Current Bellator heavyweight and YouTube star Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson has passed away at the age of 42. News of his passing came late on Monday night. The reason of his death has now yet been made known to the media.
Reports had surfaced on Monday that Slice had been admitted to the Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Florida. Shortly after news broke of his admittance Ferugson’s death was made public.
Bellator MMA president Scott Coker released a statement after the passing of Slice:
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.
Slice came to fame in the mid 2000’s when videos of his backyard/street fights found their way onto YouTube. Slice showed tremendous knockout power in the videos and on some occasion fought more than one person at a time.
He began to properly train in mixed martial arts around 2005 and had his first amateur bout in 2007.Soon after his amateur bout, Los Angeles based MMA promotion EliteXC signed Slice to a contract and on November 10, 2007 he made his professional MMA debut.
EliteXC would ride on the shoulders of Slice for another four events. Slice proved to be a huge draw for the company and his popularity rose despite his shortcomings as a well-rounded mixed martial artist. Interest in Slice became so huge that in 2008 his bout against James Thompson was aired on CBS in a prime time slot. It would mark the first time a MMA event was shown on a major network, almost 4 years before the UFC made its debut on Fox. Unfortunately for EliteXC, putting all their eggs in Slice’s basket proved to be a mistake and after he suffered a stunning upset loss to Seth Petruzelli the company folded.
Almost nine months would pass before Slice would emerge on the MMA radar and when he did it was huge. Slice would join the 10th season of the UFC’s reality series the “Ultimate Fighter”. UFC president Dana White had stated in prior interviews that the only way Slice would step foot inside the octagon would be if he won “TUF”. Slice took him up on his offer and appeared on the show. Despite losing his first bout on the show, Slice was invited to participant on the season’s finale. There he took on Houston Alexander in a rather lackluster fight. At one point during the bout both men rested with their hands on their knees for about 10-20 seconds. Slice would win the bout via a unanimous decision but did little in his favor to convince MMA purists that he could be a legitimate threat in the UFC.
Slice would have one more shot in the UFC but again he put in a disappointing performance. He lost to Matt Mitrione at UFC 113 via a TKO and was released from the company shortly thereafter.
After his run in the UFC was over Slice decided to try his hand at professional boxing. During a span of two years from 2011-2013 Slice went 7-0 with six knockout victories. His boxing career would not last long as MMA had proved to be Slice’s real money-maker.
In January of 2015 it was announced that Slice had signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA. His first bout would be against UFC Hall of Fame fighter Ken Shamrock. The fight was not a thing of beauty but the interest in Slice was still there as the event turned out to be one of the highest rated shows Bellator had ever had.
Slice would fight one more time for Bellator before his untimely passing, it was a spectacle when he took on fellow backyard brawler “Dada 5000”. Slice would win the bout via a TKO after “Dada” seemed to pass out from exhaustion.
Despite his less than stellar efforts inside the cage, Slice’s was always a draw in MMA and there was something about him that kept fans coming back for more.
Though his time inside the UFC’s octagon was less than glorious, his presence outside of it was what stood out to many within the company and they reiterated so in their statement following his death:
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.
Say what you will about his abilities as a mixed martial artist what you cannot deny is the interest Slice carried with him. It was big news whenever a fight of his was announced and from the comments from both Bellator and the UFC it seemed as though he was a humble person who was joy to work with.