‘From backyard to big time’…? That may sound like a bizarre scenario in itself, but for Kimbo Slice, he potentially may be living proof that this could be true. It seems these days the internet can take someone off the streets who packs a good punch; and then turn them into a huge star in the biggest Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion in the world.
Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Furgeson began his career through combat in 2003, by having unsanctioned street fights. These were recorded and then distributed over an adult films website however; they soon after made their way to YouTube where he became a major hit amongst viewers fascinated with the power behind his hands. During his stint in unsanctioned street fighting, he only lost one fight to a former Boston police officer by the name of Sean Gannon.
Slice, to his credit went the right way about making his way into Mixed Martial Arts as a professional; and was trained by former UFC Heavyweight Champion and three-time King of Pancrase, Bas Rutten, alongside his boxing coach Randy Khatami, at Ruttens School EliteMMA. He made his debut against Ray Mercer in a Mixed Martial Arts pro-exhibition match utilising all professional MMA rules; finishing Mercer via Guillotine Choke -one minute and 12 seconds into the first round.
In November of 2007 Kimbo made the move to the Elite Xtreme Combat promotion where he strung together victories using his vicious knock out power over Bo Cantrell, Tank Abbott & James Thompson. This in turn led to his fight with UFC Hall of Famer, Ken Shamrock. On the day of the fight however Shamrock sustained a cut above his eye which forced him out of the Main Event clash and in his place stepped The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 alumni, Seth Petruzelli. "The Silverback" defeated Slice in 14 seconds via TKO and shocked the world.
During his absence from MMA Kimbo used his well recognised name to star in television programs; anti-virus software advertisements & even toyed with a kick-boxing career. But this halted on June 1st 2009 when it was announced that Kimbo Slice would be making his way into the UFC as a part of The Ultimate Fighter Season 10: Heavyweights. This proved to shock the world after years of UFC president Dana White bad mouthing the bearded street fighter.
On the next episode of The Ultimate Fighter this coming Thursday; he faces the last ever IFL Heavyweight Champion and veteran of seventeen fights Roy "Big Country" Nelson. This fight is determined to answer a number of questions about the future of both men: Kimbo has been out of action since his loss to Petruzelli and Nelson is coming off back-to-back losses to Andrei Arlovski & Jeff Monson. Hence the weight of the world is on the shoulders of both men, especially Slice, whom is coming in with a huge hype and expectation behind him.
If Roy Nelson were to lose this fight there is a good chance that he will not be making his way into the UFC. On the contrary, if Kimbo Slice were to lose this fight there is still a good chance that he will receive a UFC contract regardless. This is likely due to the debut of The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 receiving 4.1 million viewers, the replay another million, after the whole debut was given huge hype from the name Kimbo Slice. However after UFC President Dana White confirmed a definite “Yes,” as to whether we’d be seeing Kimbo Slice in the UFC, he followed by saying his decision was not affected by this recent ratings report: "No, never. The ratings do not influence our decision. The guy can either fight or not."
It may sound like a far out idea that you can make it into the biggest Mixed Martial Arts promotion in the world based upon your actions on this show -and without actually winning the series- but do you guys remember the guy by the name of Junie Browning? Browning appeared on Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter causing controversy with alcohol-fuelled havoc throughout the duration of the show. He was kept on simply because he pulled in the ratings, and, following this he then got a UFC contract because he was the man that America loved to hate.
After years of hearing Dana White blast Kimbo Slice it is almost ironic that he will be making his way into the UFC. However it’s yet to be seen how long his stay will be, regardless of whether the audience is tuning in to see him or not… Essentially if he’s not winning the fights placed in front of him at the elite level; he may not be a long lasting prospect in the UFC.