Kevin Ferguson, best known to the sports world as Kimbo Slice, passed away on Monday due to heart failure at the age of 42. Bellator MMA, the promotion with which Ferguson had most recently competed, released a statement on Monday night confirming his passing, with thoughts from President Scott Coker.
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 was one of the most watched fighters in all of MMA history, setting ratings records for multiple promotions, and appearing in some of the highest rated fights in cable and network television history. That began with the first ever MMA fight on network TV when he fought James Thompson on CBS, continued with the most highly rated season of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike, and crossed over for Bellator with his two appearances bring them their two most highly rated events ever. He had been scheduled to rematch the aforementioned Thompson next month at Bellator 158 in London.
Penick’s Analysis: This is such sad news. No matter the valid and reasonable criticism of his fighting skills and the fights he’d had as of late, he was by all accounts a kind and personable man loved by friends, fans, and teammates alike. The first ever fight I covered for MMATorch was that CBS debut for EliteXC and his fight with Thompson, and he played a very significant part in getting a new segment of fans into the sport during the 2008-2010 boom. 42-years-old is far, far, far too young, and we extend our condolences to all friends, family, teammates, and fans affected by his this shocking passing.
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