Dada 5000, real name Dhafir Harris, reportedly suffered a heart attack and renal failure before collapsing from what looked like fatigue in a fight with Kimbo Slice at Bellator 149 on Feb. 19, 2016? in Houston, Texas. He was not released from the hospital for nearly two weeks; there are multiple reports he nearly died.
Harris had lost nearly 40 pounds to make the 265 heavyweight limit, and the process apparently depleted him. Although he had a record of 2-0, it was against fighters with a combined record of 1-16. The lone win among his opponents was a DQ from an illegal kick.
There was criticism of Bellator for putting someone with so little skill in a main event. However, what league president Scott Coker has termed “fun fights” are enormously popular with fans, and thus are likely to continue.
Then Harris reported that he believes he was poisoned before the fight, perhaps by Kimbo Slice‘s camp, and was going to produce evidence at some point. He also said it was hard for him to believe that Bellator didn’t know. To be blunt, this is aliens-abducted-me-and-probed-my-nether-region-with-a-blue-glowing-light territory.
Coker recently appeared on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, and addressed some of the issues surrounding the debacle. He began with the weight cutting issue, while Harris reportedly dropped tens of pounds over time before the fight, Coker explained that he was only one pound over the heavyweight limit of 265 when he arrived in Houston for fight week.
“He didn’t have weight-cutting to do,” said Coker, as transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. told Ariel Helwani, on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “That’s where there’s a lot of misinformation and people aren’t getting their facts straight.”
Coker also gently addressed the poisoning allegations.
“Everybody has their opinion,” he said. “Dada, God bless him. I’m glad he’s healthy and safe. He has his own platform to go fight in and he’s gonna do his thing.”
Coker was asked if Harris would be fighting in Bellator again.
“I think we should just be friends,” said the president. “Friends is a good thing. Friends are forever.”
Bellator 149 had Kimbo vs. Dada and Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock 3 at the top of the card, and broke league records. So Bellator is not done with “fun fights” but Coker does not want Bellator to be defined by them.
“To me, it’s like, c’mon, you’ve gotta give us a little bit of a break, because the math works the other way and not the fun fights way,” said Coker. “So to me it’s like, a couple times a year we’re gonna put on those fun fights, but the other 23 are right down the alley, right down the lane for what you like and what the hardcore fans like. To me, we have something for everybody.”
Whether Bellator becomes defined by the freakshow “fun fights” comes down to simple math. If its most popular shows are the “fun fights” then the league will in fact come to be firmly defined by them. The UFC is defined by its biggest PPVs. Joe Frazier is defined by fighting Ali. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is defined by his biggest fights. That’s how fighting is.
Slice tested positive for steroids after the fight. The Texas Department of Licensing and Registration changed the fight to a No Contest, and suspended Slice for 90 days. Given that he fought once in 2009, once in 2010, then once in 2015 and once in 2016, the suspension is not onerous. In fact, he won’t notice it. He is fighting James Thompson at the “Big Tent” event Bellator 158 on July 16 in London, England.
Harris is back to running his