This past Monday Night (6/6), the MMA community lost one of its biggest personalities and draws in Kimbo Slice, whose real name was Kevin Ferguson. Slice grew up in and around the Miami, Florida area, but he would come to national prominence with videos that were posted to Youtube, but these were not videos about cooking or video game hints, they were videos about street fighting. Slice’s rise to stardom came when video after video of the man surfaced on Youtube showing him destroy fellow men in fashions that were more brutal than the last. The videos and the man would become so popular, that a call to mixed martial arts world would be next for the internet sensation.
Most people would assume that Slice would make his MMA debut in Elite XC, but that would be untrue because he would actually make his pro debut at Cage Fury Fighting Championships V on June 23rd of 2007. That night, the street fighting legend would face legendary boxer Ray Mercer, but the fight would not end via a brutal beat down that Slice was known for, but instead it would be Mercer tapping out to a Slice guillotine choke. Slice’s popularity would be undeniable at this time and that would lead to his signing for the Elite XC promotion, who would both live and then later die but what happened in the cage between Slice and his foes.
Slice would win his first three bouts in the promotion, with the most notable wins coming over UFC legend Tank Abbot and journeyman fighter James Thompson, who would play an ominous role himself as Slice passed away, but more on that momentarily. Slice, whose undeniable popularity lead Elite XC to become the first MMA promotion to a national TV deal with CBS, would also be the man who would bring the promotion and the deal to an end, but not by his hand. Slice’s final MMA fight for Elite XC came at Elite XC: Heat on October 4th of 2008 and it would be a moment that would be remembered forever in MMA history.
Slice was supposed to face UFC legend Ken Shamrock at the event, but an unfortunate training injury on the day of the event would lead to the promotion putting another UFC veteran in Seth Petruzelli opposite the cage against Slice. The fight would not last long and the result was an unexpected one as Petruzelli would knock out Slice in under thirty seconds. A funny side note to the story is that the security in the arena and Petruzelli’s team would try and calm the fighter down during his post-fight celebration because there were fears that his celebration would cause a riot amongst Slice’s hometown fans…the riot never happened. Although not at fault for what happened next, Petruzelli would appear on various media outlets suggesting that Elite XC officials told him not to take the fight to the ground, which is kind of like fixing a fight, the outrage would cause a lot of backlash for the promotion and the promoters, Elite XC would shut down a few months later.
Slice would ultimately get to make his UFC debut, but it came in untraditional means as he would be a part of the UFC Ultimate Fighter X. Slice would not make it out of the first round of the reality show tournament, losing to Roy Nelson by TKO. Slice would have a terrible run in the UFC after that, defeating Houston Alexander via a lackluster decision at the UFC Ultimate Fighter X Finale, then losing to Matt Mitrione via TKO at UFC 113. Slice would be released by the UFC after the Mitrione loss, he would retire from MMA competition and start a boxing career, in which he went undefeated as a pro boxer. Fast forward to 2015, where Slice would make his return to MMA competition and he would battle a man he was supposed to fight years earlier in Ken Shamrock.
The fight would headline Belllator 138, Slice would survive a rear naked choke attempt from Shamrock before finishing him with strikes in the first round. Slice’s last fight before passing away may have been his most embarrassing as a fighter, where he defeated longtime rival Dada 5000 (Dhafir Harris) by TKO in a fight that saw both fighters gas out badly within a few minutes of the fight. The fight would later be overturned to a no contest by the Texas Athletic Commission because Slice tested positive for steroids. Slice was set to make his highly anticipated return from suspension in a rematch against James Thompson this July for Bellator MMA, but sadly, that fight will not be happening as Slice would sadly pass away from heart failure.
Kimbo Slice or Kevin Ferguson, however you or the people around the man knew him as, we can all agree on one huge thing as this piece comes to a close…Kimbo Slice the fighter was one of the most memorable competitors to ever step into the MMA world, but Kevin Ferguson the man was a beloved member of his community, an icon to his many friends, a kindhearted soul and true role model to his kids and a loving man to his fiancé…but no matter how you remember the man, he made an impact on this world in many ways that will never be forgotten.