NEW YORK – Iron Mike Tyson is not "Mr. Politically Correct," according to a written apology of sorts released Wednesday to address his part in a news conference melee that could deny him a license to challenge Lennox Lewis.
"I'm a boxer, and from now on, I will let my boxing talk for me," Tyson said in the statement.
The former heavywight champion of the world did not comment on whether he bit Lewis' leg in the brawl at the Hudson Theater on Tuesday. A source close to Lewis' camp, who asked not to be identified, said Tyson did bite the WBC-IBF champion.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission is scheduled to consider Tyson's application for a license on Jan. 29. It was the Nevada commission that fined Tyson $3 million and revoked his license after he bit Evander Holyfield's ears in 1997.
Tyson got a license a year later, but it lapsed in 1999.
If the Nevada commission decides to suspend Tyson, its ruling will almost certainly be supported by all the other state athletic commissions in the U.S., making it virtually impossible for the 35-year-old boxer to fight in America.
Asked if the melee put the April 6 fight in jeopardy, Shelly Finkel, Tyson's adviser, said, "It didn't help."
Gary Shaw, chief operating officer of Main Events, the American promoter for Lewis, suggested Tyson's actions might mean he didn't want to fight the champion.
"I was wondering whether this was Mike Tyson's way of backing out of the fight of his life," said Shaw, who said he himself was punched both in the front and back of the head.
"There was obviously a miscommunication between our camps with regards to the face-off, and chaos broke out," Tyson said, explaining how the brawl began.
Apparently, each man was to come on stage upon being introduced and stop on one of two small platforms, which were not close to one another. They were to turn and stare at one another.
Tyson was introduced first. After Lewis got up on his platform, Tyson walked toward him, claiming he was going to engage in a stare down.
When he got close, he was pushed by Lewis' bodyguard and threw a punch at the man. Lewis threw a right hand that grazed Tyson's head and suddenly people were pushing, shoving and rolling around onstage.
After order was restored, Tyson threw up his arms in triumph and made an obscene gesture. Then he became enraged and shouted obscenities at a man who had yelled, "Put him in straitjacket."
"I came to New York to promote a fight that I want and boxing fans want to see," Tyson concluded in his statement. "I am not a role model or Mr. Politically Correct."
During the fracas, Tyson was cut on his hairline, while WBC president Jose Sulaiman sustained a concussion when he hit his head on a table and was treated at a hospital.
In Las Vegas, meanwhile, police investigators found evidence they contend backs up a woman's claim she was raped by Tyson, although charges have not been filed against him. Tyson served three years in an Indiana prison for the 1991 rape of an 18-year-old Miss Black America contestant. He was sent back to jail in 1999 for assaulting two motorists during a 1998 traffic dispute.
"We think there's probable cause to believe a crime occurred," said police Lt. Jeff Carlson, commander of the sex crimes unit.
Results of the four-month investigation were given Tuesday to the office of Clark County District Attorney Stewart Bell.
Chermaine Gord, a spokeswoman for Bell, said prosecutors needed more time to review the information before making a decision on whether to file sexual assault charges against Tyson.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.