When Kimbo Slice tragically passed away last June from congestive heart failure, he left a giant hole in the MMA community. Born Kevin Ferguson, Slice was more than just a mixed martial artist or a sports entertainment attraction, he was like a folk hero. A man with a tragic upbringing that found out he could make money with his fists and saw a way out. After becoming a viral sensation for his many street fight videos, he eventually used his hype as a springboard to the top of the sport and even break records, all while trying to provide for his family.
“OUR FASCINATION CAME FROM KIMBO SLICE BECAUSE THERE WAS ONLY SUPPOSED TO BE 15 MINUTES OF FAME FOR THAT GUY. THAT WASN’T KEVIN’S. THAT WASN’T KIMBO’S PLAN AT ALL. KIMBO DECIDED TO USE THAT AS A PLATFORM TO GET OUT THE ROUGH SITUATION HE WAS LIVING IN AND MAKE SOMETHING FOR HIMSELF. AND OH YEAH, HE’S A FAMILY GUY. ON TOP OF ALL THIS, WHATEVER YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT HIM, HE’S A FAMILY GUY. SIX KIDS. LIVES FOR HIS KIDS. ALL HE TALKED ABOUT WAS HIS FAMILY WHEN HE WAS IN THE [ULTIMATE FIGHTER] HOUSE. YOU JUST CAN’T COME UP WITH THIS STUFF. HOLLYWOOD CAN’T WRITE THIS STUFF. SO NOW PLEASE, REMEMBER KIMBO ACCOMPLISHED ALL OF THIS WITH A CHRONIC HEART DISEASE. HE’S A MODERN DAY SUPER HERO. HOLLYWOOD CAN’T WRITE THIS STUFF BECAUSE WE’D NEVER BELIEVE IT. — BRENDAN SCHAUB SPEAKING TO UFC ON FOX AFTER KIMBO SLICE’S DEATH.
He catapulted himself beyond his backyard brawls, fought for the biggest MMA organization on the planet, and eventually transcended the sport itself. Kimbo Slice didn’t just light up our living rooms with excitement, he permeated our culture in a way that still continues today. Nick Diaz had bonded with Slice during Elite XC days. Jorge Masvidal knew the man since he was a teenager and even fought in the same Florida yards. Entire generations of MMA fighters grew up when he was the hottest thing, even his own son carries own his fighting legacy. For now and forever, rest in power and peace, Kimbo Slice.
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 12/5/2017.