Take one look at a picture of Kimbo Slice, and you can only imagine the awesome power behind those massive arms and the damage they could inflict. This bearded street fighter utilized his facial hair to strike fear in the hearts of those who stepped in the MMA octagon, but he also had a side that many never got to see.
His explosive popularity in the mixed martial arts world afforded him a global audience of adoring fans. Just like any other superhero, his story begins in the most unlikely of places and his climb to stardom was anything but easy.
Kimbo Slice Early Years
Back when Kimbo Slice was a smaller version of what he eventually blossomed into, he was known as Kevin Ferguson. Born in the Bahamas, Kevin moved to Florida with his two brothers where he would attend Bel-Air Elementary School.
As fate would have it, Kevin was involved in his first fight at school standing up for a friend who was being bullied. After Hurricane Andrew wiped out everything, Kevin would be forced to live in his Pathfinder for a month. He tried to secure a spot on the Miami Dolphins squad as a linebacker, but never made the first team.
Luckily for the world, his identity did not get swallowed up playing in the trenches in the NFL, he would turn to fighting to help pull him from the trenches and lift his to stardom like no other fighter before.
The Next Natural Step
When Slice realized that his dream of playing football was not in the cards for him, he went on to become a strip club bouncer. His enormous arms and chest struck fear in those who dare mess with the man. It was then he grew his trademark beard that only added to his mystique.
Kimbo Slice was a natural at removing unwilling patrons from the strip club, and his fighting skills eventually would lead him to compete in a number of unsanctioned street fights back in 2003. There are many videos available today that show Slice in those fights, and his violent knockouts only drew in the attention of those working in the UFC.
Kimbo had already been studying MMA, and his intimidating appearance and punching power lead the Bellator and UFC to his door.
Kimbo Slice and the UFC
The road to the UFC was littered with the bodies Slice decimated while beginning his journey with MMA. It was Slice who carried the MMA on his broad shoulders when he appeared in the first MMA show broadcast on television.
Kimbo defeated Thompson with a third-round knockout and drew big television ratings while introducing millions of viewers to the MMA. He would eventually go on to a 5-2 record and just missed his chance at the belt, but he will always be remembered for his enormous figure, his thick beard, and his impressive boxing career.
In between matches in the cage, Kimbo would regularly fight in boxing matches and amassed an impressive 7-0 record with six knockouts. He could strike fear in his opponents long before he entered any ring, him and his beard already had cemented his legacy in history as a dominant force in the ring.
The Softer Side of the Giant
Like most giants, Kimbo Slice certainly had a gentle side that he would often allow the world to see when he was not fighting. Although his meteoric rise in the UFC was due in part to his dominating presence, this charismatic and larger-than-life personality was in reality a friendly and gentle giant and devoted family man.
For those who never got to see that softer side of Kimbo, you only need to locate the Christmas episode of Drake and Josh, two brothers who had an extremely popular kids show on Nickelodeon. In that Christmas episode, Josh is in jail when he discovers he is bunking with the monster that is Kimbo Slice.
In the show, Slice took on the person Bludge, a carbon copy of the man in the ring. He befriends Josh and even dresses as Santa and comes down the chimney to give gifts to orphaned children. He utilized his popularity in MMA to help showcase a softer side to the man and help bring awareness to many issues.
Kimbo Slice Facial Hair
There was no way Kimbo Slice was going to shave off that beard once he became the face of the UFC in those early years. Kimbo didn’t even need step in the ring anymore to help draw in millions to the sport because of his dominating presence.
His beard gave him a terrifying look, and helped to bring a sport that got its start underground to the mainstream. Although Slice’s persona and his beard took on a life of their own, he was never too shy to talk about his actual fighting abilities.
He was always learning and trying to improve, and claimed when he first got his big break he was nothing more than a big puncher. He was happy fighting under-cards because it afforded him the chance to provide for his family. He was instrumental in contributing to UFC in those early days, and enjoyed fighting one match at a time.
Just like many other legends in life, Kimbo Slice left this world way too early. On June 6, 2016, Kimbo Slice was sent to a hospital in Coral Springs, Florida where he died of heart failure. The entire MMA community as a whole were both shocked and saddened by that devastating news.
The image of Kimbo Slice and his thick beard are still part of the MMA history, he is one of the pioneers who helped the UFC reach the pinnacle of that industry. He will be remembered for his larger than life persona that was hiding a gentle giant inside who loved helping his family, friends, and anyone in need.