Of course, Roman made the comment because she felt Eric terrorized his ex-wife Jennifer Williams on the VH1 reality show ... and the fact his life has since fallen apart is his just desserts.
But Delk tells TMZ Sports ... the Eric he knew is a "great guy with a good heart" ... adding, "He's as generous a guy as I've ever met."
"He was always smiling and happy about life."
Delk -- who admits he doesn't watch "BBW" -- says Eric's less-than-desirable behavior on the show isn't the real Eric ... claiming the show brings out the worst in people.
As for Jennifer, Tony says she should be grateful for everything Eric gave her during their relationship -- offering this message to the reality star: "Don’t forget where you were when he found you."