Watch CBS News

Video appears to show Mike Tyson punching passenger on JetBlue plane

Former professional boxer Mike Tyson allegedly punched a fellow passenger on a JetBlue flight. Video taken on a cell phone and obtained by TMZ shows the former heavyweight champion throwing several punches aimed behind his seat. 

When reached for comment, the San Francisco Police Department told CBS News that officers detained two people involved in a "physical altercation onboard an airplane" at the San Francisco International Airport Wednesday night. It said one person was treated at the scene for non-life threatening injuries.

"That subject provided minimal details of the incident and refused to cooperate further with the police investigation," SFPD added in the statement. "Both subjects were released under 849(b) of the California Penal Code pending further investigation." 

SFPD did not name the two people allegedly involved in the altercation.

In a statement, representatives for Tyson said that the other passenger started the incident. 

UFC 270: Pereira v Fialho
Mike Tyson is seen in attendance during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California.  Chris Unger

"Unfortunately, Mr. Tyson had an incident on a flight with an aggressive passenger who began harassing him and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat," Tyson's representatives said Thursday. 

The passenger involved in the incident later identified himself as Melvin George Townsend III. In a statement, Townsend's attorney Matt Morgan said that Townsend was a "big fan" of Tyson and "became overly excited" when the former boxer boarded the plane. 

"At first their interaction was cordial," Morgan said in a statement. "At a certain point Mr. Tyson became agitated by an overly excited fan and began to strike him. This situation could have been avoided simply by contacting a flight attendant. 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 known not to use his hands on an overly excited fan."

JetBlue did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.