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Jersey Shore's Ronnie -- My KO Victim Wanted a Fight

1/5/2011 3:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Ronnie from "Jersey Shore" is convinced the guy he coldcocked last summer on Season One was just a fame whore who picked a fight to get on TV ... and now, the "Jersey" star says he can prove it.

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Ronnie's manager Matt Cohen tells TMZ ... Stephen Izzo had encountered "Jersey" producers three weeks before the fight and signed a release form to appear on the show -- a form obtained by TMZ.

Cohen claims Izzo realized he needed conflict to score screen time -- so he went home and concocted a plan to provoke Ronnie into a fight on camera ... and we all know how that went.

Ronnie's manager believes the release form proves Izzo "obviously wanted to be on the show" -- and was willing to do whatever it took to make that happen.

Izzo's currently suing Ronnie and MTV over the punch -- claiming, among other things, invasion of privacy and unauthorized use of his image.

Ronnie was indicted by a grand jury in New Jersey last month over the scuffle -- charged with one count of third-degree assault ... and he could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

We contacted Izzo -- but he refused to comment.

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