Kimbo Slice, an MMA fighter who the world first came to know in the mid-2000s for street fights that spread quickly across YouTube, died on June 6. He was 42.
“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,” Bellator president Scott Coker said in a statement.
Coker added: “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.”
Kimbo Slice, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, was rushed to a local Florida hospital early Monday for undisclosed reasons. The cause of death is unknown, and Coral Springs police say they don’t believe that foul play was involved.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound heavyweight had a 5-2 professional MMA record with four TKOs. Signed to Bellator MMA, the Floridian was scheduled to headline Bellator 158 in battle against PRIDE FC veteran James “The Colossus” Thompson in London on July 16.
His last fight was at Bellator 149 earlier this year in Houston, where he defeated Dhafir “Dada5000” Harris, which was later overturned after Ferguson tested positive for banned substance nandrolone. Before that, he knocked out MMA pioneer Ken Shamrock in June 2015.
Ferguson was born in the Bahamas on Feb. 8, 1974, but he grew up in Florida. The former football player held many jobs—bouncer, limo driver, and bodyguard—before he rose to fame with his viral street-fighting videos.
“We lost our brother today,” Slice’s longtime manager, Mike Imber, said in a text message to The Associated Press.
Slice also fought for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
“UFC is saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Ferguson, known to fans around the world as Kimbo Slice,” the UFC said in a released statement. “Slice will forever be a part of UFC history as a contestant on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2009, and for having fought twice inside the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter Finale and UFC 113. He carried himself as a true professional during his time in our organization.”
Kevin Ferguson, is survived by his wife and six children, including Kevin Ferguson Jr., who has followed his father’s footsteps as a MMA fighter, under the name “Baby Slice.”