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Kimbo Slice returns to MMA with Bellator

Somewhere in the thickets of that beard is

Somewhere in the thickets of that beard is Kimbo Slice, prior to his loss by second-round TKO to Matt Mitrione at UFC 113. (May 8, 2010) Credit: UFC Photo

Once the biggest name in backyard brawls uploaded to YouTube, Kimbo Slice once made a go of it in mixed martial arts.

Well, let's make that twice now.

Slice, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, returns to MMA with a multi-fight deal with Bellator, the promotion announced Friday.

Slice, now 40, was an undersized and under-skilled heavyweight when he competed on the UFC's reality show "The Ultimate Fighter" and later in two actual fights in the UFC.

Yet there was nothing small about the audience Slice brought with him. His season on "TUF" set ratings record for the series, which then aired on Spike TV. More than six million people tuned in to his "TUF" fight against Roy Nelson in 2010.

"Anyone who has been to a Kimbo Slice fight has felt a thick, electric, tension in the air," Bellator president Scott Coker said. "The man has a proven knack for evoking excitement every time he steps inside a cage, and that fits perfectly with the kind of fights we aim to put together."

Slice is expected to make his first Bellator appearance later this year.

Slice (4-2) began in EliteXC, a now defunct promotion. Perhaps his biggest highlight in MMA was a knockout loss to Seth Petruzelli in 14 seconds.

"I haven't got my fill yet," said Slice, who went 7-0 as a boxer after leaving MMA In 2010. "Whoever steps up to the plate, they got to bring it. I'm coming to get it."

New York Sports