November 9, 2007
Kimbo Slice escapes the web
By JOSE RODRIGUEZ -- Sun Media
He may be the biggest Internet star to never appear in a porn flick. Kimbo Slice, the web’s undisputed champ of bare-knuckle backyard fights, has amassed a long resume knocking the Chiclets out of Miami street brawlers on YouTube.
Promoters say his fights on the ‘Net have received more than 10 million downloads. But this spring, the menacing man who wears a thick-link gold chain with a clenched fist pendant, left the underground fight scene to take a serious stab at mixed-martial arts.
Most noted for his standup, Slice made his MMA debut in June submitting former WBO heavyweight champ Ray Mercer with a guillotine. Slice, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, will take his perfect 1-0 record to the cage tonight in EliteXC: Renegade in Corpus Christi, Tex. against the 10 and 10 Bo Cantrell.
The 6-ft.-2, 240 lbs. heavyweight says he’s out to prove his first win was no fluke. “I’m for real at this and not short term, but long term,” says the 33-year-old MMA rookie. “I am not a novelty act. I mean business.
“There are critics who don’t think I can do this, but I am going to prove them all wrong.” Looking like mix between Mr. T and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, the former bodyguard for Internet porn producers has been training with MMA legend Bas Rutten and has been spotted at Randy Couture’s gym in Vegas.
Longtime boxing promoter Gary Shaw, who is putting on the event, said after seeing Slice’s underground fight’s on the ‘Net, he sent two representatives to Florida.
“I sent them with a cheque and I said don’t get on that plane back to California until you have his signature on the contract,” said Shaw. “Don’t call me until it’s done.”
It took two days, but Shaw’s crew was able to get Slice to sign.
“What I really love about Kimbo is his work ethic and his attitude,’’ Shaw said. “He has the mentality of a real fighter. He doesn’t care who he fights. He doesn’t care about weight, height, if they’re southpaw or orthodox, he’s here to fight.”
Shaw, who has promoted or co-promoted some of the biggest boxing matches in recent history including Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson and Felix Trinidad vs. Fernando Vargas, says Slice has natural fighting ability.
“I think he is the first fighter to go from the street to elite,” says Shaw.
““I do believe Kimbo has the ability to be the heavyweight world champion in boxing, as I do believe he has the ability under (trainer) Bas (Rutten) to be the world champion in MMA in probably several weight classes.’’
Tonight’s event will feature Nick Diaz and KJ Noons in a lightweight title match. The lightweight division for EliteXC is 160 lbs. — five pounds heavier than other MMA leagues.
Tonight’s fight is available in Canada through The Fight Network.
For the latest in mixed-martial-arts news log on to The Scrapyard blog at www.calgarysun.com