Sherdog.com is reporting that Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson was released from his Pro Elite contract as of May 13th, and is now officially a free agent. Ferguson’s manager, Mike Imber, also stated that the fighter could not come to terms on a deal with Strikeforce, who had the option to purchase his contract.
“We had an option to exercise Kimbo’s contract from Pro Elite,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said. “Basically out
of all those fighters we took, he was the only one that we didn’t grab
–- it was an option to take. With that option, there was an expiration date on it.
“In the very beginning, we tried to have dialogue with them about trying to make the deal a little more realistic and we just couldn’t work it out,” Coker continued. “At the end of the day, if we would have worked it out, we would have exercised the option,” said Coker.
Ferguson was the star fighter for EliteXC, owned by ProElite, and earned $500,000 in his last fight for the organization for his 14-second defeat last October at the hands of Seth Petruzelli. Petruzelli, a light heavyweight, was a last minute substitute for Ken Shamrock, who was not cleared to fight after suffering a cut above his eye while sparring earlier in the day. Imber noted that money was a key issue for the deal not being made.
“They wanted us to fight for less,” he said. “I wouldn’t say dramatically [less], but there were just a lot of moving parts in the contract. Once you start moving one, they all kind of got moved around. It just didn’t work out, I guess.”
As for whether we’d ever see Ferguson fight for Strikeforce, Coker stated that “if he really wants to fight in MMA, then we’ll let him fight for us. Why not? He was an Internet phenomenon that went mainstream on CBS and Showtime and the support he was given last year really propelled his popularity. Why not put him back in the mix? We just need to talk about a different arrangement, that’s all.”
A report in the Sun-Sentinel reported on Sunday that Ferguson would be heading into the boxing ring next, at least according to Gary Shaw. The report stated that Ferguson was training in a private Fort Lauderdale gym and may fight as early as July 11. When asked about Ferguson’s future plans, Imber said that he couldn’t give any updates right now, but that it would be impressive and shocking.
“I can tell you his MMA career is far from over,” Imber said. “We have a bunch of other options –- Japan and others. Now that we’re actually free to explore them, we’re doing it.”
When asked if Ferguson would accept UFC President Dana White’s invitation for Ferguson to appear as a candidate on a future season of the The Ultimate Fighter he responded, “That’s not an option right now.”