The Contender 3 concludes tonight; finalist’s father committed suicide during production

The third season of The Contender concludes tonight with a live fight at 9 p.m. ET. After three undercard fights, Sakio Bika and Jaidon Codrington will fight in Boston Garden for $750,000.

The two “could conceivably battle to a draw,” but one comes into the fight with recent emotional trauma: “[d]uring the filming for the show, one day after Codrington beat Brian Vera in the first round of the tournament, Codrington’s father, Jamesy Sr., committed suicide,” ESPN reports. His father’s death was mentioned in the fourth episode, but the cause of his death wasn’t mentioned.

Jaidon said, “The producers asked me if I wanted to go home right away. It was my family’s decision and my own. But I knew if I went home I wouldn’t come back. I did it with the support of my bothers and sisters. I’m still getting over things. … I didn’t have any idea about his sadness. What I saw of him, he wouldn’t let you see his sadness. I can understand his depression. I don’t show my sadness either. But the circumstance was definitely out of the blue. It caught me off guard.”

Sakio Bika says, “I wasn’t happy for Codrington, I’m sorry his father passed away. But I can’t give Codrington a chance to win. This competition is my destiny. I want that prize money very, very badly.”

The Contender [ESPN]
Contender stars Bika, Codrington set to clash Tuesday [ESPN]

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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.