by RENALDO DORSETT

Set return to professional fighting after more than two years on the sidelines, Bahamian born Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson will return to the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) genre to face one of the pioneers of the sport.

Slice will face MMA legend and former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight Ken Shamrock at Bellator 138 on Saturday June 20 at the Scottrade Centre in St Louis, Missouri. The bout will be televised live on Spike TV.

It gives the fighters the opportunity to fulfil promises of a fight that was first scheduled to take place in 2008.

They were originally expected to to fight under the Elite XC promotion but Slice suffered an injury on the day of the fight

and was replaced by Seth Petruzelli.

At the press conference announcing the headline bout in the event, Slice said the opportunity to complete unfinished business against Shamrock was one of the reasons for his return.

“That was one of the reasons why I decided to come back to MMA. Close that door, close that gap.” he said.

“This is not a one-and-done for me. I’m here, man. I’m here to fight anybody in the heavyweight division. I’m not here to make friends. I’m not here to shake these guys’ hands. I’m here to throw and I’m here to fight.”

Slice, 41, has not competed in MMA since 2010 when he made the shift to professional boxing.

Even as a boxer, he has not fought since January 2013 when he beat Shane Tilyard via a second round knockout at the Entertainment Centre in New South Wales, Australia.

With the win, the 6ft 1in 234lb Slice improved to a 7-0 record since making the shift to professional boxing in 2011.

Six of his seven bouts have ended in knockouts, four in the first round.

His only fight to go to the judges was a unanimous decisionover Charles Hackmann.

In his boxing debut, Slice’s knockout punch sent James Wade flying through the ropes en route to the win.

Shamrock, the 51-year-old UFC Hall of Famer, is billed at 6ft 1in and 212lb and has compiled a 28-15-2 record with 23 wins by submission.

One of the most influential figures in the sport as it rose to popularity decades ago, Shamrock, in an interview with Mike Wellmann of Bleacher Report MMA, had strong words for Slice.

“I’ve always had one foot in, and one foot out. I’ve always wanted the opportunity to fight certain people.

“I’ve always had one foot in, waiting for these type of opportunities to come my way. This one did, and we definitely jumped on it.”

I’ve had time to really sit back, train hard, work hard, but let my body recuperate and recover, and it’s been a tremendous difference from when I was fighting six years ago, as opposed to what you will see on June 20. I am going to smash this guy and people are going to go ‘where did that come from?’”

Slice became an Internet sensation when his series of street fights became popular on Youtube.com.

He converted a career as a backyard street fighter into becoming one of the most sought after fighters in MMA history.

His career as an MMA fighter in the UFC was short lived however, limited to just two fights.

Slice lost his last MMA fight in 2010 to Matt Mitrione on the undercard of UFC 113 in Montreal, Canada.

He finished with an MMA record of 4-2.

Just days after the bout, UFC president Dana White announced that Slice had been dropped from the brand as one of its fighters and would no longer be featured at its events.

Slice began his professional MMA career in 2007 with a first-round submission win over Bo Cantrell in just 19 seconds.

His next fight was a first-round knockout over MMA legend Tank Abbott, this time in 43 seconds.

He got a third-round knockout of James Thompson and suffered his first professional defeat months later in a surprising first-round knockout loss to Petruzelli in just 14 seconds, a loss that many thought initiated the end of Elite XC.

After the brief but much-hyped stint in the world of MMA, Slice looked to capitalise once again on his notoriety, with an attempt at professional wrestling.

He was set to take on former sumo wrestler Shinichi Suzukawa in 2011, but was forced to withdraw due to injury.

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