Former UFC and “Ultimate Fighter” competitor Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson died on Monday after complications from heart failure.
TMZ first reported the news that Ferguson — best known by his in-ring persona as Kimbo Slice — had been taken to the hospital near his home in Coral Springs, Fla. in critical condition. Ferguson’s promoters at Bellator Fighting Championships confirmed his death on Monday.
“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,” Bellator president Scott Coker said in a statement.
“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.
According to multiple sources, Ferguson died at the hospital despite doctors working to revive the 42-year old fighter after he arrived.
Ferguson rose to fame after a series of street fights went viral on YouTube and his celebrity eventually transitioned into a career in mixed martial arts.
Ferguson fought on several major cards including a bout against James Thompson in 2008, which was the first major MMA show to air on network television.
Following his stint with Elite XC, Ferguson signed with the UFC where he became part of the cast of “The Ultimate Fighter” season 10.
Ferguson fell in his opening matchup to current UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson in one of the most watched fights in the history of the long-running reality show.
Ferguson then went 1-1 in his next two fights with the UFC before being released from the promotion in 2010. Following news of his death, UFC officials released a statement about the former street fighter turned Octagon veteran.
“UFC is saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Ferguson, known to fans around the world as Kimbo Slice,” UFC officials said. “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.”
Following his stint with the UFC, Ferguson then pursued a professional boxing career for a brief time before returning to MMA where he signed with Bellator.
Ferguson performed there for two more fights before he was booked for a rematch with Thompson this summer prior to his passing. (Foxsports.com).