Two years ago today the MMA community lost one of the most polarizing figures in combat sports. Kevin Ferguson better known by his fight name of Kimbo Slice came into the MMA world riding a huge hype train. Some loved him some hated him, but one thing you couldn’t deny is that people talked about him.
Kimbo went from backyard brawler to headlining MMA fight cards on primetime television. He was an internet sensation that had a lot of hype behind and brought eyeballs wherever he fought. We are going to go over Kimbo’s most notorious fights here and see which performances of his stood above the rest. Some are wins and some are losses, but you won’t be able to deny that these fights had people buzzing about Kimbo.
Kimbo vs. Big D
In the first fight that started the Kimbo craze, he took on a man by the name of Big D in a Miami backyard. It was as raw as it could get. Most people had not seen anything like it, no gloves and you fight until someone can no longer continue. Kimbo delivered as he used his fists to damage Big D’s face, specifically his eye. This fight actually went viral before YouTube was the main source for viral videos. It was uploaded to an adult site called Sublime Directory. Once it was uploaded to YouTube it blew up even more.
Crazy rumors started to circulate afterward that Big D lost his eye because of this fight, although those rumors have remained just that. If you haven’t seen this classic you can watch it below.
Kimbo Slice vs Sean Gannon
Kimbo’s hype train as an invincible street fighter was riding high and then he ran into Sean Gannon, a Boston police officer. The two met in a gym and battled it out and it was the first time that Kimbo seemed human. Gannon ended up knocking Kimbo out, but there was controversy surrounding the fight because Gannon used a few headlocks to hold Kimbo and his people argued that was against the rules. Gannon actually went on to earn an opportunity to fight in the UFC, something many people credit to his fight with Kimbo. He was destroyed in his only UFC appearance by Brandon Lee Hinkle.
The loss did not slow down the Kimbo hype train. His popularity continued to rise with more street fights, even beating up two mean back to back. You can watch his fight with Gannon below.
Kimbo Slice vs. Tank Abbott
Kimbo made the jump to professional MMA and one of the big fights that first had people buzzing was against another notorious street fighter, Tank Abbott. Tank was the complete opposite of what you would expect an MMA fighter to be. He was fat, but boy did he pack a punch. There was a lot of hype for this one and it was held under the now defunct Elite XC banner. It was a short-lived fight as Tank only lasted 43 seconds with Kimbo. The Kimbo hype train was at an all-time high after this fight. Check out the destruction by Kimbo below.
Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson
This was Kimbo’s big break. It was MMA’s debut on primetime television. The event was aired on CBS and Kimbo was the headliner. Not bad for a guy that was brawling in backyards a few years earlier. James Thompson proved to be no pushover for Kimbo and the fight went into the third round. Many people had Thompson winning the fight, but Kimbo hung tough and in the third round connected with a punch that popped Thompson’s cauliflower ear and blood went spraying all over the place on live network TV. It was definitely water cooler talk the following Monday in the office. The fight was stopped and Kimbo was the winner.
At this point, people were saying Kimbo was all hype and no substance and he needed to be tested with a real MMA fighter. You were either on the train or not, but it didn’t matter because Kimbo was not stopping.
Kimbo vs. Seth Petruzelli
Kimbo was set to fight Ken Shamrock at Elite XC’s next big CBS event and in an odd incident on the day of the fight Shamrock suffered a cut warming up backstage and could not fight. With the main event in jeopardy former UFC fighter, Seth Petruzelli was offered a handsome amount of money to jump up to the main event from his undercard spot and face Kimbo. He gladly accepted and it probably wasn’t the best thing for Kimbo’s career. Regardless of Petruzelli not being the best MMA fighter out there he was tested and had good skill. He even stated that they paid him as much as they did because they wanted him to keep the fight standing, presumably because they were hoping Kimbo could knock him out. That didn’t happen and instead, Petruzelli knocked out Kimbo in 14 seconds.
This loss stopped the Kimbo hype train. Who knows how much longer the hype train could have continued if Kimbo hadn’t suffered such a quick defeat. You can watch the quick loss below.
Kimbo bounced back after his loss to Petruzelli but he never recovered the hype that he had beforehand. He continued to fight in MMA even making to the UFC via their reality show The Ultimate Fighter. He went 1-1 in the UFC before being released and stayed busy afterward with Boxing. He accumulated a 7-0 Boxing record before making his return to MMA for Bellator. His final MMA fight was against another famed Miami backyard brawler, Dada 5000. Sadly Kimbo passed away on June 6, 2016, of heart failure.
Whether you liked him or hated him it didn’t matter because he was entertaining. You can’t deny that the man made an impact on the sport of MMA and helped bring it to a wider audience.