According to a Seminole County sheriff's report on the Sunday evening incident, Zimmerman told the officers he had a short conversation with another man over the man's tattoos and was trying to prove who he was when another man identified only as Eddie asked if he was bragging about the 2012 shooting for which Zimmerman was acquitted.
Zimmerman told deputies he said, "No," and went back to his table after the man made a profane remark and demanded he leave the restaurant.
A few minutes later, the man approached Zimmerman and his friends and punched him in the face, Zimmerman said.
The report says restaurant staff separated the two parties and the man left.
Zimmerman also told police he wasn't bragging about killing Martin, but was explaining how he acted in self-defense.
Other witnesses gave a different version of events.
Joseph Whitmer said Zimmerman came up to his table and said, "I love your tattoos. My name is George Zimmerman, you know, that guy who killed Trayvon Martin?"
His wife, Beverly Whitmer, said Zimmerman said he liked the man's "racist tattoos," and took out his driver's license to brag about who he was, the report says.
Another man at the table, David Worrell, said it was he who questioned Zimmerman's identity. Once he saw Zimmerman's ID, he asked him to leave the table, Worrell said.
Worrell said another friend went over to Zimmerman's table and there was a heated exchange. Worrell didn't describe any punch, according to the report, but said he knocked an object out of the hand of one of Zimmerman's friends.
That object might have been the cell phone of Gregory Horne. He said he was eating lunch with Zimmerman at the Gators Riverside Grille in Sanford when five men came to the table, began yelling at Zimmerman and acted in a threatening manner.
One man punched Zimmerman, Horne told deputies, so he stepped between them and started to use his cell phone camera. One of the men knocked the phone away and it broke, he said.
Zimmerman and Horne each called 911.
"We were standing right here eating," Zimmerman tells a 911 operator in a recording released by police. "This man punched me in the face. He said he's gonna kill me. You need to send three or four cops."
Zimmerman tells the operator the man threatened to kill him and called him an "(expletive) lover."
Near the end of the seven-minute call the operator asks Zimmerman if he needs an ambulance and he says yes, that he is bleeding.
The investigating officer wrote that the man identified as Eddie was the instigator and recommended detaining him on a battery charge.
CNN reached out Thursday to Zimmerman but didn't get an immediate response.