Kimbo Slice, the bearded street fighter who parlayed his Internet popularity into a mixed-martial-arts career and worldwide fame, has died. He was 42. Slice, whose real name was Kevin Ferguson, was taken to a hospital in Margate, Fla., near his home Monday, Coral Springs Police Sgt. Carla Kmiotek says. Slice’s death was confirmed by Mike Imber, his longtime manager. “We lost our brother today,” Imber tells the AP. The cause of death is still unclear. Kmiotek says there is no active police investigation, and no foul play is suspected. Slice was a Bahamian-born ex-football player and strip club bouncer who began competing in unsanctioned street fights in 2003. Videos of his violent knockout victories in those bouts became wildly popular online, both for his punching power and his distinctive, intimidating appearance.
He studied MMA and eventually competed in several promotions, including with the UFC and Bellator, which staged his two most recent fights. While he went 5-2 and never won a championship belt, Slice became one of MMA’s best-known figures, attracting large television audiences and crowds to his growing sport. He also had a pro boxing career between stints in the cage, going 7-0 with six knockouts from 2011 to 2013. Slice’s death also was confirmed by Scott Coker, the CEO of Bellator, which promoted his return to MMA last year after a five-year absence. “One of the most popular MMA fighters ever, Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport,” Coker said. “Outside of the cage he was a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man. His loss leaves us all with extremely heavy hearts.”