Bellator heavyweight and popular slugger Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson today died in his home state of Florida.
In a statement, company Scott Coker praised the “beloved member of the Bellator family” who was “one of the most popular MMA fighters ever.”
The Twitter account for the fighter’s home gym, Florida’s famed American Top Team, also announced the death of the “legend”:
The ATT Family and South Florida community lost a legend today. RIP Kimbo. pic.twitter.com/sjs8ctyJMd
— American Top Team (@AmericanTopTeam) June 7, 2016
A representative for the Coral Springs Police Department told MMAjunkie the 42-year-old fighter was today admitted to Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Fla. TMZ Sports first reported he had been hospitalized and was in a “dire” situation.
A police rep told MMAjunkie officers were sent to Slice’s home as a courtesy after he was admitted to the hospital, but they found no issues.
Coker’s full statement:
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.
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.
Ferguson, who turned his YouTube stardom as a Miami-based bareknuckle boxer into a professional MMA career, almost immediately became one of the sport’s biggest draws upon his 2007 pro debut. He headlined a series of highly rated EliteXC shows on CBS and was one of the sport’s biggest stars despite fighting outside of the world’s top MMA promotion.
However, he eventually signed with the industry-leading UFC after EliteXC’s financial collapse, which came shortly after Slice’s first career loss – an embarrassing 14-second TKO defeat to Seth Petruzelli.
After a stint on the heavyweights-only 10th season of “The Ultimate Fighter 10” in 2009, he went 1-1 in the organization.
The bearded slugger then turned his attention to a pro-boxing career, where he went 7-0 against mostly overmatched opponents, before returning to MMA with a Bellator deal in 2015.
Bellator officials recently announced Slice (6-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) would rematch James Thompson (20-16 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) in July 16’s Bellator 158 headliner in London. A fight prior, Slice scored a TKO win over rival Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris at Bellator 149. Harris suffered renal failure and had a lengthy hospital stay after the slow-paced and sloppy fight, which was later overturned and declared a no-contest when Slice failed a post-fight drug test due to an anabolic steroid and elevated testosterone level.
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