Butterbean stars as reserve deputy in TV show

Tue, Aug 9

Imagine 380-pound Eric Esch -- affectionally known as boxer/wrestler Butterbean -- breaking through your house's front door looking for criminals.

That's exactly what Esch is doing these days as a reserve deputy on the sheriff's narcotics unit in his hometown of Jasper, Ala.

And TV channel Investigation Discovery is filming the 10 episodes of "Big Law: Deputy Butterbean" with the debut at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

"When we started filming, I was 500 pounds. I was still able to move but I was a pretty big target for the bad guys," Esch said. "So now I've lost a lot of the weight and I don't look like the side of a barn."

Esch, 45, has done it all -- all the while, wearing American flag shorts. He is 52-21-4 in boxing, 3-4 in kickboxing and 17-8-1 in mixed martial arts. And he previously owned a barbecue restaurant, too.

"When I was the fat kid in school and everyone was picking on me, I never thought my life would turn out like this," Esch said. "I started knocking people out back then and I still am knocking people out."

And that's why he wants to help his hometown as a reserve deputy. He's been doing it for the past two years as a volunteer and doesn't really want to get into law enforcement full time.

"It's really for selfish reasons. I want to make these streets safer for my kids and grandkids," said Esch, who is married and has three children. "I don't get paid to do this for the sheriff's office. I'm out to make a difference. I want to change things here because, despite other opportunities, I'm not going anywhere."

Esch still fights occasionally for charity. And he really wishes he could sometimes pop a criminal.

"One girl turned in her father, and I was there to get him," Esch said. "I just wanted to take him out back and take care of him. But I can't. I have to let the court system do its job. I'll keep my rage in the ring."