Two gay men have revealed what really happened during Ben Stokes' street fight saying the cricketer saved them from homophobic bullies.
Last month, Stokes was caught on video landing several blows on two men outside a nightclub.
But according to Kai Barry and Bill O'Connell, Stokes was defending them against homophobic abuse.
"We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero," O'Connell told The Sun.
"Kai feared he could be attacked. If Ben hadn't intervened it could have been a lot worse for us."
"I'm not a fighter and we didn't want a fight. We could've been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman," Barry added.
The couple were clubbing in a Bristol nightclub when they bumped into Stokes and England teammate Alex Hales who were celebrating their win over West Indies earlier that day.
"Ben bought us Jägerbombs. He knew we were gay but he didn't make anything of it," Barry said.
The pair said they were dancing when they overheard someone call them "batty boys", a derogatory term for gays.
"I didn't think anything of it. It's not nice but I'm old enough to rise above it"
"Apparently the bouncer had a word with some men and told them not to speak like that."
After leaving the club together with Stoke and Hales, the pair claim they heard more shouts of "batty boys".
"They've seen me thinking they're big men because I'm a little gay boy. We had no argument with them.
"When the fight happened it came out of nowhere.
"I'm not a violent person. And that's probably why Ben Stokes stood up for me.
"He probably knew from the way I was speaking to them that I'm a friendly person."
O'Connell added: "We tried to stop it but couldn't do anything. Ben was amazing for standing up for us like that."
Barry and O'Connell said they had not seen the video footage of the brawl and were oblivious to the fallout.
"We only found out when a policeman came round this week," said Barry.
"We couldn't believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys."
Stokes was arrested after the fight on September 25 and spent the night in the cells. Police have yet to bring any charges.
The brawl led to the all-rounder not travelling with England's Ashes squad but O'Connell hopes Stokes will be freed to play for England next month.
"Ben is a really nice guy and I hope he can still play for England in the Ashes. It would be awful his career was ruined over this. He was just trying to help defend Kai."