The Internet backyard fighting sensation and MMA fighter known as Kimbo Slice passed away at the age of 42 after being rushed to a hospital near his home in Coral Springs, Florida, as initially reported by TMZ.
The cause of Kimbo Slice’s hospitalization has not been disclosed yet, but it was stated that his situation “(did) not look good.” He died in the hospital shortly after.
UPDATE: While it’s still not official yet, the preliminary cause of death has been listed as heart failure.
Scott Coker, the president of Bellator MMA, had this to say about the heavyweight fighter’s passing:
“We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating 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.”
Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson last fought Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris in a heavyweight MMA contest at Bellator 149 on February 19, winning via technical knockout in the third round after his opponent couldn’t continue fighting due to collapsing from exhaustion. The victory would then be overturned after it was revealed that Kimbo Slice failed his pre-fight drug test due to traces of the anabolic steroid Nandrolone in his system.
Meanwhile, Dada 5000 was immediately hospitalized after his fight with Kimbo Slice and was in critical condition but was then stabilized. He had to lose 40 pounds prior to the fight in order to make weight. Dada stated in an Instagram post two days after the fight that he suffered two heart attacks and “died during the fight.” Dada subsequently deleted the Instagram post. Before the fight, Dada was mostly known for being a subject of the 2015 documentary Dawg Fight, chronicling the exploits of backyard fighters in Florida.
Kimbo Slice came from a similar background, first rising to prominence as a backyard fighter featured in videos posted on SublimeDirectory and YouTube. He began participating in unsanctioned fights in 2003 and fought mostly in the backyards of Florida’s ghetto suburbs. Kimbo Slice’s only recorded backyard fight loss was against Sean Gannon, a police officer from Boston who trained in MMA. That fight propelled both men to the MMA spotlight, with Gannon fighting once in the UFC.
He first trained under MMA legend Bas Rutten and had his first MMA bout against Bo Cantrell in the now-defunct promotion EliteXC on November 10, 2007. Kimbo Slice would win three fights before succumbing to a KO loss against UFC veteran Seth Petruzelli, after which he cut ties with Bas Rutten. Kimbo Slice would then appear in the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, suffering a TKO loss to Roy Nelson in the show, but was able to score a decision win against Houston Alexander in the finale. After a TKO loss to Matt Mitrione in his next fight, he was cut from the UFC.
It would be five years before Kimbo Slice would step into the MMA cage once again. In the meantime, he fought in professional boxing from 2011 to 2013. He fought in seven pro boxing matches, winning them all with six victories by the way of knockout. Kimbo Slice’s return to MMA was for Bellator, training under American Top Team and going up against the 51-year-old Ken Shamrock in a contest that saw Kimbo Slice score a rather strange TKO win in the middle of the first round.
Kimbo Slice’s professional MMA record stands at five wins, two losses, and one no contest, with three wins by the way of knockout and one by submission.
[Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images]