If you ask some fans, the greatest heavyweight fighter may not be Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson, but rather, Kimbo Slice. Slice never won a championship, and he didn’t perform well in the UFC either, but that doesn’t stop him from being a hero to many. Here’s the story of how Kimbo Slice turned his life around and became a fighting legend.
Kimbo Slice’s early life
Born in the Bahamas, Slice, whose real name was Kevin Ferguson, moved to Florida when he was little. Like many athletic people, Ferguson took up sports, and he played football for a time at his high school. But, as ABC News said, this stint with football didn’t last long.
In 1992, while Ferguson was still in high school, Hurricane Andrew blew through Florida and destroyed Ferguson’s home. Due to the resulting carnage, he lost the athletic scholarships that he had from colleges.
Ferguson went to a local college, but he dropped out soon enough. By 1994, as ABC News said, Ferguson was living in his 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, as he was too proud to live with his mom.
He’d work whatever jobs he’d find, but most didn’t pay well enough. Ferguson was willing to do anything to get out of this slump, and soon, he’d find his calling.
How Kimbo Slice became a legend
Ferguson, who still maintained his body, was absolutely shredded. His imposing size allowed him to get a job as a bouncer. Eventually, he made his way into the adult entertainment world as he became the bodyguard for a porn company, according to ABC News. While this gig allowed him to get an apartment, it wouldn’t be his day job.
As ABC News said, in 2003, a video emerged of Ferguson beating up a neighborhood bully in a backyard boxing fight. Ferguson’s friend put the video up on the internet and it was a viral hit. It wasn’t long before these taped fights became a regular thing for him.
Additionally, due to the injuries that he’d give his opponents, his fans started calling him Slice. Ferguson took this nickname in stride and combined it with the nickname that he’s always had as a kid.
The result was Kimbo Slice, and he’d become one of the first YouTube stars. He wasn’t undefeated, but that didn’t matter. Ferguson was just a good man who, like ABC News said, had a code of honor that he’d follow to a tee.
The world capitalizes on the fame
It didn’t take long for big media companies, like CBS, to try to put Slice, as he was known, onto the airwaves. The biggest and most famous attempt at this was by the UFC, who had Slice compete in a season of its show, The Ultimate Fighter.
This didn’t really make sense as Slice had little professional MMA training. He was a backyard boxer first and foremost, while the men that he was competing with were MMA fighters. That said, Slice was in good company. Many of the fighters that he competed with that season, such as Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione, were also former football players.
Unfortunately for Slice, he was beaten in the very first round, which eliminated him from the show. Regardless, Slice was too popular for the UFC to give up on so quickly.
So, a few months later, they gave him another fight, this time against Houston Alexander. While Slice would win this fight, it wasn’t a good fight. After Slice lost his next fight, the UFC decided to cut him from the organization.
Slice would compete a few more times before he passed away in 2016, but regardless, he remains a legend to many people who grew up watching him.