(Video courtesy of 8countnews.com.)
Since he lives in one of the biggest glass houses in mixed martial arts, former Toughman competitor, World Wrestling Federation guest performer, YAMMA Pitfighter and Oxblood Oxheart doppelganger Eric “Butterbean” Esch may want to think twice about tossing proverbial stones at other fighters in the sport like he has at fellow boxer-turned-mixed martial artist James Toney.
In a recent interview with 8countnews, Esch, who is promoting his Moosin: Gods of Martial Arts show May 21 in Worcester, MA calls the former IBF middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight champion and current NABO and IBA heavyweight champion a “circus act.” Considering that the main event of his ridiculously named show will feature 6-foot-8-inch former UFC heavyweight champion and custom chopper enthusiast Tim Sylvia versus “World’s Strongest Man” Mariusz Pudzianowski, and that Esche’s photo appears in the dictionary under the definition of “freak show,” his comments are humorously paradoxical.
Sure, Toney may face the same fate as other one-dimensional pugilists who have tried their hands and fists in the cage such as Art Jimmerson and Kimbo Slice if his fights hit the floor, but the fact is, even at 41, “Lights Out” will be the most skilled and decorated boxer to cross over into the sport. That reality alone gives him more than a typical “puncher’s chance” at making a successful run in the UFC and gives him a pass at being lumped in with the likes of Esch, Hong Man Choi, Giant Silva and Jose Canseco.
The impetus behind Butterbean’s ironic statement was likely the fact that, according to Esch, Toney broke a gentleman’s agreement the pair had that would have seen him make his MMA debut at the May 21 event. Thank Zeus, or whoever the “Gods of Martial Arts” are that Esche was able to salvage the card after Toney packed his circus tent and set up shop under the big top of the UFC.
Squaring off against 46-year-old retired hockey player, Canadian radio host and MMA virgin Lyndon Byers, Esch will undoubtedly prove that Moosin (mis-)match maker Monte Cox has a bright future setting up bouts in Japan.