Mixed Martial Arts Fighter, Kimbo Slice, Dies At 42

Kimbo-Slice-coverMixed Martial Arts fighter Kimbo Slice, real name Kevin Ferguson, died in Miami, Florida, on Monday, June 6. He was 42 years old.

Slice was born in the Bahamas on Feb. 8, 1974, but grew up in South Florida. He played middle linebacker at Miami’s Palmetto High and showed the potential to play in college before Hurricane Andrew caused Palmetto High’s season to be cut short and his scholarship offers vanished. He flunked out of college at Bethune-Cookman University and was homeless for a brief time. He worked as a limo driver, strip-club bouncer and bodyguard before rising to fame through his viral street-fighting videos.

kimbo slice2He was not embraced by much of the MMA world as it attempted to go mainstream, with UFC president Dana White famously saying Slice would not last two minutes in the Octagon. However, due in part to his immense popularity, Slice’s third professional fight, a fourth-round TKO against Thompson in May 2008, aired on CBS, making it the first MMA fight on prime-time network television.

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He had such a large Internet following that in 2006, Rolling Stone dubbed him “The King of the Web Brawlers.” This homage from ESPN was quickly retweeted more than 60,000 times.

In 2009, the UFC booked Slice as a contestant on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series. He ultimately fought for the UFC twice, compiling a 1-1 record, before taking a leave of absence from MMA to compete in professional wrestling.

According to a sergeant at Coral Springs Police in Miami, Ferguson was admitted to hospital on Monday night. There was no evidence of foul play. But according to Kimbo’s trainer partner, Tyler Cook, claimed that Kimbo’s “heart quit” in a series of Facebook posts thinking it was heart failure that ultimately took his life.

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