DADA 5000 Interview Part 1 in a Two-Part Series
West Perrine is a poverty-stricken community in Miami, Florida, USA where one-third of the population is unemployed and 34.4% of the population is under the National Poverty line. However, these statistics fail to represent the strength and determination of the people who live there.
Through adversity, the community has found solace in one of their own who is trying to provide a glimmer of hope and opportunity.
Originally known as Dhafir Harris, DADA 5000 has become somewhat of an overnight sensation in the fight community as his backyard fight league was showcased in the recent documentary Dawg Fight.
But his story didn’t start there, in fact, it started long before the world knew about what was going on in the backyards of Miami’s little West Perrine community.
DADA 5000 is a fight promoter for BYB Extreme and an MMA fighter who will be taking on an old rival in Kimbo Slice at Bellator 149 (February 18th, 2016).
Find out what DADA 5000 had to say about his career, the documentary Dawg Fight, his fight league, and how the rivalry between him and Kimbo Slice began.
Can you give me an overview of the BYB Extreme Fighting Series and explain the reasoning behind using a triangular ring (Trigon)?
I’ve played a more innovative role with it. I took it, I altered its appearance and I made it more appealing to the eyes of the people of the 21st century.
It was like going fishing with good bait, and we caught the worlds attention. We’re the grey area between MMA and Boxing! You see MMA and Boxing is so political, you have to be the right height, the right colour, and it’s a business.
But if you look at backyard fighting, it’s the purest form of hand to hand combat. If you had a problem with someone, you didn’t say “Hey give me my gloves.” You dealt with it right then and there.
So BYB is a new league with old-world traditions and values. It’s widely respected and a lot safer than any of these gloved sports! What we’re doing is this; we’re bringing back good fights with classic knockouts.
We’re different, we are constantly trying to reinvent ourselves. We’re the new fresh breath of air to the game. So when you look at the Trigon cage, it’s built to encourage confrontation. it is proven to be more effective than the boxing ring or the octagon.
What are your future plans for BYB Extreme?
DOMINANCE! To take over, to give the people something to look forward to. When you talk about classic bouts, we’re going to be the definition, we’re going to be all that you talk about.
We’re real, we’re raw, and we’re authentic. When you look at boxing, boxing is boring man, you know. No disrespect to the greats, but right now, in the stage that it’s in, there’s no more excitement. It’s like where do the people go from here? And MMA is all political.
When you look at some of the exciting fighters, where are they now? They’re either out on suspension or they’re getting in trouble because they don’t know how to separate their entertainment life and their real life.
But we are the premier fight league and everyone will be anticipating our bouts! We’re giving people shots when others are telling them they’re too old, you’re too short, you don’t have this, you don’t have that. If you’ve got the heart, and you can intelligently defend yourself, then you will have an opportunity to go out and do what you do best.
We are a professional fight league, when you think of backyard fighting, that’s where we came from and you never forget where you came from and there are no limitations on where we can go. We take the same measurements and precautions as boxing and other MMA organizations.
We do blood work, vision tests, physicals; we make sure our fighters are healthy and fit enough to compete. Safety and security are number one.
In the documentary, I believe it was your brother Arashio Harris who would always have something positive to say and would constantly find the silver lining for fighters suffering a loss. Has he always been such a positive person? And Is he still a vital part of BYB Extreme?
Of course, he is. He’s the un-silent majority. A lot of these individuals, they come and lay it all on the line and sometimes they need encouraging words of wisdom, so they can dig down deep and find out something about themselves that they didn’t know existed within them.
He helps these fighters find out who they are. Either this is for you, or stick to your day job.
But yes, he is a vital part. I remember this one fighter who took a horrible hit, a knockout.
The words that he (Arashio Harris) uttered right then and there were making or breaking what that fighter was going to do next, and he (the fighter) came back to be victorious. He stuck it out because we don’t give up on anyone who doesn’t give up on themselves.
What has been the feedback from the fighters on his role?
Wow, you know, he’s positive and he’s local. Our numbers are small but our presence is big. He is motivation at its best. A lot of individuals look up to him and reach out to him because he’s always in a position to make the best out of a bad situation.
No matter what happened, if there’s a little bit of positivity in there or something that could shift so that you could come away with a more positive perspective than he is going to find it and give it to you!
He’s one of those guys who could be a life coach, you know! If your life is all messed up, then you could go to him and he’d help straighten you out like Iyanla from the Oprah channel!
Who is DADA 5000?
On the exterior you’re a very intimidating person, you’re a big guy, you’ve got tattoos and a big beard… But from what I gathered from the documentary Dawg Fight, you seem like a really genuine person and you obviously care about the people in your community. Is that a fair assessment?
Yes, you see I’m a product of my environment. When you talk about pain, talk about the struggle, sacrifice, and making due, having to go without until you can do better, you know I’m a product of all that.
That’s the struggle. When you look at that movie (Dawg Fight) that’s only a sneak peek of the inside of everyday life of West Perrine. We’ve given people something else to look forward to other than the south beach when they visit. They want to come to the world-famous greenhouse.
To me that’s an inspiration, I’m glad that individuals have the opportunity to actually be educated when it comes down to taking a sneak peek not only into my life but of the lives of the people inside the community.
Because people in Seattle, Detroit, Washington, Melbourne and all over the world can relate because there are more people out there that can relate to not having over actually having something.
So I’m just a representative of a movement that’s actually worldwide. I’m just happy to be apart of it man.
What would you tell a young DADA 5000 if you could go back in time?
To stay focused. To stay on the up-righteous path. To always do good by others. Because history has a funny way of coming back around. So what you do in this life is going to catch you, you know what I’m saying.
So, to treat others how I want to be treated. To focus on being an inspiration. When you look at the great ones; Dr Martin Luther King Jr., Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and the list goes on and on. These individuals have been dead for years, but you still speak about them today just like they were here yesterday.
So it’s about the legacy. If you stand for nothing, then you’ll fall for anything. See some of us were destined to be leaders and some followers.
If you weren’t fighting what would you be doing?
Still educating the youth. You see, what people don’t understand about me is this. When I graduated from Palmetto High School back in 1997. I ended up getting involved with incarcerated juvenile individuals at a level eight lockdown facility.
Because I always had a strong presence in the community and I always had a love for speaking and providing solutions to people who couldn’t find their way.
It was somewhat of a calling for me, and I stayed in that field until I stopped working to follow a dream which I’m living now.
So I’ve worked with the kids as a councillor and I’ve always been in a position to better individuals. What I wanted to do, was to show people that there are other ways, other outlets for them to be productive. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
I’ve got an associative diploma in arts, in education, in science and in business administration. And I have a bachelor of science with a major in pre-care primary education. So I’m well diverse in the streets and inside the classroom.
I didn’t get to where I am now from being dumb, naïve and stupid.
How did you get your nickname?
Well, my name is Dhafir, right. So growing up, I got called everything except Dhafir. So I spent most of my time growing up, you know, in the school getting laughed at.
It’s not my fault that most of these individuals don’t have proper pronunciational skills. So I helped them out a bit. So I would tell them DADA, right. And as I went through life, and I became more developed in whatever it is I was supposed to be doing, I felt I was way ahead of my time. All the things I’m doing are unheard of. I felt I was lightyears ahead of everybody else.
So right now we are 2015, but I feel that I am one hundred and eighty-five light years ahead of everybody. So when I’m dead, long and gone; people will still be talking about DADA 5000. I’m walking in the path of the great ones before me. It’s a part of my destiny.
Dawg Fight Documentary:
The documentary “Dawg Fight” paints a pretty bleak and negative picture of your community. What do you think the solution is to fix this problem of poverty and violence?
Well first off, you know, giving the individuals an opportunity, right. Because everything you just stated is true, and by me being a pillar of strength inside my community, it’s an obligation that I inherited when I said I wanted to do better.
Keep one thing in mind: You can’t change what you do until you change what you know. When you know better, you do better. So, by being hands-on, I see the struggle, I see the pain and people say “Hey this is violence!”. This is not violence; this is an alternative toward violence.
These guys are inside my backyard earning a positive living, right, opposed to them waiting in your backyard to tie you up, you know, after you come home from a hard day’s worth of work.
Now truthfully, I can tell you what these individuals don’t have. They don’t have an education, they don’t have a trade, they don’t have a skill, they don’t have a means, you know, because of their record being all jacked up. But what they do get, they got their hands, they got a lot of heart, they got the will, the want and the determination to do better.
The only thing I did was create an avenue where they will no longer be judged. And we’ve sent quite a few guys pro, with a couple still in the UFC and boxing till this day. So that’s my role, to actually instil hope.
Never let a person tell you what you can’t do; take that “T” off, because that “T” is silent. You CAN do all things; you CAN achieve higher ground if you believe. To me, personally, I put these individuals in a position where they can find out something about themselves like “Hey, I’m pretty good at this.”.
For the first time in their life, they’re getting positive praise instead of being acknowledged for all the negative things. Like, “You did this?!” or “You did that?!”. For once, “Hey a pat on the back, man, you did awesome.”.
See I pride myself on getting corporate America, to trade in their suits and ties for baseball hats and tennis shoes and to come down to Sunny South Florida. Because they say the greatest show on earth is the Ringling & Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus! But I have to say, that’s not accurate. It’s DADA 5000 and BYB Extreme!
We are the next phase of evolution and we will not be denied. I have taken off and I plan on landing no time soon!
When you look at the area, you look at the structures, because there’s no money in circulation inside these low socioeconomic areas. When you got kids, raising kids; kids killing kids because they’re raised inside project communities and housing.
These individuals, they’re doing the best they can because they’re raised inside a home with a single parent, and that parent is not the mom or the dad, it’s the grandmother. She can’t enforce education on the youth because it was never enforced on her. She dropped out of school in the first grade to go work in the bean fields. So these individuals become products of their community.
And that’s why they’re building so many jail houses. More kids are graduating high school and going to institutions than going to college.
Because I understand the problem, and I also have a solution. See, a lot of individuals have problems but they don’t have problem-solving skills. And when you’re a public figure, you could be out and about inside the community, but even though you may not realize it.
These little kids with their undeveloped minds are looking at everything you do and they’re thinking that that’s the way to go. With your pants sagging… you are a role model and you should treat yourself as such. And that is what I instil inside these fighters.
This is bigger than you, this is bigger than me, this is bigger than all of us. Because we have the opportunity to impact people far and wide. So with great powers, comes great responsibility, Spiderman, aha! So again, when you know better, you do better and I take on that responsibility and I wear it with a badge of honour.
What do people who watched the documentary not know about the backyard fight league? In other words, what did the documentary fail to portray?
I think it gave you a good understanding, but I would have loved to have seen more because I lived it day in and day out. Believe it or not, I only watched the thing twice, because I’m not a fan of me.
But I believe it gave people a well rounded visual of life in West Perrine (Florida). It’s the number one preferred movie on Netflix because it’s for real. There’s no acting here, there are no do-overs. That black eye is a black eye, that busted nose is a busted nose.
This is not a formatted scene that was put together with a good stunt man or a good makeup artist. And that’s why people gravitate towards it. Because real recognize real all over the world.
It doesn’t matter what colour, what shape or what size you are. Ouch is ouch in up to five or ten languages. If something hurts, you could be Japanese, and ouch is still ouch!
But yeah, I think Billy Corbin is the best in the world at what he does; him and the team over there at Raconteur. And I really feel man, that the best deal with the best and we collaborated well. With his background in the entertainment world and DADA 5000 from the streets! We came together to make Dawg Fight and collectively made history.
Stay posted for Part 2 of the DADA 5000 interview as we go more in-depth into his relationship with Kimbo Slice and their upcoming fight.
Images courtesy of vice.com and mixedmartialarts.com