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Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson – 1974-2016

Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson - Photo by 0234561203 0234561203, via Flickr.


Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson – 1974-2016

The fighting world has lost a popular fighter, icon to some, former Youtube sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson passed away last night. He was 42 years old. The story first broke early last night, after TMZ reported that Slice was hospitalized in Coral Springs, Florida. For some time, there were some conflicting reports, so much so, that Bellator went to investigate on the matter.

But, in the later hours of the evening, it was confirmed by members of his family and fight team, American Top Team, via social media, that the man who gained his fame via Youtube videos showcasing his street fights had died. Bellator president Scott Coker released this statement to the public after finding out the news of Slice’s passing:

“We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating and untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family. One of the most popular MMA fighters ever,  Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport.

Outside of the cage he was a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man. His loss leaves us all with extremely heavy hearts, and our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Ferguson family and all of Kimbo’s friends, fans, and teammates.”

The cause of death has yet to have been determined, although there were some reports that it was due to heart failure. According to Coral Springs PD, who were dispatched to his home to gather information from family, as well as prevent a gathering in front of his home have stated that there was no foul play involved.

Slice’s long time manager, Mike Imber, said in a text to The Associated Press:

“We lost a brother today.”

Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson - Photo by 0234561203

Slice first rose to fame back in 2003, where he began his career as a street fighter; his fights were mostly seen through the adult website “SublimeDirectory” and through Youtube. Before that, he had worked as a bouncer for a strip club, then became a limousine driver and bodyguard for Miami-based pornography company RK Netmedia, known as Reality Kings.

Slice was born in the Bahamas on Feb. 8th, 1974. He spent the majority of his life in South Florida, where his penchant for sports led him to play for Miami’s Palmetto High School’s football team. He played middle linebacker, and was impressive enough to catch the eye of several colleges, however, due to Hurricane Andrew, the school’s season was cut short, causing college scouts to lose interest. He would enroll to Bethune-Cookman University and the University of Miami, but flunked out. Shortly after, he was temporarily homeless, until meeting up with longtime friend Imber.

Slice even tried out for the Miami Dolphins back in 1997, and made it to the preseason practice squad, but, nothing ever came of it.

Slice had gained some attention from the MMA world from his fight videos, although, it wasn’t positive. UFC president Dana White claimed that Slice wouldn’t last two minutes in the octagon. Slice would start to train under Marcos Avellan and David Avellan at the Freestyle Fighting Academy, and it was while he was training there, that the MMA world piqued his interests. Slice would eventually debut June 23rd, 2007 at Cage Fury Fighting Championships 5 against former WBO Heavyweight Champion and Olympic gold-medalist Ray Mercer, defeating Mercer 1:12 into the first round with a guillotine choke.

This would gain him much more attention, leading to a fight with Tank Abbott at EliteXC: Street Certified on Feb. 16th, 2008, where he won in 43 seconds of the first round by KO. Kimbo Slice would then main event at Elite XC: Primetime on May 28th, 2008, taking on James Thompson, winning by KO in a controversial finish.

Slice would then be scheduled to face Ken Shamrock on Oct. 4th, 2008, but, Shamrock was pulled due to a cut above the eye that he received during a pre-match warm up. Seth Petruzelli would be the replacement, and would give Kimbo Slice his first official MMA loss 14 seconds into the first round.

Dana White would invite Slice to compete on The Ultimate Fighter, stating that if he really wanted to compete in the UFC, he would have to take part in the show. He would be brought into Quinton “Rampage” Jackson‘s team, and amassed a 1-1 record on the show. Slice would eventually make his official UFC debut on May 8th, 2010 at UFC 113 against Matt Mitirone, losing in the second by TKO. After the loss, White stated that it would probably be his final match in the UFC, and he was released the next day.

It would be five years before Slice would fight again in an octagon, as he signed with Bellator in January of 2015, signing a multi-year deal. He would finally get Shamrock in the octagon on June 19th of that year, winning by TKO in the first round. His second fight would be against longtime street fighting rival Dhafir “Dada5000” Harris, who, like Slice, gained notoriety from street fights. He won by decision, but the result would be changed to a no contest, after Slice tested positive for anabolic steroids and an elevated testosterone ratio.

The UFC released a statement following Slice’s death, saying:

“UFC is saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Ferguson, known to fans around the world as Kimbo Slice.

Slice will forever be a part of UFC history as a contestant on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2009, and for having fought twice inside the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter Finale and UFC 113. He carried himself as a true professional during his time in our organization.

While he will never be forgotten for his fighting style and transcendent image, Slice will also be remembered for his warm personality and commitment to his family and friends.

UFC offers its sincere condolences to Slice’s family, friends and teammates at American Top Team.”

Slice had a reputation of being a big boaster when it came to his fights early in his web video days, but, he was also quite humble, and wasn’t shy about being a newcomer to the MMA world. He acknowledged it with great honesty, and was happy that his MMA career helped to put his children through college. In an interview with the AP back in 2010 before his second fight in the UFC, he stated:

“The guys who are holding the titles, heavyweight and light heavyweight, these guys are awesome. I’m really just having happy days in the midst — being among them, fighting on the undercards, just contributing to the UFC and the sport. That’s really what I want to do. I’m not looking ahead to winning a title or anything like that. I’m just enjoying each fight as it comes.”

Slice is survived by six children, three boys and three girls, and his fiance, who was his long time girlfriend. Of his three sons, Kevin Ferguson Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps, making his MMA debut in March of this year.

We here at extend our deepest condolences to Slice’s family, friends and associates.

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