According to a report from TMZ confirmed by Bellator MMA CEO Scott Coker, mixed martial artist Kimbo Slice (né Kevin Ferguson) has died. The exact circumstances of his death are unknown, but he was reportedly rushed to the hospital near his home in Coral Springs, Florida earlier today and died shortly thereafter. He was 42.
Known as one of the most intimidating men in mixed martial arts, this heavyweight fighter came by his ferocious reputation honestly. A high school and college athlete, after an unsuccessful tryout for the Miami Dolphins Slice worked a series of jobs, eventually becoming a bodyguard for adult-film production company Reality Kings. It was through this connection Slice began participating in underground fighting, and in 2003 videos of Slice fighting in unsanctioned street matches went viral. (It was one of these videos that helped give him his nickname, when he sliced open an opponent’s eye in a fight.)
After undergoing formal training, this exposure eventually led to Slice signing with several different MMA companies over the course of his career. He went on to become one of the most recognizable fighters in the sport thanks to his larger-than-life personality; naturally, this led to appearances on The Ultimate Fighter reality series and in several films, mainly MMA-focused action movies like Blood And Bone and Circle Of Pain. In the 2010s, he took up boxing as well, and at the time of his death had an undefeated 7-0 record.
Outside of the ring, Coker describes Slice as a ”friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man.” He goes on to say, “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.” He is survived by his six children and longtime partner Antoinette Ray.