By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Roman says Harris does not get a cut from the DVD sales. So far Roman says he has sold only 150 copies of "Dada 5000's Battleground."
Still, Harris remains undaunted.
"Sex and violence are always going to hold its own, even in a bad economy. Most of these guys have been fighting all their lives. I'm providing them with a chance to stop robbing people and selling drugs on a corner."
With the fight card complete, Harris steps from his mother's kitchen into the back yard. At 4:15 p.m., he has about an hour-and-a-half of sunlight left for filming purposes. Twenty people sit on white plastic folding chairs in the roped-off VIP section around the ring's perimeter. Forty more patrons stand behind the exclusive area. The crowd is a mix of guys from the neighborhood wearing oversize T-shirts, baggy jean shorts, and Air Jordans; stout mixed martial artists from local gyms who train some of the fighters; and grandmothers and girlfriends who have come to show their support.
The turnout is a disappointment. Harris, known as Dada 5000 in Perrine, had hoped for at least 200 people, but he doesn't let his disappointment show as he steps into the ring. "Nobody doing it like we do!" he bellows. "Perrine stand the fuck up!" The smell of Chronic bud is stronger than ever.
He introduces the first two fighters: Jimmy Thompson, the ex-con who was shadowboxing on the front lawn a couple hours ago, versus Kevin Greer, the dude who was leaning on the wooden dog crate. "No grabbing," Harris instructs. "No groin shots and no hits to the back of the head. Y'all ready to run this?" Thompson and Greer nod in agreement. "Alright," Harris says. "Let's run it."
Thompson charges Greer, landing three blows to his face and knocking Greer to the ground. Thompson's girlfriend, a raven-skinned waif with her short hair pulled into a pony tail, jumps out of her seat. "Yeah baby!" she screams. "Represent Perrine!"
Greer stumbles to his feet and Thompson blasts him with a rapid succession of blows to the face, including a jarring hook to Greer's chin. Greer's legs buckle and he falls down, kicking up a plume of dust, prompting Harris to stop the contest. Greer rises from the dirt, blood and spit dribbling from his bottom lip, and says he wants to keep fighting. He wobbles around the ring.
One of the spectators standing inside the VIP section, a tall black man with cornrows smoking a flavored Black N' Mild cigar, shouts at Harris: "Dada let Jimmy finish him off!" Harris ignores him, instead helping Greer steady himself. "Kevin is done for the day," Harris says. The first fight is over in less than two minutes.
To the uninitiated, what follows is so savage, brutal, and raw that it is sickeningly violent. The next two fighters — one is from Overtown, the other from Miami Gardens — draw blood within seconds. The sound of cracking knuckles meeting bone emanates over people shouting "Get that nigga" and "Knock that motherfucker out."
A crimson splatter cakes the nose and cheeks of one fighter, who is dripping blood from a ghastly gash under his right eye. "Dig deep down dawg!" Harris implores. "Finish it!"
When the fight is over, the loser, a guy who goes by the name of Tree, slumps down on an empty plastic chair. He leans his head back and stares at the sky. Nearby, his grandmother Emma Baker silently watches. She is a petite, soft-spoken 67-year-old with red curly hair. "I thought we were going to an arena and that he would have protective gear on," she says. "I don't know why he wants to do this, but if it is what he wants to do, I will support him."
After he's gotten his bearings, Tree admits that he had slacked off on his training. "I wasn't running it like I was supposed to." Still, he made $200 for a few minutes of work. "Next time it ain't going down like that."
The final fight is between Bolo and Big D, whose only claim to fame is his much-talked-about ass-kicking from Kimbo Slice on YouTube. Today, Big D is here not just for money, but for pride.
As soon as the introductions are over, Bolo charges Big D, tagging him hard on the left side of his face. A bulbous knot protrudes under Big D's left eye. Blood streaks down his face. Big D sucks in his air, tucks his chin and delivers a nasty right hook that jars Bolo's jaw.
Bolo steps back, wobbly kneed, and spits up blood. He walks over to his twin brother standing outside the ring to tend to his wounds. The soft-spoken pair, who have come here solely because they need money, have their backs turned to Big D, who is going berserk, jumping around the ring and screaming at the crowd. "That bitch is scared!" Big D bellows. "He ain't got the heart to keep running it!"
Harris tries to get Bolo's attention. "You giving up?" Harris asks, but Bolo ignores him. Meanwhile, Big D has turned from the crowd and is taunting Bolo, standing a few inches from his face. "Let's go nigga!" Big D spits. Bolo ignores him, staring off into the distance, but his twin is enraged. He shoves Big D, who stumbles back and then retaliates by punching Bolo's brother in the face. A melee ensues, like something out of WWE SmackDown: The siblings rush Big D, who unleashes a flurry of punches at Bolo in defense. At the same moment, five dudes hanging outside Big D's corner rush through the ropes and join in, punching and kicking Bolo's brother in the head. Bolo and his twin retreat over the ropes and run to the front yard.