MMA fighter Dada 5000 is in stable condition after suffering renal failure on Friday night following his third-round TKO loss to Kimbo Slice at Bellator 149.
Dada, otherwise known as Dhafir Harris, is currently in the hospital after collapsing and falling into unconsciousness. A statement released by the Harris family stated that “Dada had accumulated extremely high levels of potassium in his blood which led to severe dehydration, fatigue, and renal failure.” He had been in critical condition and had to be resuscitated by a doctor in an ambulance.
This incident occurred right after Dada was TKO’d in a match against Kimbo Slice at Bellator 149. The fight had lasted for three rounds until Dada stumbled to the ground with 1:32 left. The fighter also suffered a fracture to his orbital bone.
The fight had been Dada’s first MMA bout since 2011, and it showed. The Harris family’s statement said that Dada had lost 40 pounds to prepare for the fight, and it was this weight loss which caused the high levels of potassium. But the 38-year old Dada still weighed a portly 265 lbs. on the day of the fight, the maximum weight allowed for a heavyweight MMA fighter. Kimbo Slice, at 42 years old, was in little better shape.
The fight was heavily criticized, as Joe Rogan called it “the worst fight I’ve ever seen.”
This might be the worst fight I’ve ever seen
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) February 20, 2016
Both fighters shuffled around awkwardly, taking stretches of over a minute to catch their breath. Referee John McCarthy had to repeatedly separate the fighters due to inactivity. By the start of the second round, Dada was barely throwing punches and even willingly flopped to the ground to get some rest multiple times. The crowd booed this lack of activity, and fans watching took to Twitter to criticize the match.
Kimbo Slice wins in R3 due to Dada 5000 falling asleep mid-fight. pic.twitter.com/QvjWMuKzpK
— Mike Skytte (@MikeLovesTacosX) February 20, 2016
In addition to the complaints about the poor quality of the fight, Dada 5000’s hospitalization has also caused MMA analysts to attack Bellator MMA President Scott Coker.
In addition to the aforementioned age and health problems, Dada became famous for street fighting as opposed to MMA. In 2004, he started an underground fighting ring based in the backyard of his mother’s home before the authorities shut it down in 2007. Dada 5000 had only participated in two MMA events before this one. While he had won both bouts against Cedric James and Timothy Papp in the first round, neither fighter was particularly skilled or exceptional.
Given Dada’s lack of background fighting in MMA, his age, and the excessive weight loss which he had to undergo in order to qualify for Bellator, Coker should not have allowed Dada 5000 to participate. But profits won out over common sense and safety, and so Coker allowed a fight that entertained no one and ended up nearly killing one of the combatants.
And if Dada had actually died in the middle of the fight, Coker could have kissed those profits goodbye as well. While MMA has grown more popular over the years, an actual death would have been a catastrophe for the sport as a whole. Even if MMA is nowhere near as dangerous as much of the public may think, the death of an athlete mid-match would be a dramatic selling point for those who would seek to further regulate, if not ban MMA.
MMA is not a blood sport, and it must be on guard from such accusations. Even if UFC had nothing to do with arranging this match, the stigma for the sport would have harmed it as well if something serious had happened to Dada 5000
By allowing this fight to happen, Scott Coker did not create an entertaining fight nor did he protect his athletes. And as the employer, it is Bellator’s responsibility to seriously check their fighters and ensure that no one gets hurt.
[Photo By Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images]