The sports and hip-hop world lost a literal giant in street fighter, actor and mixed martial artist Kevin Ferguson, aka Kimbo Slice. The Bahamian born Florida native came to prominence as an internet sensation knocking out opponents in backyard brawls before joining the UFC for a time. He was hospitalized in Margate, FL Monday night and later passed away due to undisclosed causes. He was 42 years old.
In hearing of the news I first thought of his famous first fight, where he left “Big D” Byrd’s eye looking like an Arby’s sandwich. But my mind lingered more on a clip of Slice having a conversation with actor and martial artist Michael Jai White on the set of their 2009 movie Blood and Bone. It still stands out to me because it was a moment where you saw him humbled and willing to learn more about the one thing everyone knew he could do well–punch the shit out of somebody. He watched in awe as Jai White demonstrated how technique was key to executing the right punch. It wasn’t about just power or even speed.
“I’m going straight, I’m not telegraphing…if you can’t move your hand out of the way fast enough, you’ll never move your face fast enough.”
The advice didn’t matter for their movie match-up, where Slice’s character JC gets his ass whooped in a prison bathroom.
White included the clip of them on the set when he Tweeted his condolences:
So while most people will remember the chiseled brawler who devastated his opponents (and rightfully so), I will always connect with this moment where he was simply a man who knew there was always something to learn, even when you’re considered the best. RIP Kimbo Slice.