'Butterbean' back as a promoter in MMA

Steve Cofield

Eric Esch came along at the right time. While the boxing world was often fighting amongst itself and the biggest promoters refused to work with one another to put the best fights in the ring, the man nicknamed "Butterbean" gave the people what they wanted — a good old slugfest. Butterbean was dubbed "The King of the Four Rounders" because he'd go in against another huge heavyweight and deliver the slobbernocker, that deep down, so many boxing fans are really looking for.

He's 43 years old now, and the 400-plus pounds are distributed worse than they've ever been, so Esch is looking to the future. He's one of the promoters on the Moosin card in Massachusetts featuring Tim Sylvia against Mariusz Pudzianowski.

"It's time to slow down," he says. "The body takes its toll. I'm 43, so I have a few fights left, but I'm getting into promoting because I love the sport so much," Esch told USA Today. I also want to promote boxing matches," he says. "It's not which sport is better. They're different sports. You can't compare them."

Butterbean has the lingo down. Which means he can stretch the truth a bit to push a fight. He told USA Today he expects Friday's Moosin event to be the most watched MMA card in history. How will that happen? Good question. Odds are the $29.95 card won't eclipse more than 30,000 buys in the U.S. but Butterbean says he expects 5 million Poles to be watching back in Pudzianowski's native Poland. That's a lofty number, even if it were true, but it'll probably fall a bit short of CBS's biggest MMA cards and what UFC pulls in in terms of actual viewers.