Authorities were investigating Thursday after former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson was recorded on video punching a fellow passenger on board a plane at San Francisco International Airport.
The video shows Tyson leaning over the back of his seat repeatedly striking the unidentified man in the head, drawing blood. The footage was first shared by TMZ, which said it was recorded on a Jet Blue plane bound for Florida.
“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,” representatives for Tyson said in an email to The Associated Press.
Prior to the physical altercation, the man is seen on the video standing over Tyson’s seat, waving his arms and talking animatedly while the former boxer sits quietly.
San Francisco police responded Wednesday around 10 p.m. to a “physical altercation” on a plane at the airport’s domestic terminal, officials said.
Both were released pending further investigation, the statement said.
Another passenger on the flight, Sarah Burchfield, said she saw the man who Tyson punched at an airport bar earlier appearing loud and quarrelsome.
“When I boarded the flight, I thought, `Oh, no, that drunk guy is on our flight,”‘ Burchfield told SFGate.
Burchfield said when she boarded she passed Tyson’s seat in the first class section of the plane.
“The belligerent guy was sitting right behind him and I saw they were interacting,” she said. A short time later, she heard the confrontation in first class, she said.
No release of information as investigation carries on
San Francisco police said the video has been shared with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over the airport.
Sheriff’s officials said “we are not releasing information on the incident because it is an active investigation.”
JetBlue didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking additional details.
Since Tyson, 55, retired from boxing, he has worked as an actor, podcaster and cannabis entrepreneur.
He became the youngest heavyweight champion in history in 1987 at age 20. During his career he had 50 wins, 44 of them by knockout.
In the 1990s Tyson served three years in prison after being convicted of rape. He has maintained his innocence in that case.