The incident happened at Loughborough University's student union bar on the night of April 15 last year.
Zain Anwar, 22, who was on a youth justice course at the university, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm.
Anwar, of Manor Road, Extension, Oadby, Leicester, has since graduated with a 2:2 degree and now runs a care home. He was given a 16 week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 140 hours of unpaid work. He was also placed on a four week 7pm to 6am curfew and ordered to pay £960 costs.
Kate Plummer, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court that the victim, in his early 20s, was visiting a friend at the university. The complainant and the defendant "brushed past" each other in the bar, which resulted in a verbal exchange.
Anwar, who was sworn at by the victim, believed he was also racially abused – although the judge said there was no evidence to support that claim, he accepted that was Anwar's perception at the time.
The complainant invited Anwar outside for a fight.
Sentencing, Judge Philip Head said the victim's behaviour was "obnoxious," but Anwar should have just walked away.