HOUSTON -- Kimbo Slice and Dada 5000 are heading into the cage this Friday night (Feb. 19, 2016), serving as Bellator 149's Heavyweight co-main event inside Toyota Center. And the back-and-forth between the two former bareknuckle fighters off the streets of Perrine, Fla., has been ongoing.
Dada, real name Dhafir Harris, still resides in the old neighborhood, while Slice has long since moved on. That really bothers Dada. And it has been a focal point in most of his interviews throughout the lead up to their grudge match this weekend.
Slice, 42, real name Kevin Ferguson, became an Internet sensation more than one decade ago when his street fights began to circulate on YouTube, which led to his overwhelming popularity and eventually a contract for his first professional fight in mixed martial arts (MMA), a spot on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and several fights in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Dada, 38, ran with Slice and his crew, but eventually broke off and turned the bareknuckle street fighting into a backyard promotion called "BYB," where he was both promoter and referee. The underground promotion was featured in the 2015 Netflix documentary, "Dawg Fight," which was directed by Billy Corben, who was behind the lens for "Cocaine Cowboys" and "The U."
The film took six years to see the light of day, and Dada 5000 made his professional MMA debut in 2010. The man who once worked with the Department of Children and Families has a bachelor's degree in education with a specialization in early childhood from Barry University. He is a big voice in his community and has been outspoken and adamant that Slice turned his back on Perrine and has since forgotten about his old neighborhood after he became a star.
"Well, I'm going to be honest with you, he has a small head, but a big mouth and he continues to stick his foot in his mouth," Dada said at a recent open workout. "He stated he is a seven-figure n**ga, right? Then he stated that all his friends are with him, they are rich, and they are successful, right? He said, 'What the hell am I coming back to my old neighborhood for?' Right? He was like, 'I don't 'F' with none of those dudes down there like that.' Hold on bro, you still got dudes that helped you out. Even when you was losing, people kept affiliating you with my movement. So, in actuality he needs to be telling me, 'thank you,' because indirectly I kept his career on life support when he got knocked out by Seth Petruzelli and all this other stuff. He needs to be telling me, 'thank you,' because if I wasn't doing the backyard (fighting), he would've been forgotten about."
When you ask Slice about the matter, he doesn't have much tolerance for the topic, saying he wants to "dislocate his jaw" so Dada will shut up.
"What bothers me the most is that hood shit he's talking about," Slice said. "You know, talking childhood friends. I was a child at that time. I lived in that neighborhood at that time. I haven't been a child for over 30 years. I haven't been in that neighborhood in over 25 years. So, for him to say I left the hood, what sense are you making? You know what I'm saying. I got kids and possibly grandkids out there. I'm not worried about no hood shit right now. Not at this point in my life. No disrespect to my homies from back in the days, but come on man, you gotta be a fool. You know I ain't talking about some hood shit."
Dada thinks Slice turned his back on his old neighborhood and the people who live there and that he only came back recently because the segment was being filmed for the Spike TV special that previewed the card.
"Of course," Dada said. "Listen, listen, listen, I thought it was going to be a riot when he came down the Sudamar Shop because people gathered around him. That was hurtful. You said all your friends are with you? They are rich and successful? You know what I'm saying? You have individuals that helped him out tremendously. He didn't get here by his self? Neither did I. The difference between me and him is I acknowledge the people that help me.
"He only came on because I put him under the gun. I stated that he doesn't come back to the hood. I stated that, you know, he only comes back when it's beneficial to himself. His heart ain't like mine. You know what I'm saying? You see, he's one individual. You know what I'm saying? Theres many within me. He who dwells within me is stronger than him and he's going to feel it."
Slice was then asked if there was ever a time where the two of them could've spoken, because most of the beef between them came second hand from either side and not from a direct conversation.
"That sounds like a novel, that sounds like a book for a relationship, what you just said," said Slice, drawing laughter from the attending media. "But, respectfully, you know what I'm saying? He's a grown man as well as I am. No one needs to put shit into his head for him to feel the way he feels. No one definitely doesn't it to me. Whatever is going on in his head spawned from him, his feeling, his thoughts. Whether it was jealousy, or again, beef toward 'Icey Mike' (Imber) and our crew. That motherfucker came up with this shit. He decided -- you know we were done with the street fights -- to pick up and run with it and fuck it up, or try to fuck it up."
In regard to when Dada started to build resentment toward him, Slice claims he, "never knew the shit was coming" and was only aware of it when Dada "called him out." Time has long since passed on ironing out any of their issues in a diplomatic fashion, and Slice says they will get to the root of the problem on Friday evening and settle things the old-fashioned way:
With their fists.
"We are getting to the bottom of it now," he said. "This is how we get to the bottom of it: Two grown men handling and settling their beef in the cage as fighters. There's no other way. There's no sitting down talking over a glass of wine and dinner. That's not going to happen."