NSAC Nixes Butterbean/Hunt, Change Made To Bout

According to the Wrestling Observer newsletter, The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has changed the proposed Mark Hunt vs. Eric “Butterbean” Esch MMA match on the PRIDE 32 “The Real Deal” show, which marks the promotion's debut in the U.S.

The bout was nixed from being under regulation MMA rules due to basically the legitimacy of Butterbean as a mixed-martial arts fighter. A lot of his “MMA” bouts have had special rules such as limited time on the ground, and matches against pro wrestlers such as Aaron Aguilera who have never competed in MMA. That mixed with NSAC seeing reports of Hunt's victories over high profile established MMA names such as Vanderlei Silva and Mirko CroCop, the bout was pretty much deemed a mismatch and not a legit competition.

At this point, it appears all sides have agreed to change the bout to a four or five round boxing exhibition, which is odd because the NSAC usually doesn't regulate shows with mixed bouts (kickboxing and MMA, MMA and boxing, etc.) but they seem to be allowing this one.

At one point, PRIDE tried proposing Butterbean vs. Tank Abbott in MMA rules, but due to Tank's recent knockout loss that isn't a possibility anymore anyway. Apparently, the commission had agreed to Butterbean vs. Tank, but that seems out the window now with the Hunt/Butterbean boxing exhibition being the most likely of the options.