Reports had been flying around over the last few hours that underground fighting legend, Kimbo Slice, passed away earlier this evening in Florida.
TMZ reported that Slice, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, was taken to a hospital earlier today. But multiple outlets and MMA entities were subsequently reporting that the internet sensation had passed away.
The ATT Family and South Florida community lost a legend today. RIP Kimbo. pic.twitter.com/sjs8ctyJMd— American Top Team (@AmericanTopTeam) June 7, 2016
Now TMZ has now confirmed the passing of Slice, 42, and also obtained a statement from Bellator MMA CEO, Scott Coker:
We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating 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."
"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.
Kimbo last fought at Bellator 149, where he scored a knockout victory over Dhafir "Dada 5000" Harris. We spoke with Kimbo before the fight, and as always, he kept it real. He expressed how happy he was with Bellator, especially in regards to the pending fight with Dada 5000, stating "Bellator has been really good to me. I love Scott Coker for putting this fight together."
Slice had been out of the cage for five years, finally returning in 2015 to face Ken Shamrock at Bellator 138, where Kimbo knocked out the cage legend in the second round, eight years after they were originally supposed to fight. Kimbo was an internet sensation, getting his start in the underground fight scene in Miami. But while many would have viewed this as a niche occurrence for those who love to see violence on DVDs and the internet, Kimbo let his fists do the talking all the way from the "305" to the professional ranks in Cage Fury Fighting Championship in 2007.
Now, nine years after his pro debut, and barely four months after his last win, the world is mourning the loss of one of the most unique people in all of sports, a man everyone knew as "Kimbo." RIP Kimbo and thank you for giving us your all.
We battled inside the cage, warrior vs warrior. Outside the cage, we have loved ones. REST IN PEACE KIMBO SLICE. May God Watch Over You.— KEN SHAMROCK (@ShamrockKen) June 7, 2016