by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson was famous before signing on for the Spike TV reality show “The Ultimate Fighter.” He headlined fight cards on CBS and was paid high-end money for a mixed martial arts athlete. He had little to gain from going on TUF outside of respect and an opportunity to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“It was a good experience,” Kimbo told TapouT Radio about his reality television experience. “It was an amazing sacrifice for me.”
With the addition of Kimbo, The Ultimate Fighter 10 has seen record ratings. During his bout with Roy Nelson on episode three of this season 6.1 million viewers tuned in to see Nelson defeat Ferguson by TKO in the second round. Kimbo attributes his popularity to fans being able to relate to him.
“There’s something about me that everyone likes, like two million people,” said Ferguson. “I look at it like they can probably relate to me compared to all the other fighters because all the other fighters aren’t bringing in those numbers, yet Kimbo Slice is.
“I just be myself. I don’t try to be like someone that I’m not. I just be myself and they know what I’m bringing to the table. They know I’m coming to the table to fight,” he added. “I’m not coming to roll on the ground. They know I’m coming to knock a dude out or get knocked out. I’m coming to knock someone the (expletive) out and people know that.”
A controversial figure due to his street fighting background, Kimbo has been criticized since making his professional mixed martial arts debut, but the 35-year-old fighter has never claimed to be a top heavyweight. He only boasts a willingness to fight anyone.
Humbly comparing himself as a fighter to the competition, Ferguson stated, “More than half of those guys are way better than me, have way more skills. They’ve been in the game way longer, and I respect every last one of the mixed martial arts fighters. Just the nature of it, and what they have to do and the sacrifices and commitment that you have to put in just to be on that level.
“Here I am, a guy with just one dimension, one-dimensional, who out of respect for the nature of the game tried to learn. I’m trying to learn this mixed martial arts (expletive). This (expletive) ain’t easy. It’s hard,” commented the Florida resident. “It’s hard to become multi-dimensional after being so used to being one-dimensional all your life. Now you have to become versatile and learn all these different things and be prepared for all kinds of different things that’s coming at you and still try to fight your game. That’s just the ultimate sport right there, and I’m part of it.”
Rumored to be fighting in December, presumably on the finale, Ferguson wouldn’t divulge his opponent.
“I’m always hearing my name with other people’s names. ‘You’re going to fight Brock (Lesnar). You’re going to fight Seth (Petruzelli) again. You’re going to fight Houston Alexander.’ I don’t care who I fight. It’s all up to the matchmakers,” he said.
“They’re going to make the matches and match them up well where the crowd is pleased that came to be entertained. I leave it up to those guys, but one thing the matchmakers do know is Kimbo Slice is coming to fight. I’m coming to get knocked the (expletive) out or knock someone out, and that’s what it’s about to me.”