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So, Dada 5000 and Kimbo Slice walk into a bar, and the bartender says…


The old fight game analogy — you’re standing on a corner and there’s a basketball game going on over there, a baseball game over here, a tennis match there, and over across the way there’s a fight…which do you watch? — is of course rigged. Everybody will watch a spontaneous street fight, in the same way they will gawk at accidents on the highway. The spell of daily life is fractured by something as drastic as a fight. It’s just that simple. In split seconds we are drawn to disaster, not deft ball handling.

In some ways, that’s the crude understanding of Bellator’s latest bit of matchmaking, pairing the erstwhile back alley brawler Kimbo Slice with his doppelgänger, Dada 5000 (real name Dhafir Harris). YouTube was Kimbo’s hub when he became the king of bare-knuckle throw-downs in the backyards of South Florida, which we learned back in EliteXC’s day is transferrable to broadcast television. Only thing you really need to know about Dada 5000 is that he looks kind of like Kimbo, and he fights kind of like Kimbo, and he doesn’t like Kimbo — and if you say he’s trying to be like Kimbo he snarls and gets to shouting like an evangelist.

And now they are dragging the backyard into a sanctioned cage in Texas, which takes place on February 19.

This fight isn’t for purists, and it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the so-called meritocracy of deep rosters. In fact, when they made the announcement at Bellator 145, Dada 5000 came strolling out like some kind of superhuman publicity stunt. If Kurt Angle hadn’t just dangled a carrot with Ken Shamrock before announcing Royce Gracie vs. Shamrock III, the spectacle might crashed into our living rooms like a piano from nine stories.

So who the hell is this guy? And what’s with the deal with the…electric appliance-like nickname?

"My name is Dhafir," Dada 5000 told MMA Fighting. "A lot of people could not pronounce Dhafir. They would say everything else except for Dhafir. So I made it easy for the world. Da Da. Dhafir…Da Da."

Okay, but what about the 5000?

"And the 5000…it’s because I’m always advanced," he says. "I’m always ahead of my time. Always doing things to make people like, wow. Like how did this dude take a damn phone booth and bust it right in half with no training? How the hell did this dude bench 400 500-600 pounds and he doesn’t work out everyday? He’s not on the professional teams. All of that stuff."

Dada 5000 is 38 years old, and he has two professional fights on record. He has many others that are recorded but unsanctioned, and still others that are neither recorded nor sanctioned. He runs a bare-knuckle fight league in Florida called BYB, and in this world of underground happenings he’s carved out his niche. This accounts for the whole of his experience. He’s kicked a lot of ass unofficially. One suspects he’s taken some lumps along the way, too.

"Now I know it was preparing me for [this moment]," he shouts. "This is blunt force trauma at its best. And the 5000… right now we’re in 2015, so I feel like we’re 280-plus thousand light years ahead of everybody else. I didn’t invent the backyard. I played the innovation to what it is right now. I’ve gained more fame. I’ve gained more national attention. The remarkable is nothing. I’ve inspired corporate America to take off their suits and ties and come down and trade it in for tennis shoes to train in South Florida.

"We’re going to break history with this. Why? Because you’ve got an individual who knows the business. It’s 90 percent strategy and 10 percent talent and the world is going to tune in."

You get a sneaking feeling that somewhere in there Dada 5000 is right. The world — or a portion of the world, as in a sizable chunk of the demographic — will tune in to see him trade punches with Kimbo Slice. That is a novelty that keeps on being novel. Just look at the numbers that Kimbo-Shamrock did back in June. It peaked at 2.4 million viewers. Never overestimate what comprises popular taste.

Back in the day, Dada 5000 was one of allegedly Kimbo’s bodyguards. When Kimbo began to skyrocket by knuckling up with bouncers and area toughs, Dada 5000 emerged from the shadows and began doing the exact same thing. One’s route to broadcast television was rapid; the other’s took until now.

And to hear Kimbo tell it, Dada 5000 is a cheap imitation of the original bare-knuckle sensation trying to capitalize on his fame. Asked to respond that, Dada 5000 gladly does so.

"I think he’s taken too many hits to the head," he says. "I’m marketable. I’m my own person. How could I capitalize on his fame? I’ll give him credit. He did some awesome things inside the backyard. He inspired me to get in the game. But I got the ball, and I ran…the opposite way. To the point that my key fights — 15 total in boxing and MMA — and we’re standing on the same stage now."


"Men lie. Numbers don’t," he says. "I’ve been proven to be marketable. Charismatic, articulate, with a great personality. How I got here is so interesting. This fight was destined to happen. No. I’m not trying to capitalize on his fame. I’m totally different. He has a baldhead. I have a mohawk. I’m just a totally different dude. I’m a bear, mixed with a gorilla. I’m a bearorilla. He’s coming face to face with that on the 19th. Don’t blink. It’s not going to go out of the first round."

And the truth of the matter is, even though you may not know much about Dada 5000, one gathers he’s not much of a points fighter. In fact, he’ll be the first to tell you that he has no use for judges — the kind who judge fights, nor the kind who judge matchmaking.

Dada 5000, ladies and gentleman.

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