File Photo: Sherdog.com
Kimbo Slice’s short time in the Octagon could be coming to an end, according to UFC President Dana White.
White announced Saturday that the 36-year-old former Internet sensation and “Ultimate Fighter” season 10 veteran might not get another assignment with the promotion following his second-round technical knockout defeat to Matt Mitrione at UFC 113 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
“That’s probably Kimbo’s last fight in the UFC,” said White of Slice’s sixth professional bout. “Kimbo made it farther than I thought he would.”
Asked again later during the post-fight press conference about his immediate plans with Slice, White said the Bahamian-born fighter would be released by the promotion. It remains to be seen if Slice’s drawing power, which appears to be substantial, will give the American Top Team Fighter a reprieve.
Slice, who’s real name is Kevin Ferguson, has been an anomaly of the sport. His participation in a handful of video-taped backyard brawls went viral on the Internet in 2005; Slice was plucked from Internet stardom by the now-defunct EliteXC promotion in 2007.
Following victories against Bo Cantrell, David Abbott and James Thompson, Slice was stopped in 14 seconds by light heavyweight Seth Petruzelli at EliteXC “Heat” in 2008. Still, fascination surrounding the mystique-laden Slice, who appeared on the cover of ESPN the Magazine in June 2008, continued to grow.
In 2009, White offered Slice a spot on the UFC’s Spike TV reality series vehicle “The Ultimate Fighter.” Slice lost on the show, but drew the network its highest ratings ever for original programming. Slice followed that up with a decision victory over a tentative Houston Alexander live on Spike TV last December to record ratings.
Slice, who’d had limited previous training in the sport, joined the established American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., prior to the Alexander bout. However, Slice appeared easily fatigued and unequipped to handle Mitrione’s offense on Saturday.
“He came in. He couldn’t be a nicer guy. He took this fight serious, trained, went after it,” said White. “His first fight wasn’t the Youtube fights you saw, but he won, won that fight, deserved another fight in the UFC and he lost.”
Meanwhile, an ecstatic Mitrione, who appeared alongside Slice on the reality series, exhibited more potential on Saturday to grow in the promotion than did his high-profile opponent.
“It was competitive, it was fun,” said the 31-year-old Mitrione. “He slammed me like 25 times by the end of the first round. It was good. It was a lot of fun.”
Mitrione, who once played for the New York Giants and the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL before parlaying into MMA in 2009, was composed about his performance.
“I don’t know if I sent a message out to the heavyweight division,” said Mitrione. “I think I have to do a little bit more before I can send any kind of message. I’m only 2-0 as a pro. I’ve got a lot of growing to do.”