Two years ago, I profiled Dhafir Harris, aka Dada 5000, backyard fight promoter and one-time member of Kimbo Slice's entourage. Standing over six feet tall, weighing 275 pounds and sporting a mohawk that resembled a Spartan helmet, Harris cast a pretty menacing figure.
But beneath the intimidating profile, Harris demonstrated the marketing sensabilities of Don King by organzing unsanctioned bare knuckle brawls in his mother's backyard. When I chronicled one of his events, things ended in disaster when a rumble involving attendees shut down the fights.
A dejected Harris thought about throwing in the towel. "I tried giving the people an outlet but it is not going to work out," Harris said then. "My resume is complete. I don't need to do another big event."
His doldrums didn't last and he continued on his quest to put together the most extreme fighting tournament in Miami-Dade. It has paid off.
Since that New Times profile, filmmakers Rakontur and Spanish-language network Telemundo are currently developing documentaries based on Harris and his band of pugilists. And the Perrine Spartan is set make his pro fighting debut this Friday night at Rumble at the Rock 2, an MMA event at the Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood. He is matched up against one Cedric James, another MMA aspirant.
I caught up with Harris a couple of months ago after one of his training sessions at a North Miami Beach gym affiliated with Action Fight League, the company that organized the first Rumble at the Rock, which was headlined by another popular backyard brawler Rene "Level" Martinez
. "One of our goals is to give local guys an opportunity," says league event marketing director Carlos Lopez. "But at the same time we want to put on a good show. We are counting on Dada 5000 to do that."
Harris says his pro debut is about legitimizing backyard fighters. "My intention is to become a dominant force in Florida's MMA scene," he says. "I want to motivate other guys from the backyard to take this seriously. I want to lead by example."
In addition to Dada 5000's bout, Rumble at the Rock 2 features ten other matches with local fighters from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Ticket prices range from $25 to $250, which can be purchased at the Hard Rock Live box office or via Ticketmaster