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MMA legend Kimbo Slice dies in Florida at age 42

Veteran mixed martial artist and street-fighting legend Kevin Ferguson died Monday night at a hospital in South Florida.

Ferguson, who was known by the name Kimbo Slice, was 42. American Top Team, the gym where he trained, confirmed the news with a statement on social media.

“The ATT Family and South Florida community lost a legend today,” the statement read. “RIP Kimbo.”

Ferguson was hospitalized Monday night near his home in Coral Springs, Florida, according to reports.

Ferguson last fought on a Bellator MMA card in February, when he knocked out Dhaffir “Dada 5000” Harris in the third round. The bout was later ruled a no contest after Ferguson tested positive for an anabolic steroid and had an elevated testosterone ratio.

Ferguson was scheduled to fight James Thompson on a Bellator card July 16 in London.

“We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating and untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family,” a statement from Bellator president Scott Coker read. “One of the most popular MMA fighters ever, Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport.

“Outside of the cage he was a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man. His loss leaves us all with extremely heavy hearts, and our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Ferguson family and all of Kimbo’s friends, fans and teammates.”

Ferguson rose to fame through YouTube videos of his street fights. He eventually signed with EliteXC, for whom he went 3-1 and headlined two cards on CBS, the first two MMA cards on network TV.

He then appeared on Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter” and was eliminated from the competition by Las Vegan Roy Nelson.

Ferguson went 1-1 in official UFC fights before stepping away from MMA in 2010. He pursued opportunities in entertainment and professional boxing, going 7-0, before returning to the cage in 2015.

UFC issued the following statement Monday night:

“UFC is saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Ferguson, known to fans around the world as Kimbo Slice.

“Slice will forever be a part of UFC history as a contestant on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2009, and for having fought twice inside the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter Finale and UFC 113. He carried himself as a true professional during his time in our organization.

“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.

“UFC offers its sincere condolences to Slice’s family, friends and teammates at American Top Team.”

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj

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