UPDATED 4/22, 1:40 PM ET: The man Mike Tyson had an altercation with on a JetBlue flight has been identified by TMZ as Melvin Townsend, III. According to the publication, the 36-year-old has had several run-ins with the law in the past, including being convicted of grand larceny, fraud, burglary, possession of controlled substances and trafficking in stolen property. He was also imprisoned twice, once for 20 months and once for 15 months.
Matt Morgan, an attorney representing Melvin Townsend III, told TMZ the 36-year-old is a Tyson fan and denied ever throwing a water bottle at the 55-year-old boxer.
“When Mike Tyson boarded the plane, he became overly excited. At first, their interaction was cordial,” Morgan told the outlet. “At some point, Mr. Tyson clearly became agitated by a fan who was too excited and started hitting him excessively. This situation could have been avoided simply by contacting the flight attendant. Our client denies throwing a bottle of water before he was hit by Mr. Tyson .
Morgan went to say Tyson shouldn’t have hit Townsend. “To state the obvious, as one of the greatest fighters of all time, Mr. Tyson should have exercised more restraint before using his hands on an overly excited fan.”
See the original story below.
Video of an incident on a plane on Wednesday appears to show Mike Tyson repeatedly punching another passenger after he failed to leave the boxer/actor/podcaster alone.
TMZ reports that the moment fell on a flight that was supposed to go from San Francisco to Florida. A witness said the passenger was too excited to find he was sitting behind Tyson and took a selfie with him. But as the passenger continued to try to talk to Tyson, he apparently annoyed him enough to be told to relax. The outlet also reports via a source that the man was “extremely drunk and kept taunting the boxer in his seat.”
The retired boxer then allegedly turned around to punch the man in the face multiple times, footage on TMZ shows. Shortly after punching the guy, Tyson got off the plane. The victim, who could be seen with a bloody face, received medical attention and has since contacted police, although it is unclear whether an investigation has been opened.
TMZ received a statement from Tyson’s representatives saying: “Unfortunately, Mr. Tyson had an incident on a flight with an aggressive passenger who began to harass him and threw a bottle of water at him while he was at his seat.”
The video comes less than a month after Tyson was filmed keeping his cool when a man challenged him to a fight and pulled out a gun. This clip was taken during a comedy show and shows Tyson sitting still as the man seemed to become increasingly animated, prompting the host of the event to tell the man to to move back. Just then a gun was drawn and cocked, sending the attendees into a brief panic. Tyson, however, sat in silence as the man put the gun away.
TMZ Sports spotted Tyson entering the Eden Roc Miami hotel on Thursday night in high spirits, despite what happened the night before. Even as he faced an aggressive pap in his continued response to the plane incident, the former heavyweight champion remained silent, kept his cool and took time to take some photos with the fans.
Tyson is in Miami to speak at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference Afterparty at LIV on Thursday night.
San Francisco police said two people involved in the incident have been arrested, one of whom was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. This same person reportedly refused to cooperate with their investigation.