He made his name on the internet as the star of amateur videos that would show him beating up people in backyards, parking lots, alleyways and anywhere a camera could be set up.
He became such a phenomenon in the online world that eventually the world of mixed martial arts began to take note and the fighting career of Kevin Ferguson aka ”Kimbo Slice” was born. Elite XC signed Ferguson with the hope that he could become the face of their organization and give them mainstream notoriety. Slice did become the center piece of Elite XC headlining both of their cards that aired on CBS network television. His network debut against James Thompson in May 2008 was the most watched MMA event in history. Ferguson did gain fame and notoriety…for the wrong reasons.
Despite getting the TKO win in the third and final round that night, Ferguson was exposed as someone who would have no real shot of winning against any of the worlds top fighters. He struggled and looked out of energy against Thompson, a journeyman fighter at best, who entered the cage that night having having lost six of his previous eight fights.
The end for Ferguson came three months later when he lost to last minute replacement Seth Petruzelli by TKO in the first round after just 14 seconds. After two fights as the headliner, it was confirmed that Ferguson was nothing but a propped up internet star that had nowhere near the skills of a legitimate mixed martial arts fighter. Shortly thereafter, Elite XC went out of business and Ferguson was out of job.
UFC President Dana White was among the biggest detractors of Ferguson. White said that he lacked ability and called him a bum. He even suggested that Ferguson would get beat up by lightweights, which is not that bad unless you consider that he is a heavyweight. White also said that the only way that he would allow Ferguson to compete was if he won UFC’s highly popular reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” in which the winner gets a six figure contract with the UFC.
The story was broken yesterday by Yahoo Sports MMA writer Kevin Iole that Slice will indeed be one of the 16 heavyweight contestants on the tenth season of TUF which begins taping today.
Personally I couldn’t be happier. I think this is just outstanding in the fact that I can’t wait to see how the other 15 little known fighters will react to living in a house and training with someone that has already made a name for himself.
My gut feeling is that they will react to Ferguson like prisoners do when they are around someone who has notoriety in that they will be looking to take their shots at him. Every guy in there will hope to get a piece of him inside of the octagon so that they can start making a name for themselves.
I give all the credit in the world to Ferguson for taking on this challenge and trying to prove the doubters wrong. He could have easily stayed out of the spotlight and gone somewhere else to continue his career. He knows that there is a big target on his back but he also knows that he will have the chance to silence the biggest critic of them all in White and that would be more rewarding than any fight that he has ever won both in a cage or on the internet.
I will have my popcorn ready, my DVR set and I will gladly be watching it all unfold later this year.