“He’s been deputized by the Walker County Sheriff’s office, and he’s on a one-man mission to bring back a sense of community safety . . . no matter how many asses he has to kick.”
Back in the 1990s, Eric “Butterbean” Esch hit the boxing scene like a ton of bricks. Almost literally, considering that he weighed in at more than 400 pounds.
Esch is now taking on a new challenge: Starring in in a reality show, Big Law: Deputy Butterbean.
Esch epitomized what was good and bad about the sport. He worked hard and sacrificed to take his place in the ring, but mostly came off as a caricature of what a pro boxer should really be.
But people liked him and generally saw him as an average Joe who was willing to wallop opponents and get hit in return (a good thing since he was hit a lot), all the while putting on a good show. It didn’t hurt his public image that his trademark was to wear boxer trunks that resembled an American flag.
Although he had delusions of taking on Mike Tyson and other top-ranked heavyweight stars of the time, he actually did have some success in several hand-to-hand combat sports: He was a five-time “Toughman” champ, won boxing’s IBA Super-Heavyweight title, moved into kickboxing and then mixed martial arts. He currently holds the title of Elite 1 MMA Super Heavyweight champ.
Like actor Steven Seagal (actor/reserve deputy chief who stars in the reality show Steven Seagal: Lawman) and Shaquille O’Neal (athlete/L.A.Port Police reserve officer), Butterbean is combining his athletic prowess and dedication to law enforcement. The ten-part series, Big Law: Deputy Butterbean, is scheduled to debut Aug. 9 on the Investigation Discovery channel (part of Discovery Communications).
Via the press hype, the show shadows “Reserve Deputy Esch as he joins his partner and best friend, Deputy Adam Hadder, on the Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit in Jasper, Ala. Viewers follow the oversized deputy and get insider access to every training session, patrol ride and bad guy bust that Butterbean experiences, all in the hopes of making Jasper a safer and cleaner place for his kids and grandkids.” Best of all, you can join Butterbean as he “brings big-time justice to a small town.”
As Henry Schleiff, president and general manager, Investigation Discovery, points out, even if you don’t take Butterbean seriously, you don’t want to see a 400-pound man with gun getting in your face.
According to Schleiff, “Our cameras capture every moment of Butterbean in action and, although this deputy would be a little intimidating if he’s the one knocking on your door, I think our viewers will find that he’s just a big guy with an even bigger heart trying to make a difference in his community.”