Friday, October 12
Updated: October 13, 6:47 PM ET
Tyson angered by alleged remark by Nielsen news services

What did he say?
In an argument, Brian Nielsen used the Danish word "abekat" in describing Tyson's behavior. And when that word was then translated into "monkey man," racist allegations immediately came up and enraged Mike Tyson.

The simple explanation is that "abekat," literally meaning "monkey cat," is an old-fashioned Danish word for somebody who acts foolishly or bullishly, most often when talking about kids. There is nothing racist in that unless you want to interpret it that way, but some of the press preferred to do just that.

Incidentally, the word "abekat" went as far as the United Nations a while ago, because a Danish schoolteacher had used the phrase about some noisy pupils who happened to be immigrants. The pupils complained to authorities, and in the end the Danish government was reprimanded by the UN for not acting on racism in Danish schools -- apparently it was not possible to convince the experts at the UN that this was not a racist expression.

The international press will surely prefer to call Nielsen's remark a "racist slur" because it is a good story and it builds up the conflict, but Nielsen's character and history of friendly relations with sparring partners like Hasim Rahman and Ray Mercer, would indicate that calling him a racist seems somewhat out of line.

-- Henry Rasmussen, Europe correspondent for

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Mike Tyson believes he has even more motivation to beat Brian Nielsen.

Tyson is enraged at Nielsen for allegedly calling him a "monkey man" during a news conference held on Friday in Copenhagen. The two are scheduled to fight on Saturday night.

At the time, no one from Tyson's camp understood what Nielsen had said, but some Danish officials later informed the Tyson camp of the meaning of Nielsen's words. Four Danish translators reviewed the audiotape of the news conference -- and confirmed Nielsen's statement.

"It is pathetic to see such ignorance in this day and age," Tyson said in a prepared statement issued at nearly 1 a.m. Copenhagen time on Friday morning. "This will make me punish him even more than I had planned."

At the weigh-in on Thursday afternoon, Tyson's co-trainer, Stacey McKinley, was seen yelling at Nielsen. Later, it was learned, Tyson bodyguard Anthony Pitts had questioned public relations workers connected with the promotion about why they had not translated what Nielsen had said about Tyson at the time. He was told they didn't speak Danish and had no idea what Nielsen had said, the Boston Globe reported.

Late Thursday night, Robert Mittleman, who represents Nielsen, refused to confirm the remark but claimed if his fighter did make such a statement, it was directed at some of Tyson's followers, who apprently had been mocking Nielsen not only at that news conference, but during nearly every encounter between the camps, the Globe reported.

"If the alleged statement is accurate, and I am in no way acknowledging that it is, I do not believe it was directed at Tyson," Mittleman told the Boston Globe. "Mike has been a complete gentleman at all times and in all dealings with both Brian and the fight promotion. If anything, Brian may have been reacting to the incessant insults aimed at him by members of Tyson's camp before and during the press conference."

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