Kimbo Slice, king of ratings and West Perrine street fighting icon, dead at 42

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Rest in Peae, Kimbo Slice

Rest in Peace, Kimbo Slice

A number of reports came out earlier this evening that Bellator MMA fighter Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson had been rushed to the hospital.

 MMA Sucka TV logo first broke the story, stating that he was in a dire state.

Just a few hours later and Slice is dead at 42 years old.

Bellator President Scott Coker released 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.”

All of us at send our deepest condolences to the Kimbo Slice family.

Born Kevin Ferguson, Kimbo Slice leaves behind six children including a son, Kevin Ferguson Jr., who competes in MMA under the moniker “Baby Slice.”

The longtime Miami resident, born in Nassau, Bahamas, attended Miami Palmetto Senior High and grew up in West Perrine, one of the tougher neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County, Florida. After graduating high school he attended the University of Miami on a football scholarship while studying criminal justice.

After a series of unsanctioned backyard fights turned him into an unlikely household name, Slice transitioned into MMA, winning his amateur debut against former WBO heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist boxer Ray Mercer by first-round guillotine choke. He made his professional debut in 2007 against Bo Cantrell, a contest which he also won by first-round submission (punches). He won his next two fights against Tank Abbott and James Thompson by first-round knockout and third-round TKO, respectively.

An upset loss to Seth Petruzelli (who filled in on late notice for an injured Ken Shamrock) derailed Slice’s unbeaten streak, but not enough to deny him admittance into The Ultimate Fighter 10, which remains to this day among the highest-rated seasons in the show’s 16-year tenure—a stat largely attributable to Slice’s presence on the roster.

Though his 1-1 tenure in the UFC lasted less than a year, he made headlines wherever he went and in whatever venture he chose. Following a foray into boxing and acting, Slice returned to MMA in 2015 to face Ken Shamrock at Bellator 138, winning by TKO in the first round.  He followed that up with a victory this February against Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris, a fellow Miamian and West Perrine backyard brawler, though the bout was later ruled a no contest.

Kimbo Slice’s legacy exists past his fighting career. He was one of the few genuine celebrities from West Perrine. Documentarian Billy Corben would likely have never made his film, Dawg Fight, had it not been for Slice’s influence. Friends and family testify to his overt kindness, stating that despite his mean looks they would not think twice about leaving him in charge of their kids. He made time for charitable causes like Autism Speaks and was a beacon of hope for his community. Kimbo embodied the duplicity of man: kind and caring, brutal and merciless. He was one of a kind, iconic beyond sport and past trend, and he will be missed.

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