Kimbo Slice, whose popular street brawling videos on YouTube led to a widely followed career in professional mixed martial arts, died on Monday in Margate, Fla. He was 42.
His promotion company, Bellator, and his martial arts team, American Top Team, announced his death but did not give a cause.
The police in Coral Springs, Fla., where Slice lived, said they had received word on Monday that he had been taken to Northwest Medical Center in Margate.
Kimbo Slice was born Kevin Ferguson on Feb. 8, 1974, in the Bahamas. A former strip-club bouncer and bodyguard for a pornography company, he found his calling in the early 2000s, when he earned several thousand dollars fighting in a backyard boxing match in Miami.
A friend put a video of the fight on a pornographic website, and millions of people watched it.
Slice went on to become a YouTube sensation, a knockout artist who attracted internet fame for his bare-knuckle brawling. For one video, a man was paid $100 to take a punch in the stomach from him.
“Kimbo is tailor-made for the age we’re living in,” Adam Swift, the editor ofmmapayout.com, a website devoted to the business of mixed martial arts, told The New York Times in 2008. “We’re an internet-driven culture, a reality-driven culture. He has a natural charisma and a marketable look.”
His signature look — gold teeth, ample beard, bald head — made him instantly recognizable to fight fans. He became so well known as an internet brawler that he transitioned into organized mixed martial arts, becoming one of the sport’s most famous professionals if not the most accomplished.
Slice appeared on the reality television show “The Ultimate Fighter” and fought two official bouts in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, going 1-1. Though he packed a powerful punch, his technical ability and wrestling were generally judged to be below the standards of the sport’s best.
After a five-year absence, he returned to the ring last June and defeated 51-year-old Ken Shamrock. A subsequent win in February over Dhafir Harris, known as Dada 5000, was overturned when Slice tested positive for a steroid. He had been scheduled to fight again against James Thompson on July 16 in London.
Despite the violence in the ring, Slice displayed an easy manner and sense of humor outside of it. On his late-night talk show in 2008, Jimmy Kimmel asked him about a fight in which he had badly damaged an opponent’s ear. He genially acknowledged that he had gone out of his way to attack the ear. Why? “’Cause it was flapping.”
Scott Coker, president of the Mixed Martial Arts organization, called Slice “a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man.”
His death brought reaction from many of the biggest names in the sport, including the U.F.C. heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic:
The Associated Press reported that Slice is survived by six children.