The man who Mike Tyson beat up on a JetBlue flight in an April 2022 incident is demanding $450,000 in what the boxer calls a "shakedown" attempt. And from the sound of it, Tyson is in no way willing to pay up.
A lawyer for Melvin Townsend, the man who Tyson pummeled, sent Tyson's legal team a pre-litigation settlement demand for "injuries and damages" that Townsend allegedly sustained as a result of the beating. The incident occurred on a flight from San Francisco, when Townsend—who allegedly was visibly intoxicated at the time—repeatedly harassed and annoyed the 57-year-old boxer, and even threw a water bottle at him at one point.
At the time, the court of public opinion seemed to side squarely with Tyson, and prosecutors declined to file charges after an investigation was conducted. "He was fucking with me, man," Tyson later said on his Hotboxin podcast.
However, Townsend's lawyer, Jake Jondle, said that his client was just "excited" to see Tyson, according to document, obtained by the New York Post.
"As a former undisputed heavyweight champion, the potential to cause severe injuries to another person goes without question," Jondle wrote in the legal letter. "There were several other remedies available to Mr. Tyson, but he chose physical violence."
He also pointed to a subsequent Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance in which the former heavyweight champion told the host, "I was wrong, that should've never happened."
Jondle also claimed that Townsend is "is still suffering with the effects of the assault to this day," after sustaining injuries including a concussion, cervical radiculopathy, and impaired vision. He says the $450,000 would help his client cover ongoing treatments to his injuries, as well as legal bills. Additionally, he argued that Townsend, who has several criminal convictions of his own, lost "several jobs due to the unfortunate notoriety he experienced."
In a statement, Tyson's attorney Alex Spiro unequivocally stated that they are not entertaining the cash grab. "I have received a shakedown letter related to some instigator's harassment of Mike a year ago and the aftermath," Spiro wrote. "There will be no shakedown payment."