Tuesday, 7 June 2016
Bellator heavyweight, ratings king Kimbo Slice dead at 42
Bellator heavyweight and popular slugger Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson today died in his home state of Florida.
In a statement, company Scott Coker praised the “beloved member of the Bellator family” who was “one of the most popular MMA fighters ever.”
The Twitter account for the fighter’s home gym, Florida’s famed American Top Team, also announced the death of the “legend”:
A representative for the Coral Springs Police Department told MMAjunkie the 42-year-old fighter was today admitted to Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Fla. TMZ Sports first reported he had been hospitalized and was in a “dire” situation.
The cause of his death was not immediately clear.
A police rep told MMAjunkie officers were sent to Slice’s home as a courtesy after he was admitted to the hospital, but found no issues.
Coker’s full statement:
Ferguson, who turned his YouTube stardom as a Miami-based bareknuckle boxer into a professional MMA career, almost immediately became one of the sport’s biggest draws upon his 2007 pro debut. He headlined a series of highly rated EliteXC shows on CBS and was one of the sport’s biggest stars despite fighting outside of the world’s top MMA promotion.
However, he eventually signed with the industry-leading UFC after EliteXC’s financial collapse, which came shortly after Slice’s first career loss – an embarrassing 14-second TKO defeat to Seth Petruzelli in 2008.
After a stint on the heavyweights-only 10th season of “The Ultimate Fighter 10” in 2009, Slice went 1-1 in the organization but continued to draw massive ratings wherever he went.
The bearded slugger, who drew a mainstream audience and helped EliteXC consistently draw substantial crowds, then turned his attention to a legitimate boxing career, where he went 7-0 as a pro against mostly overmatched opponents. He returned to MMA with a Bellator deal in 2015.
Bellator officials recently announced Slice (6-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) would rematch James Thompson (20-16 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) in July 16’s Bellator 158 headliner in London. A fight prior, Slice scored a TKO win over rival Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris at Bellator 149. Harrissuffered renal failure and had a lengthy hospital stay after the slow-paced and sloppy fight, which was later overturned and declared a no-contest when Slice failed a post-fight drug test due to an anabolic steroid and elevated testosterone level.
Ferguson was already 33 by the time he launched his MMA career, and his skills never quite matched his renowned drawing power. Despite an intimidating and larger-than-life persona that made his fights an easy sell, the usually soft-spoken father of six was a favorite among promoters, media members, fellow fighters and other industry insiders.