Kimbo Slice: The Personification Of The American Dream
By James Lee
Five years ago marked arguably the most controversial event in mixed martial arts history, as Bellator 149 saw Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock reignite their rivalry two decades later. However, the event has become mostly notorious for the bout between Kimbo Slice and Dada 5000.
The aftermath of the irregular contest saw Dada 5000 spend weeks fighting for his life after suffering a cardiac arrest and kidney failure, and the bout later determined a no-contest after Slice tested positive for nandrolone in a pre-fight drug test.
The event consequently amassed a severely negative tone within the community. That negativity quickly turned to sadness, however, as it was announced months later that Kimbo Slice had passed away due to heart failure.
On the anniversary of the event, it is important to forget that one night, and instead cherish the late combat legend, whose legacy is thankfully set in stone forever, and can fittingly be personified as the American dream.
Traditional martial artists could disagree and argue his street fighting did not represent pure martial arts. However, the attention he put on mixed martial arts as a sport for a decade cannot go unnoticed, as he is a significant reason behind the recent mainstream success.
Slice was one of the very first few examples of an internet sensation. Everybody had witnessed his street fighting videos on YouTube. That consequently provided him with the status to pursue a mixed martial arts career that fans were instantly invested in. Not the average route of a professional fighter, but similar in the sense that he fought to provide for his family.
Upon transitioning to licensed combat, he amassed hundreds of thousands of eyes onto his debut. A subsequent accumulation of successes over Tank Abbott and James Thompson during his time in EliteXC saw him become one of the most prominent figures in mixed martial arts despite his limited experience. That stint persuaded UFC President Dana White to offer him a role on ‘The Ultimate Fighter Season 10’ and the opportunity to compete for the UFC twice afterwards.
Nevertheless, Kimbo’s legacy can be seen by the dramatic impact his death had on the martial arts world. The messages of admiration that followed attest to how inspirational he was to those fanatic about combat. Not solely combat though, his story inspired anybody with a goal and little opportunity.
His story cannot be noted as anything different to that of a modern American dream. From rags to riches. From fighting on the streets to fighting in front of millions. A man who achieved a life of comfort for his children through his unorthodox, but auspicious actions.
So, on the fifth anniversary of his fight with Dada 5000, it is essential to recollect on his wider fighting legacy. The representation of a rare combat sports success story that shall permanently have a part in growing mixed martial arts in the mainstream.
Photo Credit: Getty Images