Matt Barnes says he did not start the brawl in an NYC club Monday morning.  He is adamant that all he did was defend himself after he was attacked by a violent group in the VIP section.

A rep for the NBA star told TMZ Sports Barnes was having a good time at Avenue Nightclub with his teammate DeMarcus Cousins, when he went to sit at his VIP booth and accidentally “butt bumped” a woman who was at the next booth over.

Barnes claimed the woman reacted by slapping him in the face, hard, and that’s when all hell broke loose.  According to Barnes, the woman’s crew – which included several men – jumped in and began to get violent.  Barnes was knocked to the ground in the melee and one of the men began to choke him.  Barnes reportedly got physical in an effort to protect himself.  Cousins also jumped in to defend Barnes.  In the footage shot moments after the fight, Cousins mentioned hitting the guy that was choking Barnes.

Barnes feels he’s the victim in the incident and is even taking pictures of his injuries which he believes backs his side of the story.  TMZ spoke with  Barnes’ attorney Alex Spiro who says, “We do not believe a crime was committed and are hopeful no charges will be pressed.”

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