Butterbean Eric Esch: The Larger Than Life KO Artist

Butterbean Eric Esch

Eric “Butterbean” Esch was one of the most memorable KO artists in boxing history. He was a large, round knockout machine who finished numerous fighters in his 20+ year career.

  • DOB: Aug 3rd, 1966
  • Nickname: Butterbean
  • Birthplace: Atlanta Georgia
  • Fight Records: 77-10-4(Boxing), 3-4(Kickboxing), 17-10-1(MMA), 56-5(Tough Man)
  • Championships: 2x Boxing Champion, 1x MMA Champion

Here’s a summary of the career of fighter Eric “Butterbean” Esch, The larger-than-life knockout artist. We cover everything from his extensive fighting career, fame, and recent recovery.

Butterbean’s Early Life 

Eric Esch was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but moved around as a kid. When Butterbean was eight, his mother tragically passed away, and suffered from bullying due to his weight problem.

Despite being overweight, Esch would get a reputation for being tough and possessing natural KO power.

Tough Man Competitions 

After high school, Esch worked on decking floors for a construction company. Eric was known as one of the toughest guys among his co-workers.

During this time, Tough Man Contests, where tough guys with no fight experience, were becoming popular. Eric’s co-workers urged him to try it, and he finally gave in and signed up.

Esch’s first Tough Man event took place in Texarkana, Arkansas. He quickly became an attraction with his large size and explosive knockout power.

During his Tough Man career, Esch won 5 Tough Man titles and earned an overall record of 56-5 with 38 knockouts. 

In Toughman, Esch would earn the nickname “Butterbean” for his diet to make the 400 lb weight limit.

Butterbean: The Pro Boxer 

From his Toughman fights, Butterbean gained a cult following that led him to become a pro boxer in 1994. Esch would be “King of the 4 Rounders” for primarily fighting in 4-round bouts against lower competition. 

Despite this, Esch would deliver numerous KOs and be frequently featured in boxing events on HBO, ESPN, and the USA Network.

Butterbean lost his 16th pro bout but would go the next six years without suffering a loss in boxing. Esch won two boxing world titles before facing former world champ Larry Holmes in his highest-profile fight.

The veteran Holmes used his experience and better conditioning to tire Butterbean out in their 10-round fight.

After losing a decision to Holmes, Butterbean continued boxing for the next decade. The KO artists retired from boxing in 2013 after earning an impressive 77-10-4 record with 58 KOs.

Butterbean Eric Esch

Butterbean: The Kickboxer 

During his career, Esch constantly reiterated that he was a fighter, not a boxer. He was willing to take on any opponent in any form of fighting if he was paid well.

This led him to fight in every combat sport, which included kickboxing. The power puncher was offered a contract to fight in K-1 Kickboxing in 2003.

From 2003 to 2009, Eric would earn a pro kickboxing record of 3-4. There were talks of him fighting Bob “The Beast” Sapp, but the fight never materialized.

Butterbean: The MMA Fighter

Butterbean further proved that he never backed down from a fight or payday by entering MMA. From 2003 to 2011, Esch competed in 28 pro-MMA contests. Earning a record of 17-10-1 with 8 KOs.

Some of his notable opponents in MMA included Genki Sudo, Ikuhisa “Minowaman” Minowa, James Thomspon, and Mariusz Pudzianowski.

Eric Esch’s Most Notable Moments In Pop Culture

During the 1990s, Esch was one of the biggest attractions in fighting sports. From his boxing fame, he was able to branch off and make numerous appearances in other forms of entertainment.

WWE Brawl For All 

During the late 1990s, WWE(Formerly WWF) staged a shoot boxing tournament between their pro wrestlers. The tournament winner, Bart Gunn, had the misfortune of meeting Butterbean at Wrestlemania.

Butterbean delivered a devastating knockout that left the pro wrestling fans horrified. Bart Gunn’s pro wrestling career was destroyed due to the fight WWE/WWF never held real boxing matches again after the disastrous tournament.

Esch also participated in numerous pro wrestling events during his fighting career worldwide.

Jackass: The Movie

One of Esch’s most memorable moments outside of fighting was his appearance in Jackass: The Movie. Butterbean participated in a department store braw with Johnny Knoxville that ended in a quick KO.

Eric Esch’s Personal Life

Aside from fighting, Esch raised a family in his home state of Georgia and has had many business ventures. He most recently opened a BBQ restaurant in 2018 called Mr. Beans BBQ.

Eric also makes numerous public appearances yearly at various conventions and fights when requested. He had his first face-to-face with Mike Tyson since calling him out to fight in the 1990s.

Butterbean Eric Esch at Comic Con

Butterbean’s Life Change

In recent years, Butterbean’s fighting career and weight have taken a toll on his body. For three years, Eric was confined to a scooter and didn’t have the power to walk.

Desperate to regain his life, Esch contacted pro wrestler and DDP Yoga creator Diamond Dallas Page. DDP, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, welcomed Butterbean into his home and training center for personal training.

The former KO artist underwent a strict training and diet program for months. The stay led to Eric losing over 200 lbs and regaining his ability to walk

Not only was Esch walking again, but he was in even better shape than when he was fighting. News of Eric’s weight loss went trending on social media as fight fans were elated to hear he was doing well. As of now, Esch is at 330lbs and feeling better than ever.

The Legacy of Butterbean

Eric “Butterbean” Esch was exactly what he said he was. He was a fighter who never turned down an opponent and could knock out anyone on the planet.

Esch was a larger-than-life fighter who entertained fans for years. The KO artist may not have been the best, but he never had a boring fight.

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