Wednesday 17 January 2018

How the late Kimbo Slice went from a YouTube street brawler to MMA sensation

Former UFC and Bellator MMA fighter Kimbo Slice died on June 6, aged 42 (Getty)
Former UFC and Bellator MMA fighter Kimbo Slice died on June 6, aged 42 (Getty)

James Edwards

The news was first broken by Kimbo Slice's training team - American Top Team (ATT) who tweeted out that Slice had passed away.

The news was then confirmed by Bellator president Scott Coker who soon followed with the following statement: "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 42-year-old was due to fight James Thompson at the Bellator 158 event in London this summer and Slice was scheduled to meet reporters on Wednesday at a London location to start promotional work on the fight. 

Slice, real name Kevin Ferguson, rose to fame through infamous street fights, which were filmed and uploaded to YouTube throughout the early 2000s. He was one of the first real 'superstars' of the platform and his fights have been played millions of times while he has become a household name.

Slice then became one of the most well-known MMA fighters in the world and he quickly compiled a 3-1 record before gaining a spot on The Ultimate Fighter season 10: The Heavyweights. Despite losing to eventual series winner Roy Nelson in the first round, Slice got a fight at the finale and took full advantage, defeating Houston Alexander by decision. Slice wasn't in the UFC for long though and after a loss to Matt Mitrione later in 2010, he was released from the UFC.

Slice then made another career transition, this time into the world of boxing. In his 18 months as a professional boxer, Slice amassed an unbeaten 7-0 record with 6 knockouts. However, MMA came calling once more and Slice signed with Bellator, debuting in June 2015 against Ken Shamrock. Slice would go on to win that fight by first round knockout. His second Bellator fight came against former friend and rival Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris, which he would win by third round stoppage. The result was eventually changed to a no-contest after Slice failed a drug test.

In his relatively short career, Slice compiled a 5 – 2 record and has left an unmistakable mark on the sport. Two of his fights rank in the top three for most watched fights in MMA history and he, without doubt, played a role in the growth of MMA.

Kimbo Slice is survived by his six children and his long-time girlfriend.

Independent News Service

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