EXCLUSIVEESPN is not backing down from Daniel Tosh -- telling TMZ Sports the network did NOT steal one of his signature comedy bits ... despite Tosh's accusations.
As we previously reported, the Comedy Central star went nuclear on ESPN Tuesday night -- claiming the network copied a popular "Tosh.0" segment called "Web Redemption" and changed the title to "Awesome Video Segment."
Tosh claims ESPN even stole his catchphrase, "Are you ready to give it another shot?"
But ESPN tells us ... "This was more of an instance of us using a common phrase than it was copying his wording."
"We know that doesn't sound like the strongest explanation yet it’s the truth."
The network adds, "We are looking forward to ‘giving it another shot’ in future installments of 'The Awesome Video Segment.'"
We reached out to Tosh for comment -- so far, no word back.