If things had gone according to the initial plan, Leslie Smith would have fought Aspen Ladd on the undercard of April’s UFC Atlantic City card. Regrettably, things took an incredibly ugly turn at the last minute, and the end result was Smith’s release from the UFC.
The trouble began when Ladd missed weight for the fight, tipping the scales 1.8 pounds over the bantamweight limit. Despite this hiccup, Smith was willing to take the fight, but she wanted to hash out a new deal with the UFC first, as her bout with Ladd marked the last obligation on her current contract. Unfortunately, the UFC instead opted to buy out Smith’s contract, paying the bantamweight her show and win money, and ending her UFC career on the spot…
The immediate speculation, of course, was that the UFC had grown tired of Smith’s efforts to unionize fighters through Project Spearhead, an organization that aims to have the US government identify UFC fighters as employees rather than independent contractors.
If this is indeed why the UFC terminated Smith’s contract, well, that’s a problem — which is why Smith recently filed a labor complaint against the promotion with the National Labor Relations Board.
If Smith’s complaint strikes you as the kind of thing that would stress out UFC President Dana White, you’re wrong. The UFC President doesn’t seem remotely phased by this development, and is intent to focus instead on “fun shit.”
“Apparently she did [file a complaint[,” White said on a recent episode of the UFC Unfiltered podcast (transcribed by MMAJunkie). “I don’t know that much about this to talk about it. I literally don’t know anything about it. I know that she’s upset and she filed something. She’s suing us or filed something with somebody. I don’t know. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t focus on that shit anymore. That’s not my problem. Thats somebody else’s problem. I get to do all the fun shit.”
How do you think Leslie Smith’s action against the UFC and its president Dana White will shake out?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/10/2018.