Update: TUF Takes ‘Slice’

By Sherdog.com Staff Jun 2, 2009
“Kimbo Slice” will be among the 16 heavyweight fighters to join the 10th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which starts shooting this week in Las Vegas.

"He just really wants to fight right now," Slice's manager, Mike Imber, told Sherdog.com.

UFC President Dana White confirmed the news with Yahoo Sports on Monday. Slice appeared on White’s latest video blog in advance of WEC 41 this Sunday in Las Vegas.

“It’s an opportunity for me to prove myself, being a mixed martial artist coming from the backyard, coming from being a street fighter and all,” Slice said. “It’s time for me to step my game up. I’m coming here to kick ass and take names and to continue to feed myself and my family.”

Slice, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, was released from the Pro Elite organization on May 13, according to a recent SEC filing.

The 34-year-old father of six also opted to pass on a potential multi-fight deal with Strikeforce, which had obtained an option to purchase the bearded Internet phenomenon’s contract from Pro Elite last February.

Ferguson’s management told Sherdog.com that the promotion was offering less than the fighter’s Pro Elite contract had stipulated (Slice was paid $175,000 and $500,000 for two of his last three bouts), though both parties split on amicable terms.

This cleared the way for negotiations with Zuffa, which owns the UFC, to cash in on one of the sport’s fastest rising stars ever.

Though TUF hopefuls sign undisclosed contracts and make a reported $5,000 per each fight they finish (submission or stoppage) on the series, there is little doubt Ferguson won’t be afforded a different deal on the show. Slice is, by far, the highest-profiled candidate to ever make the show that prides itself on harvesting undiscovered talent.

Ferguson, who earned fame from the brutal backyard beatdowns he dished out over the Internet, fought three times for Pro Elite under its EliteXC banner. Two of those bouts were main-event attractions featured on CBS and are the No. 1 and No. 3 most-watched fights in U.S. history, topping off at 7.3 million viewers.

Last June, Slice (3-1) became the second mixed martial artist to make the cover of ESPN the Magazine after UFC superstar Chuck Liddell.

White has been critical of Ferguson’s unmatched notoriety, as well as his lack of fighting ability.

“It should be interesting, given some of the things I’ve said about him,” White told Yahoo Sports Monday.

Slice addressed the criticism from the UFC boss.

“DW can say whatever the [expletive] he wants,” Slice said. “The greatest revenge, to my knowledge, is success. I don’t care about the s--t talking.”

The move also squashes rumors that Slice was set to embark on a career in professional boxing. Gary Shaw, who promoted Ferguson under the EliteXC banner, was among those that made overtures for the slugger’s services in the squared circle.

Slice will have much to prove. He rebounds off a 14-second loss last October at the hands of Seth Petruzelli, a light heavyweight who was pulled up from the undercard after Ken Shamrock was deemed medically ineligible to fight that same day.

This story was updated at 12:52 ET on June 2 to include comments from Slice.
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