This Sunday, Pittsburg Steeler’s wide receiver Antonio Brown will pay tribute to two Southern Florida athletes in the wake of their deaths this year when he plays in Miami.
Brown, a native of Miami himself, will be putting a spotlight on MMA sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson and MLB pitcher Jose Fernandez as he had custom cleats made to wear during the football game.
— Antonio Brown (@AntonioBrown) October 14, 2016
Fernandez was a pitcher for the Miami Marlins since 2013 until he died this September. On Sept. 25, Fernandez was found along with two other victims following a boating accident off Miami Beach, Florida. Fernandez was 24 years old.
Ferguson died this last June due to heart failure. On June 6, Ferguson was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He died in the hours shortly after arriving. Ferguson was 42 years old.
“Kimbo Slice” was among the most popular fighters in MMA history. He began his fighting career as a YouTube sensation, being featured in videos posted online of him taking part in street fights in the early 2000’s — becoming one of the first viral online video stars.
Ferguson got his professional fighting career started in 2007 under the now-defunct EliteXC banner. By 2008, EliteXC fell into bankruptcy and Ferguson left the promotion with a 3-1 record, defeating the likes of Tank Abbott and James Thompson.
Ferguson became a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 10 heavyweight season under coaches Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. He was eliminated in the first round when he was matched against Roy Nelson in a record-breaking episode of the UFC reality show.
His UFC career was short-lived, and after spending three years in professional boxing, he made his MMA return to Bellator. Once again, Ferguson went back to setting television rating records, first in his fight against Ken Shamrock and then his bout with Dada 5000.
It was only four months after the latter fight that Ferguson died. Information later came out that Ferguson needed a heart transplant; something he learned only days before his death.