At Bellator 192, 'Baby Slice' will go to work outside the cage – and behind the camera

Growing up, Kevin Ferguson Jr.’s famous father used to offer him one consistent piece of advice over and over again: Go to school.

He wasn’t overly specific about what his son should study, but the man who became known as “Kimbo Slice,” the Internet brawler turned MMA fighter and boxer, was adamant his son should get some kind of education. It just wasn’t until he saw the photographs his son had shot that he understood what sort of education he should pursue.

According to Ferguson, who quickly got the nickname “Baby Slice” when he followed his father’s footsteps into the cage, it all happened on the set of “Scorpion King 3,” the direct-to-video action film in which his father played the role of “Zulu Kondo.”

“We were in Thailand and there was a photographer on the set,” Ferguson told MMAjunkie. “I had my phone and I was just sort of taking pictures with it, and when I showed him he told me that I had the eye. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I liked it.”

Encouraged by the praise, Ferguson kept taking photos with his phone. He shot landscapes, portraits, anything that caught his attention. Eventually, he showed his father.

“That’s when he kind of got it,” Ferguson said. “He always supported me in whatever I wanted to do, but when he saw it for himself, he was like, ‘OK, I see it.’”

The elder Ferguson got his son a decent camera after that. He also encouraged him to apply to a photography program, which he did. After sending his portfolio to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Ferguson was accepted and did two semesters before the lure of making money as both a photographer and a fighter pulled him away.

At Bellator 192, Ferguson will get a chance to combine his dueling passions. As the fighters (including some of his friends and training partners) battle in the cage, Ferguson will be on the outside, snapping shots of the action as a credentialed photographer.

It might make a nice addition to a portfolio of mostly landscapes posted to his Instagram account. And in some ways, he said, his experience in MMA will help him at cageside.

“I’m a fighter, so I love to shoot fights,” Ferguson said. “I feel like I understand how to capture those moments because I know what it’s like. I can kind of anticipate what might be about to happen next.”

And while he doesn’t want to give up fighting to pursue photography as his sole occupation just yet, it is in his long-term plans once his fighting days are over.

Plus, when you’re carrying around a nickname like “Baby Slice,” it doesn’t hurt to have an extra dimension with which to distinguish yourself from your famous father – not that he’s trying to hide from his lineage or the expectations that come with it.

“I don’t mind being known as Kimbo Slice’s son,” Ferguson said. “That’s who I am. I accept that responsibility. I’m taking over the Team Kimbo name and legacy, and I love that. But I also enjoy showing that I’m not just a fighter.”

For more on Bellator 192, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Source: MMA Junkie

Kimbo Slice the latest to get bobblehead treatment from Bellator – complete with a gold chain

Bellator is getting pretty good with this whole bobblehead thing.

The latest in the promotion’s ongoing fan giveaway series of collectibles will continue in January at Bellator 192, where the first 5,000 fans through the doors will receive a bobblehead of heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson.

And if you’re wondering if Kimbo will have a big gold chain that is just as amazing as Fedor’s sweater, why yes … he sure will.

The promotion announced its Kimbo bobblehead giveaway today for Bellator 192, which takes place Jan. 20 at The Forum in Los Angeles. The main card, featuring a welterweight title fight between champion Douglas Lima and Rory MacDonald, airs on what will then be the Prudential network following prelims on MMAjunkie.

The Kimbo Slice bobblead will be the fourth Bellator has released in recent months. It started with a Fedor Emelianenko collectible, followed by Royce Gracie and, most recently, Randy Couture. The Couture bobblehead came at Bellator 187 earlier this month in Pennsylvania.

Kimbo Slice died unexpectedly in June 2016 from heart failure. His death came less than four months after a TKO win over Dada 5000 at Bellator 149 in Houston, though after that fight the win was flipped to a no-contest when Slice tested positive for a banned steroid and an elevated testosterone level.

In his eight-fight MMA career, Slice fought four times for EliteXC, then fought on Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter” before having two fights in the UFC and another two for Bellator.

Slice’s son, Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr., currently is under contract with Bellator.

For more on “Bellator: Lima vs. MacDonald,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 187's Kevin 'Baby Slice' Ferguson Jr. no longer feeling pressure of Kimbo's legacy

Whether he liked to recognize it or not, Kevin Ferguson Jr. has been under the microscope since his first time stepping into the cage for an MMA fight. That hans’t changed much going into his third professional bout at Bellator 187, but Ferguson Jr. has learned the let go of the pressure.

Ferguson Jr. (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), or “Baby Slice,” is the son of the late Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, a famous street-brawler turned MMA fighter who competed for the likes of Bellator, UFC and EliteXC. Many second-generation fighters come into the sport with preconceived expectations, and Ferguson Jr. is no different.

Following his first pro win earlier this year and coming into a 165-pound catchweight fight with Fred Freeman (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at Friday’s Bellator 187 event, which takes place at 3Arena in Dublin and airs via tape-delay on Spike, Ferguson Jr. said he’s finally settling into a comfort zone.

“Definitely (the pressure is gone),” Ferguson Jr. told MMAjunkie. “You’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to push yourself if you want to be in this sport, and that’s what I’ve learned. Hard work, it pays off. I’ve just got to maintain it and not lose focus.”

Prior to his pro debut, Ferguson Jr. said it was important to him to follow in the footsteps of his late father and carry on his legacy. He still wants to do that but is aware it’s not a goal that’s quickly accomplished. There are many hurdles to a typical MMA career, and Ferguson Jr. experienced one already by losing his first pro fight.

Ferguson Jr., 25, bounced back in his sophomore outing at Bellator 179 in May, though. He earned a first-round TKO of Darryal Griffin, and getting that victory made him realize that climbing the top of the sport is going to be a long and difficult journey.

It also motivated him, though. Ferguson Jr. admitted his work ethic was not where it should have been off the bat. He’s had many takeaways from his early ups and downs, though, and said at this point he’s 100 percent committed to becoming elite.

“My first fight, I was just learning,” Ferguson Jr. said. “I didn’t really know everything. I was just in the sport and having fun with it. Now I’m taking it serious. I’m putting my all into it. I understand when you work hard, it pays off. It’s more the gym part: going to the gym more, pushing myself more and training. Mentally, I’m ready. But now I’m ready mentally and physically.”

At this point in his career, Ferguson Jr. said it’s all about growing and getting better as a fighter. He trains with a solid crew at Team Bodyshop in California, but with less than 10 minutes of overall cage time to his credit, there’s still a lot he hasn’t yet experienced.

Ferguson Jr. said he will take as quick a victory as Freeman gives him at Bellator 187, but he wouldn’t mind a longer fight to display his improvements since his previous bout six months ago.

“The main goal is to go in there and get that ‘W,’” Ferguson Jr. said. “But I also want to do things. I want to show off what I’ve been working on. I want to beat this guy up, cut him up. I want to work on the things we’ve worked on. It’s fun to have a knockout, but it’s always good to showcase your skills.”

After dropping his debut then rallying in his second fight, Ferguson Jr. said he hopes Bellator 187 marks the beginning of a long run of success in the sport. He said he’s doing all the right things in and out of the gym to thrive, and with less pressure on his shoulders than he had from the outset. The plan now is to go on a long winning streak, and “Baby Slice” doesn’t view Freeman as the man to stop him.

“I’m 1-1 and on a one-fight winning streak,” Ferguson Jr. said. “I want at least to get to 10 or eight. That’s the goal, for sure.”

For more on Bellator 187, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Today in MMA History: Seth Petruzelli KO'd Kimbo Slice, and EliteXC went down with him


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Nine wins, four losses, winless in two UFC appearances, owner of a haircut that seemed like it was designed to piss off your dad’s barber. That was Seth Petruzelli before he was called upon to fight Internet sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson on Oct. 4, 2008.

To say he was unknown to all but hardcore fans would be giving hardcore fans too much credit. He’d never won a fight on anything that might qualify as a big stage. His only victory over a notable name had come against Dan Severn, who was 45 and participating in his 74th pro fight when he dropped a decision to Petruzelli in 2004.

Petruzelli showed up to “EliteXC: Heat” in Sunrise, Fla., thinking that he’d fight Aaron Rosa on the prelims. How could he have known then that he was one small facial laceration away from his shot at a specific brand of fame, or that he was about to introduce himself to a network TV audience of more than 4 million people in a fight that would somehow, in some way, bring down an entire promotion?

If you didn’t live through it, you almost wouldn’t think it possible that Slice was as big a deal as he was back then while only having three professional MMA fights to his credit. In fairness, he’d won them all. In the interest of total accuracy, none of them had quieted the chorus of MMA heads who dubbed him an overhyped neophyte under the protection of a boxing promoter who had learned the value of careful target selection.

The words “viral video sensation” were still new to the culture when Slice became one. In street fight videos that popped up first on a porn site before spreading to the entire Internet, he battered one would-be tough guy after another, dropping fools in backyards and boat salvage yards.

By 2007, he’d drawn the eye of boxing promoter Gary Shaw, who seemed to fall so in love with Slice’s charisma that he was willing to work around his relative lack of skills. After Slice choked out former boxing champ Ray Mercer in a Cage Fury fight in Atlantic City, he went right to work against a series of hand-picked opponents in EliteXC. First it was Bo Cantrell, then an aging and out of shape “Tank” Abbott, and then a network TV main event bout against James Thompson, whose bulbous cauliflower ear exploded on impact live on CBS in February 2008.

By the fall, Slice was a household name with the kind of instant, polarizing notoriety that was newly possible in the Internet age. While UFC President Dana White wrote him off as nothing more than the “toughest guy at the barbecue,” Shaw pumped up his fame and invited comparisons to Mike Tyson.

“I’ve been to a high-class steakhouse with Kimbo and I’ve seen it,” Shaw said in 2008. “People, not just the young kids, all stand up and say, ‘Kimbo! Hey, there’s Kimbo!’ You could take most of the best fighters in the world and have them walk into a place like that and the maître d would say, ‘OK, we’ll have a table for you in 40 minutes.’ Kimbo is a superstar right now, and he’s only going to get bigger.”

EliteXC entered October with a plan to push Slice to new heights, using a name from the old days.

Ken Shamrock was 44 and riding a sharply downward trending line when he showed up in Florida to fight Slice. After ending his UFC run with back-to-back TKO losses to Tito Ortiz, he dropped a fight to Robert Berry in Cage Rage, bringing his losing skid to five straight fights.

He looked for all the world like a fighter whose last good days were in the rearview mirror, but he still had the name. He still was Ken Shamrock, and that still would draw viewers on CBS, especially when he was presented as the old school taking on the new.

But Shamrock soon proved difficult to work with. He became upset with the EliteXC promoters once he learned Andrei Arlovski would make $500,000 to fight Roy Nelson on the undercard. That the purse was paid not by EliteXC, but instead by the Affliction MMA promoters, didn’t seem to matter to Shamrock. It was the principle of the thing.

Shamrock’s gripes about pay were sufficiently well-known that when word spread he’d been cut by a clash of heads while grappling on the morning of the fight, suspicion set in quickly. Had the ex-WWE wrestler pulled a fast one on them? Did his resentment boil over into sabotage?

Shamrock later would swear up and down that the cut was legitimate, though unfortunate. Some EliteXC employees seemed unconvinced, but the problem of the moment was salvaging the main event. People had bought tickets to see Slice. Viewers on CBS were tuning in for him. The Internet brawler couldn’t not brawl. Something had to be done.

Frank Shamrock, the former UFC champion and Ken’s adopted brother, offered to forego his commentating duties for the night in order to save the day. So what if he was nowhere near heavyweight and had been busy partying rather than training in the lead-up to the big night? He was always up for a fight, and somebody had to do it.

EliteXC officials decided instead to look for a warm body at the right weight. The only other heavyweight fight on the card was the Arlovski-Nelson bout, which EliteXC wasn’t about to touch for a variety of reasons. But there was that one light heavyweight scrap on the prelims. Petruzelli vs. Rosa, now that was a fight you could scratch without much trouble. Both men readily offered their services, but it was Petruzelli who got the chance to change his life – and he didn’t need to be asked twice.

As Slice walked to the cage that night, commentator Mauro Ranallo did his best to put a positive spin on this turn of events, hyping Slice’s willingness to “take on all comers.” The tale of the tape graphic listed Slice’s discipline as “brawling,” while Petruzelli’s style was described as “karate.”

The crowd showered Petruzelli with boos during Jimmy Lennon Jr.’s introduction. Slice, introduced as the “undefeated, heavy-handed phenom, the popular legend and street-fighting star of the Internet,” got a steady stream of cheers from his fellow Floridians. Referee Troy Waugh brought the fighters to the center of the cage and implored them to give “the millions of fans that’s watching this fight the fight that they want to see.”

“And it’s about to get serious,” commentator Gus Johnson said as the fight began.

Seconds later, Slice plodded forward and lunged directly into the jab of a retreating Petruzelli. It was a nothing punch, just something thrown out behind the front kick to check Slice’s advance in the bout’s opening moments. If you weren’t paying close attention, you could have missed it.

But then there was Slice, pitching face-forward onto the canvas as Petruzelli stepped around him and began raining down more right hands, only these were serious. These had force and confidence behind them. Slice turned to face them and got blasted with more blows, one opening a cut above his left eye as his body went briefly stiff.

Waugh jumped in then, waving the fight off as Slice reached for his leg in a desperate takedown attempt. By the time Waugh had explained to him how he got there, Petruzelli had already made several victory laps around the cage.

“The most incredible victory in the history of mixed martial arts!” shouted Johnson.

Not that everyone was happy about it at the time. An enduring image after the bout was EliteXC executive Jared Shaw, the son of the boxing promoter, screaming at cageside about what he perceived as punches to the back of Slice’s head. His histrionic reaction neatly conveyed what all the suits at EliteXC must have been thinking just then. Their star had just imploded in 14 seconds, knocked out by a nobody light heavyweight from the prelims. Now what were they supposed to do?

Things didn’t improve in the days that followed. Petruzelli went on a radio show and suggested that he was paid extra in exchange for promising not to take Slice down and test his non-existent ground game. He later would attempt to walk those comments back, but the damage was done. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations opened an investigation. The UFC president declared it “(expletive) illegal.”

While EliteXC promoters eventually were cleared of any official wrongdoing, the brand was damaged beyond repair. They’d put all their hopes in Slice, and when the bubble burst it brought the whole show down with it. EliteXC never would promote another MMA event.

Slice jumped to the UFC, where White, the man who had claimed over and over again that he absolutely “sucked,” offered him a chance to prove himself on “The Ultimate Fighter.”

Petruzelli’s next fight was back on the small circuit, where he TKO’d Chris Baten at Art of Fighting 4 the following summer. He eventually got back in the UFC and lost two straight before being cut once again. He ended his career with a brief run in Bellator before transitioning to professional wrestling.

Slice and Shamrock did eventually meet in the cage in 2015, but that cage belonged to Bellator. Even then there was controversy, with some fans claiming the fight was fixed, an accusation that sent Shamrock into another of his trademark fits of rage. A year later, Slice died of heart failure in Florida. Even Petruzelli felt the force of the sudden loss.

“I give all my credit to that fight,” he said in 2016. “I’m under no delusions thinking that I would still be huge if it wasn’t for the Kimbo fight. I know that’s what made my career and my name. I’m proud of that and happy for it. I definitely have a lot to thank that fight for, that’s for sure.”

“Today in MMA History” is an MMAjunkie series created in association with MMA History Today, the social media outlet dedicated to reliving “a daily journey through our sport’s history.”

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Source: MMA Junkie