Born Kevin Ferguson, Kimbo Slice began as a street fighter. He challenged the men in his Miami neighborhood and with little effort took each man down, one at a time. These street fights were how Slice’s talents were first recognized.
Slice grew up in an impoverished neighborhood. He was a football player in high school and college until an injury took him out of the game and left him homeless. He did not give up, however. He worked in strip clubs before entering the adult film industry as a bodyguard.
ESPN states that Slice was always “real,” he was not pretending to portray a character, even though the sports network related him to a comic book hero and villain, in one. He did not talk trash and he had a calm, quiet demeanor.
Before starting his career as an MMA fighter, Slice was already famous for is underground street fighting videos on YouTube. Rolling Stone named him “King of the Web Brawlers” in their magazine
Standing at 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing in at 240 pounds, Slice signed on as an MMA fighter with CBS’ Elite XC, in 2007. His career run is a remarkable story, considering he did not start his actual MMA career until his was in his mid-30s. He rose from street brawls to the UFC in a short period of time. ESPN calls him a “legit tough guy who was born to be a fighter.”
In 2008, Slice lost to Seth Petruzelli, 14 seconds into the MMA bout. However, he was able to bounce back when he joined the UFC. This jump from amateur to professional MMA fighting came through the reality television show, “The Ultimate Fighter.”
His first professional fight aired on Spike TV, in 2009. It was an exhibition bout against Roy Nelson. 6.1 million viewers tuned in to watch. When Slice signed with Bellator, in 2015, his fights caused ratings to topple those of Spike TV, twice.
He had seven professional MMA fights. During this time, he was constantly having to deal with rumors that his fights were not real. This was despite the fact fans and sports commentators were impressed with his transparency and his blue-collar ethics.
Slice’s last victorious match was in February 2016. He faced off with Dada 5000 (Dhafir Harris), a former opponent from the underground. However, this decision was overturned because Slice tested positive for a steroid called nandrolone. He lost his fighter’s license in Texas and had to pay a $2500 fine.
Dada left the ring on a stretcher and went into cardiac arrest the following day. He spent two weeks in the hospital, recovering.
Before the bout, both fighters had to undergo medical examinations, due to their ages. The exam included an electrocardiogram, which looked for any heart-related problems. However, they both passed their physicals.
On June 6, 2016, Slice died while awaiting a heart transplant. The cause of his death, originally thought to be unknown, was revealed to be congestive heart failure a few days later. He left behind his long-term girlfriend and six children.
Hospital records show that he was admitted to the hospital on June 3, with complaints of difficulty breathing, sharp pains in his abdomen and nausea. He was admitted to the intensive care unit and put on a ventilator. He passed away while the hospital was preparing him to be transported to Cleveland, where he was to await a heart transplant.
The Slice legacy will live on as people continue to view is infamous street fights on YouTube. He will be remembered by Bellator as a beloved family member and by opponents as a force. Out of his seven professional fights, he lost two. Slice was 42.
By Jeanette Smith
The Independent: Kimbo Slice cause of death: MMA fighter needed heart transplant before he died aged 42
Sun-Sentinel: Dada 5000, mourning loss of Kimbo Slice, lets go of past grievances
ESPN: Kimbo Slice will be remembered for his improbable rise to popularity
Featured Image Courtesy of fcastellanos’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Top Image by Cottonphotos Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – Creative Commons License