Coming off his breakout role in Black Panther as T’Challa’s ally M’Baku, and riding a wave of success from Avengers: Infinity War, Winston Duke is set to portray former MMA fighter and backyard legend Kimbo Slice in the movie aptly named Backyard Legend. The feature was announced last October, and is now ready to begin finalizing details to move into the production phase.
Kevin Ferguson, AKA Kimbo Slice, was a Bahamanian-born MMA fighter that was the real-life Rocky Balboa of his era. Ferguson was generally dead broke and was living homeless, fighting in backyard brawls for whatever purse was offered. For Ferguson, the timing of his breaking into this form of fighting happened to coincide with the rise of YouTube where viewers were posting his fights online. It didn’t take long for Ferguson to build an online following and a reputation for handing down some of the bloodiest, most brutal beatings you could find in any form of fighting.
Given the frequency of Ferguson’s need to fight to continue earning money, a wealth of fresh content continued to roll out weekly, and before long Kimbo Slice was almost a household name. Rolling Stone had dubbed him “The King of Web Brawlers.” He was making appearances on the late-night talk show circuit, building up the Kimbo Slice persona, and laying the foundation to move to big money professional fighting.
Brutal fights and hard living in his early years took a toll on Ferguson, leading to his untimely death at the age of 42. Along the way he boxed and wrestled professionally, fighting in Elite XC, the UFC, and Bellator MMA, who sponsored his last fight only a couple weeks before he passed away. His family relayed to Deadline that they knew he wasn’t well during his last bout due to his lack of energy. It is a story many have felt is well worth telling, particularly Steve Lee Jones, of Bee Holder Productions.
“It’s a rich and layered tale about this man’s incredible journey from a poor neighborhood in Miami to becoming a worldwide phenomenon. We are ecstatic that Winston has decided to take on this both physically and emotionally challenging role. We simply could not find a better Kimbo!”
Most roles for the film have not yet been cast, but it has been inked in that Duke and Ferguson’s former manager, Michael Imber, will be serving as executive producers. Bee Holder Productions and Webros Entertaiment are on board as the production companies.