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The problem of adaptive fuzzy control for a class of large-scale, time-delayed systems with unknown nonlinear dead-zone is discussed here. Based on the principle of variable structure control, a design scheme of adaptive, decentralized, variable structure control is proposed. The approach removes the conditions that the dead-zone slopes and boundaries are equal and symmetric, respectively. In addition, it does not require that the assumptions that all parameters of the nonlinear dead-zone model and the lumped uncertainty are known constants. The adaptive compensation terms of the approximation errors are adopted to minimize the influence of modeling errors and parameter estimation errors. By theoretical analysis, the closed-loop control system is proved to be semiglobally uniformly ultimately bounded, with tracking errors converging to zero. Simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach.