“Our client is a big Mike Tyson fan,” lawyer Matt Morgan from Morgan & Morgan told TMZ Saturday (AEST).
“When Mike Tyson boarded the plane, he became overly excited. At first, their interaction was cordial. At a certain point, Mr. Tyson clearly became agitated by an overly excited fan and began to strike him in an excessive manner. This situation could have been avoided simply by contacting the flight attendant.”
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In response to the claim, Morgan told TMZ: “Our client denies throwing a water bottle prior to being struck by Mr. Tyson.
“To state the obvious, as one of the greatest fighters of all time, Mr. Tyson should have exercised greater restraint before using his hands on an overly excited fan.”
Townsend appeared bloodied in the head and face in the aftermath of the Thursday altercation in footage obtained by TMZ, The New York Post reports.
The San Francisco Police Department said cops responded to the scene and detained two people they believed were involved in the incident. One person was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to police, who told TMZ the injured person refused to cooperate with their investigation.
Townsend reportedly declined to press charges at the time, and both he and Tyson were free to leave after the incident.
“[Townsend] is still in shock and has not made a determination on what his next steps will be,” a source told TMZ. “He hired counsel due to his physical injuries, the overwhelming nature of this event and the associated media inquiries.”
Tyson apparently missed his initial flight from San Francisco to Miami Thursday, and later that day, hitched a ride with UFC President Dana White on his private jet.
Iron Mike was photographed later on Friday entering the Eden Roc hotel in Miami, where he appeared to be in good spirits, smiling and smoking. He even snapped a few photos with fans.
Tyson was scheduled to be in Miami to serve as the main speaker at the Benzinga Cannabis Conference.
He launched his Tyson 2.0 bud line late last year, and has become a beloved figure in the marijuana industry.
Tyson was one of the best fighters of all time and won 50 of his 58 fights, reigning as undisputed heavyweight champion of the world from 1987 to 1990.
He regained a heavyweight title following his release after three years, but found himself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons again when he bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a title fight.
He would later admit to having a cocaine addiction after being caught driving on drugs.
This latest incident comes just weeks after Tyson encountered another overzealous fan at a comedy club, with the former fighter remaining calm and even hugging the admirer, who brandished a gun during the exchange.
— This story originally appeared on nypost.com and has been republished permission