Hall of Fame boxer Mike Tyson was involved in a physical altercation on an airplane, edited video footage obtained by TMZ shows.
55-year-old “Iron Mike” turned around in his seat after persistent verbal harassment and struck the passenger in the head, leaving him with slight bloody marks on his temple, as seen in the video. A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department confirmed Thursday night that “officers were dispatched to a physical altercation onboard an airplane” at San Francisco International Airport.
SFPD also relayed that two unnamed individuals were detained before later being released; one was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Mike Tyson under the microscope
Mike Tyson has rebuilt his image from that of an angrily deranged and ruthless fighter to a more passive, relatable figure, often doing interviews and podcasts to show his more vulnerable side. He was last in the ring on November 28, 2020, when he sparred with Roy Jones Jr. in an exhibition match.
The video of Tyson on the airline painted a different picture than the docile public idol he has transformed into recently. It appeared as if Tyson was holding back but eventually lost his cool and struck the other unnamed man.
“That subject provided minimal details of the incident and refused to cooperate further with the police investigation,” an SFPD officer said.
The short video showed countless attempts from that individual to get Tyson’s attention while aboard a JetBlue plane headed to Florida. Because the footage is edited, it is not entirely clear what led to Tyson responding so forcefully.
“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,” a spokesperson for the knockout artist told ESPN on Thursday.
Police said they are “aware of video that possibly captured the incident, which surfaced following the initial investigation. That video has been forwarded to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.”
A puzzling picture
Just over a month ago, a video showed a man confronting Mike Tyson, attempting to fight him, and then ultimately pulling a gun on him— Tyson then responded by inviting him closer to him and hugging him, which is why Thursday’s shocking footage was so unexpected.
The older Tyson was involved in a few cases of public violence before the turn of the century, including a 1989 incident where he was accused of slapping a parking attendant. He also served three-and-a-half months in jail after assaulting a man following a car accident in 1998.
Tyson’s last professional fight was in 2005 and was filled with controversy. He tried to break his opponent’s arm while in a clinch but was allowed to continue, and although two of three judges had him ahead on points at the end of the sixth round, he quit on his stool before the seventh could start.
The boxing great now mostly focuses on his cannabis line and podcast “Hotboxin’ With Mike Tyson,” also making guest appearances in a variety of locales.