Sunday, August 14, 2022  |



Butterbean now a promoter


You might call Eric “Butterbean” Esch a five-tooler.

The bald-headed 400-pounder started in the fight game in Tough Man competitions near his home in Jasper, Ala., became “The King of the Four Rounders” under promoter Bob Arum, switched to MMA with Pride and then UFC, and now is co-promoting MMA cards.

His next show is Friday in Worcester, Mass. He is also fighting on the card at 43.

Could he have imagined becoming a mainstay in the fighting business when he was trading punches with Tough Man thugs?

“I don’t think anybody could’ve,” he said. “I was a big, bald kid from Alabama of all places. And people were like, ‘Wow! He can actually punch and knock people out.’ No, no one could’ve imagined it.”

Esch (77-8-4, 58 knockouts as a boxer) has been a self-promoter his entire career. His bald head, considerable girth, American-flag trunks and reckless fighting style made him a favorite of fight fans everywhere.

And he was always great with the media, never taking himself too seriously. He was just fun.

“I had to convince people I’m a fun guy to watch,” he said. “I was always telling people about me. And the more they watched, the more they seemed to enjoy it. And I learned from (manager) Art Dore and Bob Arum. I watched them carefully and learned from them.”

Esch still enjoys fighting but says the end of his active career is near.

“I might have a few more left in me,” he said. “I’m going to stick to promoting. I’d like to promote a boxing card but right now I’m doing MMA. It’s so hot right now. People want to see it.”

Just like they’ve always wanted to see Butterbean.