oj simpson
'Depressed': OJ Simpson during his 2008 sentencing in Las Vegas. The former footballer is said to have been beaten unconscious in prison

Shamed football great OJ Simpson was beaten unconscious in a racially motivated prison attack, according to a report.

A skinhead inmate is said to have kicked and punched Simpson to 'a bloody pulp' after allegedly overhearing him bragging about his sexual conquests of white women.

The 63-year-old disgraced athlete spent three weeks in hospital recovering from his injuries, said the National Enquirer.

Prison authorities dismissed the claims of the assault at at Nevada's Lovelock Correctional Centre, where Simpson is serving a nine-year sentence for his role in an armed confrontation with memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas.

Sources at the prison told TMZ that Simpson was not beaten and that he 'laughed his a** off' at the report as it was 'ridiculous'.

But the Enqurier has won plaudits for its coverage of the Simpson murder trial that ended in his 1995 acquittal for murdering his wife, Nicole, stands by its story.

Bruce Fromong, Simpson's former business partner, told the magazine that 'The Juice' was boasting about his success with white girlfriends while behind bars.

'Unfortunately for OJ, a group of young skinhead punks were within earshot and they were enraged,' Fromong said in an exclusive interview.

'They waited for a day when he would be in the exercise yard without his usual posse of black prisoners. OJ was completely unprotected when one of the toughest of the skinheads - who's in his mid-20s - jumped him.

'The skinhead rained blows on OJ's head, shoulders and upper body - and continued to punch him savagely after he fell unconscious to the ground. He was covered in blood from deep cuts on his face,' he added.

Fromong was one of the memorabilia dealers Simpson robbed at gunpoint, but the former friends declared 'no hard feelings' during Simpson's Las Vegas trial and they have been in contact since the ex-sportsman's 2007 conviction.

'He's fallen into a deep depression. He spends most of his time confined to his cell, refusing to venture out unless he's surrounded by a posse of inmates he pays for protection. He's fearful he'll never leave prison alive,' added Fromong.

Simpson is said to have trouble getting around with arthritic and bad knees as a result of the hard hits he suffered during his football career.

He was reportedly cheered up at the end of last month with a visit from his daughter, Sydney, 25, who hadn't been to the prison before.