letter were “consistent with” what Morrison told her circa 2000-2001, she answered “Yes.”
Brady also recounts how, during an ESPN interview at their home, Morrison “was talking to the reporter there and kind of like bragging that he knew about it since ’89, and he was kind of laughing about it.” When that happened, she “kept telling him to shut his mouth and he just kept on.” It got bad enough that she called Tommy’s attorney, who “got on the phone and said, ‘you know, you’re opening yourself up to a lot lawsuits by telling people that you knew in ’89, you know, all the women you slept with, you could open yourself up to a lot of lawsuits.” That snapped Morrison out of telling the reporter any more, “but he kept telling other people.”
When asked if it was “fairly common” that Morrison would tell people that he was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1989, Brady said that “I remember telling him, you know, that makes you sound like a monster if you knew then in ’89 and then you chose to go to still sleep with all these women and put them in at risk and not tell them and not use condoms. And he just kind of laughed it off.” He never told her why he did it.

Morrison won 48 of his 52 professional fights, held the World Boxing Organization heavyweight title and appeared in the movie Rocky V. He was forced to retire in 1996 after testing positive, but denied the results and even tried to challenge that the disease existed.

He died in 2014 at the age of 44.


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