Odell Beckham says he had a golden opportunity to retaliate against Marlon Humphrey after Sunday's choking incident ... but chose not to fight back because "it's not MMA."
The Cleveland Browns WR says he was fined by the NFL for the incident -- even though he claims he was not the aggressor and was only defending himself.
But, Beckham says things could have been WAYYYY worse ... if he wasn't such a mature and restrained person.
"There was an opportunity for me to really take things way further," Beckham said.
"He was on the ground, I was standing up still. And, I kind of just let the moment pass."
Beckham says the decision to NOT fight back shows how mature he is now -- "I've come a long way. I probably would have been suspended for the next game if I would have done what I wanted to do."
He added, "This is football, this isn't MMA. This isn't 'Street Fighter.' It's a different story."
Of course, the big dispute is whether or not Marlon actually choked Beckham -- something the Ravens have said did NOT happen.
Beckham deflected when asked straight up about the strangulation ... "I don't know. We grown ass men."
"We get hit every day. We get hit by 300 pounders. I’m good."
Beckham also griped about the fighting fine from the NFL ... saying he's sick and tired of the league taking money out of his pockets.
"I understand the penalty, getting fined for that. But, pants above your knees or a shirt hanging out, we’re talking about a t-shirt that cost $5 to make and you’re getting $5,000 taken from you.”
"I feel like we can come to a better agreement and simplify things and not taking money out of the pockets of the players who are putting the money into this entire game."