by The Prophet, ProphetFighting
I'm going to do something that I seldom, if ever, do here at EC: I'm going to "break character" and elaborate on my recent post entitled Butterbean Lays An Egg in Muskegon. If you didn't read it, it basically recounts a bad night in Muskegon for Eric "Butterbean" Esch. I've considered "Butterbean" the biggest fraud in fightsports for years, and his performance on this night--quitting on his stool rather than absorb a beating from an opponent he underestimated--was essentially "par for the course" for him.
Anyway, I completely stand by anything I said and have ever said about Butterbean but I wanted to clarify a few things relative to his opponent last Saturday night who was a fighter named Matt Blaine. One of my favorite professors in college gave me some profound advice right before I graduated--he said (and I'm paraphrasing): "Jim, you're as eloquent and articulate as anyone I've ever met. Just remember to choose your words wisely". It didn't really make sense at the time, but on countless occasions since I've thought of this and tried to follow his guidance.
Another problem with writing on the Internet as long as I have--I've had a website in some form since 1995 which is downright Paleolithic by Internet standards--is that you sometimes forget that not everyone has been along for the ride. In fact, few people have been there since the beginning and if you're doing your job right you pick up new readers all of the time. Sometimes I'll write and say things that my friends and associates who've known me forever will "get" but others might misconstrue.
In this case, furthermore, I think a lot of "newcomers" to my writing dropped in here at the EC and may not have understood that I'm sort of writing "in character" here. EC is as much a comedy/humor site as it is a sports site and I quickly learned that this isn't the place for lengthy discourse about submission theory or boxing history lessons. The "persona" I've adopted here is something of an obnoxious jackass--part "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, part Thurston Howell III, part William F. Buckley with a healthy dose of Hunter S. Thompson thrown in for good measure. At the same time, we're not talking about brain surgery here--while I take what I do seriously and try to respect the sports I write about and the fighters who compete in them, at the same time I try to have a little fun with it.
Having said all of that, I wanted to emphasize that when I throw around terms like "fiasco" or "farce" relative to Butterbean's fights that they only apply to Mr. Esch. Reading back over my account of 'bean's aborted fight against Matt Blaine I could see how you might think I was impugning both fighters. That couldn't be further from my intention.
Another mistake I made was not doing a little more research on Matt Blaine--I took the description of the Muskegon sports writer at face value, and he implied that Blaine wasn't a serious fighter. Since it was apparent from the column that the writer knew little about MMA and had even less enthusiasm for it, I shouldn't have assumed that he knew about the fighters involved.
In any case, I want to thank the members of Blaine's camp who've contacted me for providing information on their fighter and the good attitude they've displayed. They could have had a chip on their shoulder in dealing with a smart ass fight sport journalist like me, but they've all been really cool.
Matt Blaine is a real fighter, with a 6-0 record in MMA. He trains his ass off, runs a business and has a family. In other words, he does what 99.9% of men on this planet are incapable of. There's really no profession that I have more categorical respect for than professional fighters. Those who have the heart, toughness, desire and out-and-out balls to dedicate themselves to the training regimen and sacrifice required of combat sports--be it boxing or MMA--are few and far between. Those who can pursue their dream of becoming a professional fighter while taking care of responsibilities like earning a living and raising a family are serious studs.
We're going to have more on the Butterbean/Blaine fiasco in the weeks to come. For now, however, I want to underscore the fact that last Saturday in Muskegon two men entered the ring: one was a fighter and one a sideshow freak. You know who the "sideshow freak" was. Matt Blaine was the fighter and conducted himself in a manner you'd expect from a professional prizefighter even when his opponent did not. He definitely deserved better than the "double DQ" screwjob decision he received.
In any case, stay tuned for more on Blaine/Bean here and at ProphetFighting
by The Prophet, ProphetFighting