The sports world is in grief today as professional MMA fighter Kimbo Slice died Monday evening at the age of 42.
Kimbo Slice, also known as Kevin Ferguson, was an unconventional MMA fighter. Starting in and around Miami in 2003, Slice began his career as an unsanctioned street fighter. Over a 4 year span, Kimbo Slice’s fighting began to be viewed by millions of viewers on the internet, and he quickly established himself as the viral star of the underground fighting world. In 2006, Rolling Stone reported that Slice had been involved in more fights than he could count and had only lost one, which came from a police officer named Sean “The Cannon” Gannon.
In 2007, Slice exited the underground fighting world and made his professional MMA debut against Ray Mercer. Much to the surprise of MMA officials and fans, Slice performed well and beat Mercer in the first round. Although due to Slice’s origins as an internet viral star, he never gained the respect of his peers and superiors in the UFC and professional MMA fighting world, and Slice left the UFC in 2010.
Despite a rowdy reputation as a street fighter, Slice was known by friends and family as a calm and kind individual, frequently seen at local restaurants and his children’s school functions. Neighbors say that he was a low-key individual that frequently posed for pictures with fans. Slice credits his MMA career for enabling him to send his children to college.
Prior to his death, the fighter had been diagnosed with heart failure, and, on Friday, he was admitted to Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Florida complaining of nausea, chest pains, and shortness of breath. Slice died on 7:30 Monday night while being prepared for transfer to a facility that could provide a much-needed heart transplant. He had no history of illicit drug use and no foul play is suspected.
Kimbo Slice was recently married and had six sons.