Video: Mike Tyson Beat Up Passenger Who Talked Too Much On Flight

Iron Mike Tyson was once the ‘baddest man on the planet.’ Based on his behavior on a recent JetBlue flight, he’s still at least second behind Bill O’Reilly.

On Wednesday evening Tyson flew JetBlue from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale. The man sitting behind him in business class wouldn’t stop talking with him. It began with Tyson agreeing to take a selfie, but when passengers wouldn’t leave him alone Tyson let them know he’d have enough. It continued, and Tyson had got up and began giving the man behind him a beat down. Going full-on Joe Lewis, he drew blood.

At this point the flight hadn’t even taken off yet.

The passenger who got the beat down, who was reportedly intoxicated, sought medical attention and went to the police. Tyson left the flight as well.

Sometimes I like to be left alone inflight, to nap or work, but that’s what noise cancelling headphones – not fists of fury – are for.

Tyson won his first 18 professional fights by knockout. Most of those were in the first round. He’s the youngest ever to win a heavyweight title. When he knocked out Michael Spinks in 91 seconds it was the only thing the entire country was talking about.

But his behavior outside the ring made him an anti-hero at best. And his behavior inflight shows that – while passengers around him can be perhaps just as bad, a boxer’s desire to box is no longer acceptable when an aggrieved husband can’t even slap Chris Rock on national television. When you go Cassius Clay on a JetBlue Mint flight it’s going to get recorded and you’re going to come out the bad guy.

(HT: Live and Let’s Fly)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @David Miller – By short bus, I assume you mean the shuttle bus to the rental car terminal.

    Forget that Tyson is the former heavyweight champion, he’s now a civilian, though a famous one. And even if he were still a professional boxer, the idea that his hands are “lethal weapons” is a myth. A boxer, even an active one, has the same right to self-defense as any other person. A court might take into account a boxer’s talents if he maimed or killed someone in a fight, but he still retains the same right to self-defense as anyone else. The idiot bugging him can’t claim he didn’t know who Tyson was, otherwise he wouldn’t be bugging him. The guy got a little bloodied, if Tyson wanted to inflict real damage, he certainly knows how, so you can say that his response was measured. The question then is, was it justified? That we don’t know, it’s an open legal question.

    The two most likely scenarios are: 1. The guy was just pestering Tyson and Tyson decided he’d had enough, so started whaling on him. That would be assault on Tyson’s part. 2. The guy was pestering Tyson, Tyson put up with it for awhile, then told the guy to knock it off, the guy then threw the water bottle at him, presumably over the seat, and probably hit him in the head or upper body. That’s assault on the part of the guy and it triggers Tyson’s right to self-defense. He’s now under physical assault and doesn’t know that it’s going to end. An attorney will make the argument that anyone, including Tyson, then has the right to counterattack to stop the assault. That’s pretty much black letter, English common law and part of just about every other legal code in the world. He hit him a couple of times, he didn’t knock him unconscious, then he stopped. If this is the scenario, I don’t see a criminal or civil case against Tyson – his status as a former (or even current) professional boxer makes no difference.

    If you want to see how far self-defense cases go, all the way to lethality, see Rittenhouse. You start a fight, you open a can of worms. Stop focusing on Tyson’s profession, that makes no difference in the eyes of the law. He attacks without a physical assault, Tyson is guilty of assault, he responds to a physical attack, Tyson has the right to self-defense.

  2. C_M — A CLASSIC barrage of total BULLSHIT – from a moron who wasn’t there who is too ignorant to realize just how ignorant he is. You are a perfect example of “Better to remain silent and be thought to be a fool that to speak and remove all doubt”.

  3. David Miller – Ahh, thank you for your precise legal argument that my reasoning is nothing but BS without making any case for that whatsoever. There is a saying in law – when the facts are on your side, pound the facts; when the law is on your side, pound the law; and when neither is on your side, pound the table.

    There’s a whole lot of table pounding on your side. And Tyson hasn’t been charged with anything yet.

  4. @C_M is the only rational guy left on this blog. The rule of law prevails, just as @C_M correctly points out. The law isn’t predicated on a popularity contest. Just because someone dislikes Mike Tyson doesn’t change the law.

  5. C_M & DFWSteve –You guys are so full of shit. Tell me just how the “rule of law’ applies the next time YOU are in the process of getting your face punched in – I can see it now as you scream ” a court of law will find you not guilty” as you get you ass beat –both of you are really obtuse.

  6. @David Miller – I think most of us refrain from throwing bottles or punches at people, and it has been my observation that if you do that, you are unlikely to get your face punched in or your ass beat. That rule has worked well since I was 10. But it does make me wonder what the hell you’ve been up to…

  7. C_M – apparently you were there and saw the bottle thrown – if one was. Even so, that does not justify Tyson punching a seated passenger. I have nothing more to ad for I have stated, with clarity, the truth of the situation. You may now spew whatever you like.

  8. @David Miller – You are so wrapped up in your narrative that it has affected your reading comprehension and you have no ability to admit you might be wrong. I have laid out two, if not three scenarios, one where Tyson is guilty of assault, one where he has the right of self defense, and one where we just don’t know, it would be a judgment call. You seem to think there can be no justification for what he did, which is just flat out wrong as a matter of law.

    Yes, I have no idea if a bottle was thrown – neither do you. No bottle, almost certainly no justification, depending on what was said. (I caveat that because there are some words that, if said, are going to trigger a person, and we all know what words those are. No one is claiming that here, but it’s unlikely a jury is going to convict someone based on using those words in a hostile manner.) Throw the bottle accidently or just playing with it, again, no justification. But get in the middle of a verbal altercation with a guy, then throw a water bottle at him, self-defense, even if you are seated on a plane and the other guy is Mike Tyson. (I will also note that there is probably a reason this was filmed, as there was probably quite a disturbance beforehand, which we don’t see. One just doesn’t ordinarily film things on a plane while waiting for takeoff, it’s pretty boring.)

    Sorry, but you’re just flat out wrong on this. As they say, the facts will likely speak for themselves here. Any outcome is possible at this point, but so far, the facts are starting to line up for Tyson, and they originally didn’t. I have just laid out the possible scenarios – other than that, let’s all take a deep breath and let the rest of the story come out. Just be prepared for it not to go your way, so buy some Preparation H, because you might get butthurt.

  9. C_M – Are you through patting yourself on the back? First of all, I am not wrong. Secondly, you should rub some of that Preparation H on your lips as they must be chapped from all of the crap spewing from your mouth.

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