Is This The End Of The Kimbo Slice Era?
Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson has spent the last few years as a massive internet sensation. His backyard beatdowns have become somewhat of a legend and led the once homeless street brawler into the world of mixed martial arts. The unsanctioned street fights made Slice a YouTube sensation and soon enough placed Kimbo in arenas fighting in front of thousands. His stint on Spike TV’s reality series “The Ultimate Fighter” only increased the hype and pushed the show to its best ratings since the series began back in 2005. Although he wouldn’t win the competition, he earned a place in the UFC and looked to continue his transformation from street brawler to mixed martial artist. Unfortunately, the era of Kimbo Slice has more than likely ended in the UFC after being dismantled by fellow TUF alum Matt Mitrione at UFC 113 on Saturday night.
It’s been a wild ride for Slice. Born in Nassau, Bahamas, Slice moved to the US and grew up in Florida as a pre-teen. A star linebacker in high school, Slice saw his Florida home wrecked by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and lived in his car for a month. His talents on the football field led to Slice getting a scholarship to play ball at the University of Miami. He would only attend for a year and a half but managed to make the pre-season squad for the Miami Dolphins. His taste of the NFL wouldn’t last long and he was cut before the season began.
In 2003, Slice became a part of the unsanctioned street fight scene. His backyard beatdowns began popping up on YouTube and showcased a man with a big beard beating the stuffing out of all men that stepped to him. He would lose one fight on tape to a former Boston police officer named Sean Gannon, who trained in the world of mixed martial arts. The loss opened Slice up to a world that could make street brawling into a way to make a living.
With MMA legend Bas Rutten training him, Slice made his MMA debut and whipped former boxing champion Ray Mercer in the first round with a guillotine choke. This led to Slice signing with the now defunct EliteXC and Slice again wrecked another fighter by the name of Bo Cantrell in 19 seconds.
The hype machine was now on and everyone was paying attention.
Slice would handout a beatdown to former UFC star Tank Abbott in under a minute and stop James Thompson in the third round to set up a huge fight with Ken Shamrock on national television. Unfortunately, Shamrock would go down with an injury and unheralded Seth Petruzelli would step in on short notice. Everyone thought it would be an easy fight for Slice only to see him get knocked out in shocking fashion 14 seconds into the first round. The doubts about Slice’s ability echoed throughout the MMA world as many only saw Slice as a glorified street brawler who had finally been exposed. One of Slice’s biggest skeptics, UFC President Dana White, let it be known that if Slice wanted to be in the big leagues of The Ultimate Fighting Championship, the bearded one would have to go through The Ultimate Fighter reality series. Slice took the challenge, and sent ratings through the roof for the season. Even though he would lose to eventual TUF winner Roy Nelson, he impressed white enough to sign him to the UFC.
Slice’s first big test was against banger Houston Alexander on the finale of the show on Spike TV. Again, ratings would go through the roof as Slice earned a hard fought – albeit not very sensational – victory over Alexander. Slice wanted to prove the skeptics wrong. But at the age of 36, it would be hard for Slice to make the transformation to compete with the monsters of the heavyweight division.
But the uphill battle wouldn’t deter Slice. He would join the much heralded American Top Team (with fighters such as Thiago Alves, Bobby Lashley, Tyron Woodley, Ben Saunders and others) and reportedly improved leaps and bounds in his ground game and striking. Slice was given the chance to make an impact when he was featured on the main card of UFC 113 against former NFL player Matt Mitrione. Mitrione would dominate Slice from beginning to end as he nearly caught Slice in several submissions before pummeling his gassed opponent en route to a TKO stoppage. It was a devastating loss that showed that Slice simply did not have what it took to compete in the big leagues.
The UFC gave Slice his shot but he simply wasn’t up to snuff. With the news that he will probably be cut, one has to wonder “Is it over?” But I’m sure there are several organizations that are salivating to sign Slice and have him bring the much needed eyeballs to their respective companies. Whether or not Slice becomes a real competitor or simply a sideshow is left to be seen. It will be up to Kimbo to show the world that he will not be dissuaded from the world of MMA if this is something he really wants.
Is it the end of the Kimbo Slice era? We’ll just have to wait and see.