Late last night (Mon., June 6, 2016), news broke that bareknuckle street brawler-turned professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter and boxer, Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson, died unexpectedly in South Florida at the age of 42. The exact cause of death is unknown at this time, although a local news report has indicated that it was a unfortunate case of "heart failure."
Social media was immediately flooded with support for Slice, 42, and his family, with promoters, fighters, friends, fans and just about everyone else coming out of the woodwork to share their respect and personal thoughts -- and even moments -- with the "larger than life" personality.
In addition to Bellator MMA, where Slice competed twice (1-0-1) and was currently under contract, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) issued its condolences on his untimely passing.
"UFC is saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Ferguson, known to fans around the world as Kimbo Slice. 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. While he will never be forgotten for his fighting style and transcendent image, Slice will also be remembered for his warm personality and commitment to his family and friends. UFC offers its sincere condolences to Slice's family, friends and teammates at American Top Team."
Slice, while under contract with Elite XC, drew the ire of UFC President Dana White after it was suggested that Seth Petruzelli agreed to fill in on literally several hours notice (with concessions) when Ken Shamrock pulled himself out of a CBS-televised main event back in Oct. 2008. Slice's insane intrigue and popularity at the time, combined with the exposure on network television -- and the ensuing Gary Shaw-fueled controversy -- delivered this all-time masterpiece:
Pure gold ... just like Slice's ability to attract a crowd -- and viewing audience -- wherever and whenever he appeared or competed.
Despite the rant, White and Co. clearly appreciated Slice's starpower, later signing him to a deal to compete on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10, which would, unsurprisingly, go down in the ratings record books as the most successful season of the "reality television" franchise. Slice would lose to eventual winner, Roy Nelson, during the show and compete at the Finale, scoring a unanimous decision over Houston Alexander in Dec. 2009. Slice would compete once more inside the Octagon, falling to Matt Mitrione via technical knockout at UFC 113 about six months later.
Rest in peace, Kimbo.