Of Kimbo Slice, Eric "Butterbean" Esch, Mariusz Pudzianowski and Spectacles in MMA

Paging Vince McMahon! Is Moosin promoter Butterbean setting up a grudge match against top draw Mariusz Pudzianowski?

Ok so Kimbo Slice has bigger and better things to do this fall than fighting the "World's Strongest Man" Mariusz Pudzianowski in Chicago for Moosin. No problem, Moosin co-promoter Eric "Butterbean" Esch steps into the breach with a Moosin press release smack talking his promotion's number one draw (complete press release in full entry):

..."Butterbean" doesn't think Mariusz deserves to be showcased again on a Moosin pay-per-view event, at least not until he proves himself in the cage.

"I know he allegedly broke his foot in the fight against Sylvia," Butterbean criticized Pudzianowski, "but he didn't show anything before he quit. Pudzianowski has no stand-up and as strong as he is, he punches like a girl. All he does is throw arm punches. He needs a lot of help. He's the 5-time World's Strongest Man but hits like a 130-pounder, not a strong man who weighs 270 pounds. He doesn't have the skill level to get to the level he wants to fight.

"Once he gets a stand-up game - you can't have a ground game working without one - he could be a force in MMA. He still needs some work on his ground game, too. We all know he's very strong but that's not enough at the highest level of MMA. I don't know who has been coaching him but that trainer should be fired. Pudzianowski needs to prove himself, showing he has a good stand-up game by beating a good MMA fighter, before he gets another big fight like a spot on the October 9th show."

While nothing's being announced here, they're obviously looking to set up a "grudge match" between Butterbean and Pudzianowski. Butterbean's no Kimbo Slice, but hey, you gotta fight wars with the army you got.

It's kind of drag for Esch that he has to get in the cage yet again to make Moosin go. He must feel like Al Pacino in the Godfather, "they keep dragging me back in", per MMA Junkie:

It's the third time Esch has fought at an event that he's promoted. He's boxed for 15 years - kickboxing and MMA for seven. He wants to retire and leave the fighting to the kids - like his own kids, sons Caleb, 21, and Brandon, 24, who want to make careers out of MMA.

Matt Bishop's commentary on the potential Slice booking underscore why Butterbean will likely have to step up, you can't just have Pudziankowski facing off against a no name opponent:

Quite frankly, it's obvious to see why (Moosin) would pursue fights like (Kimbo vs Mariusz): They make money. I know I'll already be buying the pay-per-view, if not going to Chicago for the show if everything materializes, and I'm probably not the only one. It's just captivating to watch. Now, I'm not saying the UFC should be booking four or five freak show fights a year, but smaller promotions looking to make a name for themselves and potentially make some money should do everything within their power to do so. Obviously the pure sport does not sell in this country, so I commend Moosin for going outside the box and making the best use of what attractions they have signed.

It's why EliteXC valued Kimbo and Gina Carano so greatly. They made that company, otherwise essentially worthless, viable on American network television. And let's call a spade a spade: Carano wasn't a great ratings draw for EliteXC because she was a great fighter. It's because she's a beautiful woman. Same premise for Kimbo. It's why Herschel Walker and Dave Batista are such hot commodities now. A lack of attractions is why Strikeforce is in jeopardy of not getting another CBS show. They don't have the horses to draw on network television (and the brawl doesn't help matters, either). None of the company's current champions are currently worth a single dime on CBS (although that's not to say they can't be, because the potential is there), and the April 17 ratings prove that. Right now, the cupboard is bare. Walker is the only mainstream attraction they currently have, and at 47, he's not going to be around for long. Bobby Lashley is a draw to the wrestling community, but not the general public. The same probably can be said about Batista.

If the opportunity came for Strikeforce to book Kimbo against Batista or Walker and they did because that's what it took to get back on CBS, there's no way I could blame them for doing so.

Luke Thomas summed it up best a few months back talking about Herschel Walker, but there's a place for spectacle in our sport. In fact, you may say it's the life blood of MMA:

...trying to convince (MMA skeptic of) the beauty of MMA on MMA's terms is infinitely more difficult than using a little carrot with the stick.

The lesson is not that all freakshows are created equal, but that over time products can be improved and palates refined. What begins as a mess often causes enough of a spark to eventually burn away the unessential and produce something of value. As Rossen correctly underscores, MMA itself in America began as a freakshow, but the melee of circus bouts and proposed alligator pits nevertheless homed in a core concept of hand-to-hand fighting that has matured, endured and blossomed into a sophisticated, respectable version of its former self.

It's important that MMA in the U.S. have a viable second tier that commands some attention from more than just hardcore fans. Strikeforce and Moosin provide a valuable economic lifeline for still-capable fighters like Fabricio Werdum, Yves Edwards and Tim Sylvia who are no longer wanted in the UFC for whatever reason.

They also provide a home for up and coming fighters like King Mo Lawal and Shane Del Rosario where they can grow and develop at a saner pace than being thrown into the UFC shark tank. 

If spectacle fights are what it takes for these promotions to be viable, then so be it. You go Butterbean.

The full Moosin press release:

Butterbean' rips Pudzianowski

SEOUL, S. Korea (July 14, 2010) - Moosin officials and the face of the MMA promotional company, Eric  "Butterbean" Esch, greatly differ in their opinions of former 5-time World's Strongest Man Mariusz "Dominator" Pudzianowski, in terms of rating the Polish strongman as a mixed-martial-arts fighter.

Moosin officials believe Pudzianowski has tremendous potential and that he should be featured on Moosin's proposed October 9 show in Chicago. Mariusz, who has reportedly been training hard in his native Poland to develop his MMA skills, will arrive in Massachusetts by the end of July to begin training with former boxer "Irish" Micky Ward, as well as two former All-America wrestlers, in order to learn the basics of boxing and wrestling to improve his overall MMA game.

However, based on Pudzianowki's second-round loss by submission to former 2-time UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia this past May  in Worcester, Massachusetts, "Butterbean" doesn't think Mariusz deserves to be showcased again on a Moosin pay-per-view event, at least not until he proves himself in the cage.

"I know he allegedly broke his foot in the fight against Sylvia," Butterbean criticized Pudzianowski, "but he didn't show anything before he quit. Pudzianowski has no stand-up and as strong as he is, he punches like a girl. All he does is throw arm punches. He needs a lot of help. He's the 5-time World's Strongest Man but hits like a 130-pounder, not a strong man who weighs 270 pounds. He doesn't have the skill level to get to the level he wants to fight.

"Once he gets a stand-up game - you can't have a ground game working without one - he could be a force in MMA. He still needs some work on his ground game, too. We all know he's very strong but that's not enough at the highest level of MMA. I don't know who has been coaching him but that trainer should be fired. Pudzianowski needs to prove himself, showing he has a good stand-up game by beating a good MMA fighter, before he gets another big fight like a spot on the October 9th show."

Moosin, based in South Korea-based, has promoted MMA shows in South Korea and the United States and, in conjunction with the International Taekwon-Do Federation, plans expansion into to China, Poland and Australia.

Go to www.MoosinUSA.com for more information about Moosin.

Moosin: A global event promoter based out of Seoul, South Korea, in conjunction with the International Taekwon-Do Federation, Moosin is known for bringing fans the finest in mixed martial arts competition. Moosin is revolutionizing the MMA industry by merging an international roster of talented fighters with recognizable stars from the world or music, sports and popular culture. Moosin pits warrior against warrior, featuring a hybrid of MMA and hard-hitting Moosin-style kickboxing, in hand-to-hand battles of skill, honor and art.

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