Dhafir "Dada 5000" Harris, who was taken from the cage on a stretcher following his loss to Kimbo Slice at Bellator 149, was apparently fighting for his life after cutting some 40 pounds to make the heavyweight limit for his bout.
According to a statement released through Bellator MMA by Harris’ family, the fighter suffered “severe dehydration, fatigue and renal failure” as a result of high potassium levels in his blood. Doctors informed Harris’ family that the high potassium levels likely occurred as a result of his weight cut; Harris tipped the scales at 265 pounds -- the heavyweight limit -- at Thursday’s weigh-ins.
Harris is now “recovering nicely” in a Houston area hospital, according to the statement. On Friday night, Spike TV officials informed media at the Toyota Center that Harris was conscious and receiving oxygen after being transported backstage. It was initially believed that he was taken to the hospital strictly for precautionary reasons.
“Health and safety is always first. Just like we had a situation two weeks ago when [Ryan Couture was knocked out at Bellator 148] and a stretcher came out…it’s always concerning,” Bellator President Scott Coker said at Friday’s post-fight press conference. “The health and safety of these athletes is always the No. 1 goal.”
Both Harris and Slice exhibited signs of extreme fatigue during their co-headlining matchup, but it was Harris who lost via technical knockout at the 1:32 mark of round three when he toppled face-first to the canvas after absorbing a final series of blows from his opponent. It was Harris’ first mixed martial arts bout since Feb. 12, 2011 and just his third pro fight overall.
“Dada showed the heart of a lion in the cage- -- not backing down throughout. He worked extremely hard preparing for the fight and stepped forward for three rounds against a tough veteran. He kept digging through the adversity -- leaving it all in the cage for his fans and supporters. You can never take that away from him,” the statement read.
“We'd like to thank all those who have supported Dada as well as express our sincere appreciation to Scott Coker, and the good people at Bellator and Spike who have been on-site to visit Dada and support the family,” it continued. “We ask for the public and media to respect Dada's privacy as he recovers.”