MMA community remembers Kimbo Slice as a ‘gentle giant’ with a ‘larger-than-life personality’

Kimbo Slice
Kimbo Slice strikes a pose while promoting an upcoming fight with James Thompson in 2008.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Street-fighting sensation Kimbo Slice died at 42 Monday, creating a shockwave throughout the world of mixed martial arts.

The fighter born Kevin Ferguson had been hospitalized for undisclosed causes near his home in Coral Springs, Fla., according to reports. 

He was remembered as “a charismatic, larger-than-life personality” as well as “a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man,” by Scott Coker, president of Bellator, the organization Slice fought for at the time of his death.^tfw

Former employer UFC also issued a statement following Slice’s death. “While he will never be forgotten for his fighting style and transcendent image, Slice will also be remembered for his warm personality and commitment to his family and friends,” it stated.

UFC President Dana White tweeted simply, “RIP Kimbo.”^tfw

SB Nation's reporter Ariel Helwani, whose two-day ban from covering UFC was lifted by the organization earlier in the day, posted a moving tribute to Slice on Instagram.

“Can't believe one of the most important and recognizable faces in the history of this great sport is no longer with us,” Helwani wrote.

Roy Nelson – who defeated Slice in the first round on UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights” in 2009 and went on to win the competition that season – is one of many fighters to pay respect to Slice on social media.

“He entertained, he made our sport better & help cultivate more fans,” Nelson wrote on Facebook.^tfw^tfw^tfw^tfw