Kimbo Slice started his fighting career in the backyards of his Miami hometown. In 2003, Slice started streaming videos of himself fighting opponents in unsanctioned street fights. Through the internet, mainly YouTube, the circulation of his videos brought him the popularity needed to escalate him into professional fighting.
Slice began training at the Freestyle Fighting Academy, and intended to focus on bare-knuckle boxing, or dirty boxing. This is where he became interested in MMA fighting. Slice made his debut against Bo Cantrell in November of 2007. He defeated Cantrell in 19 seconds and was signed by Elite XC. Slice went 3-1(2 wins by knockout and one by submission, in Elite XC and only one of his fights lasted over a minute long. 3 of the 4 fights in Elite XC were the headlining fights of the night.
After Elite XC went bankrupt in 2008, it was rumored that Slice would be signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC. UFC president Dana White stated that Slice would be offered a contract if he was able to win the Ultimate Fighter, a competition show that pitted the best prospects against each other with the winner earning a guaranteed fighting contract. Slice accepted the challenge and debuted on the show in 2009. He went on to beat Houston Alexander by unanimous decision in the finals, earning himself a contract. In his second fight in the UFC, Slice was defeated by Matt Mitrione by knockout in the second round. Dana White announced that this would be Slice’s last fight with the company and was released a few days later.
In 2011 Slice began his professional boxing career. He wet 7-0 over the span of a year and a half, with 6 wins by knockout and 1 by decision. In 2015 Slice decided to go back to MMA fighting and was signed by Bellator. He beat Ken Shamrock 2 minutes and 22 seconds into the first round, in his returning fight. On February 19, 2016 Slice was scheduled to face Dada 5000, another former street fighter turned MMA fighter. Throughout the fight, both competitors looked exhausted as Slice landed the majority of his wild punches. Slice was able to knockout Dada in the third round. After the fight, Dada collapsed in the middle of the ring and was immediately taken to a hospital and placed on life-support. The fight was viewed by 2.5 million households, breaking the Bellator viewing record of 2.4 million from the Slice vs. Shamrock fight. In the aftermath of the fight, it was found that Slice tested positive for a banned substance. This caused the fight to be a no-decision.
On Friday June 3rd 2016, Slice was admitted into Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Florida with heart failure. He was awaiting a heart transplant when he passed away. His coach Mike Brown stated that Slice had not been healthy for a while and was considering backing out of his next fight with Bellator on July 16th.Kimbo Slice should be remembered for his underdog rise to success. The leap from street fighting to performing professional mixed-martial arts is no small feat, and Kimbo Slice was able to achieve success despite the fact he was in his mid-30s. His 5-2(1) isn’t that phenomenal, but the power of his rise to success is what makes his fights so interesting to watch.
Slice’s unique, unorthodox style of fighting and underdog persona is how he became a pop culture icon. No matter what Slice stayed true to who he was. His return to MMA fighting through Bellator is proof that he overcame adversity. After having a promising career with Elite XC, Dana White was quick to release Slice only after his first fight loss since The Ultimate Fighter. In Bellator, both of his fights broke viewing records for the company. The unfortunate part of the story is that Slice was starting to tap into the potential that was shown by the people who watched his YouTube videos. Kimbo Slice was 42 when he died, he survived by his long-time girlfriend Antionette Ray and his six children.