“This is the problem. I hope that Project Spearhead is the one that breaks through and all the fighters get behind. Can you imagine if Conor [McGregor], Kevin Lee, Khabib [Nurmagomedov], DC [Daniel Cormier], Mighty Mouse [Demetrious Johnson], [Cris] Cyborg, Holly Holm, Rose [Namajunas]… Anyone I just named, if they just did this. Imagine how many waves this would make. The problem is it’s Leslie Smith doin’ it. How sad is that to say?
It’s a form of bullying but for whatever reason, our sport puts up with it.
I’m sick of talking about this stuff. Remember when I was kind of in on that MMAAA or whatever it was? The frustrating thing about this is…none of this matters, all of this is smoke and mirrors until the fighters want it. Leslie Smith can’t be the only one that wants it. You need all of them to want it. It’s not on Dana [White] to make sure this gets done. If you’re running a business wouldn’t you cut her too? What? ‘Hold on, you’re being difficult, you’re trying to unionize the fighters which is gonna fuck us financially and now you’re not taking the fight trying to renegotiate your contract? No, get out of here. We’re going to take a little bit of a black eye on Monday morning but other than that… This train keeps on keepin’ on, man’.
She’s just another grey elephant, unfortunately. She’s another difficult grey elephant to work with. They have a shitload of grey elephants in that circus, man. That mean’s every other fighter.
Until you all decide that you want things to change, you can not complain. ‘Cause you’re part of the problem. Leslie Smith is not part of the problem, Leslie Smith now doesn’t have a job because she wasn’t part of the problem, she wanted to go against the grain.
You see any other fighters sticking up for her? Have you seen one tweet from a major superstar in the UFC? Nothing, right? Nothing. Not one fucking word. Nothing. Nothing. Why? Why you think that is?
If Conor did this the UFC would be shitting their pants. But if you’re Conor you’re not mad at the payouts and the way it’s being ran because you have so much money. You’re basically a partner with them. Leslie Smith is not a partner.
This is the fighters fight. Again, until the roster gets together and they decide they want things to change, it doesn’t matter what Leslie Smith does, she’s fighting the good fight, man. She lost her job because of it. It’s a bummer, it sucks.
It’s never going to happen until they all want it so i’m sick of talking about it.”
Over this past weekend, seven-fight UFC veteran, Leslie Smith lost her spot on the UFC roster without fighting and while being on a two-fight win streak and ranked in the top 10.
She was supposed to be facing off against rising prospect, Aspen Ladd in the UFC Atlantic City Fight Pass prelim headliner but the bout fell through after Ladd failed to make weight and in the end, Smith refused to take the fight.
Smith was all for fighting on this past Saturday’s card but after the weigh-in incident, she was hoping to renegotiate a new contract first as this bout was to be the last on her contract. Instead, the UFC decided to just pay the top 10 bantamweight her show and win money thus counting as if she had a fight and resulting in her free agency.
The Pleasant Hill, California native, Smith has been vocal about the situation and even plans to take legal action for what the UFC has done. She has also been very vocal about the benefits of a fighters union and started Project Spearhead back in February to continue her efforts which is what many believe ultimately led to the UFC’s decision to not re-sign her.
Do you agree with Brendan Schaub on this situation? What do you think about fighter unionization?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/24/2018.