The demand has come from Melvin Townsend, who claims that Tyson ‘viciously assaulted’ him on a plane in April 2022.
A video of the incident, which was first shared by TMZ, shows the former sports star appearing to be leaning over his seat to strike the head of a man while on a Jet Blue plane bound for Florida.
In a statement released after the video emerged, Tyson’s representatives confirmed an altercation had taken place, claiming the passenger had been ‘harassing’ him on the aircraft.
In a statement cited by AP, police said officers detained ‘two subjects that were believed to be involved in the incident’. Both subjects were later released pending further investigation.
In May that year, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe confirmed Tyson would not be charged after reviewing the footage alongside police reports.
Wagstaffe said in a statement: “Our decision is that we will not file any charges against Mr. Tyson based on the circumstances surrounding the confrontation.
“These include the conduct of the victim leading up to the incident, the interaction between Mr. Tyson and the victim, as well as the requests of both the victim and Mr. Tyson that no charges be filed in this case. We now deem this case closed.”
But now Townsend has demanded $450,000 to address the injuries received during the incident, including covering any medical and legal bills.
He also claims that he is ‘still suffering with the effects of the assault to this day’.
A representative for Tyson has dismissed the claim, calling it a ‘shakedown’.
Tyson’s attorney Alex Spiro said: “I have received a shakedown letter related to some instigator’s harassment of Mike a year ago and the aftermath.
“There will be no shakedown payment.”
Tyson has also claimed that Townsend had thrown a water bottle at him prior to the incident.
On an episode of his Hotboxin’ podcast, Tyson previously said that the man had been ‘f**king with me’.
However, representatives for Townsend have argued that Tyson has since admitted to the alleged attack on television, and never claimed that he was acting in self-defense.
Townsend’s lawyer, Jake Jondle, said in a statement to TMZ: “Not only is the evidence clear that Mr. Tyson committed the intentional torts of assault and battery, but he also acted recklessly and negligently.
“Additionally, Mr. Tyson admitted on national television to attacking Mr. Townsend and never once claimed a legal justification for his actions, such as self-defense. He admitted he should not have attacked Mr. Townsend.”
He added: “Being irritated by a fan is not a legal defense to any of Mr. Townsend’s claims.”
The attorney also claimed that the demand for a payment of $450,000 was intended to ‘engage in good-faith settlement discussions to attempt to resolve this claim prior to filing a lawsuit’.
In a pre-litigation letter Jondle claims that Tyson could have used other means to diffuse and deal with the situation, but instead ‘chose physical violence’.
Jondle added that Townsend had simply been ‘excited to see [Tyson] on the flight, began discussing the marijuana industry and psychedelic mushrooms with him, and Mr. Tyson became annoyed’.
Townsend has claimed that he ‘suffered from a severe headache and neck pain’ after incident.
He also did not have medical insurance at the time, and has claimed that he had to pay out significant medical costs as a result.
His letter adds: “If we are unable to reach an agreement, we will continue to prepare Mr. Townsend’s case for the filing of a lawsuit.”