Ashlee Evans-Smith had been scheduled to face Molly McCann this upcoming weekend at UFC on ESPN+ 29 in London, but the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world effected the entire event.
Before the combat sports world had been affected by the sudden changes, Evans-Smith went out to London ahead of time even though she recognized she might not be able to return home to the United States right away.
Just spoke to UFC flyweight Ashlee Evans-Smith (@AshleeMMA), who is at the airport preparing to leave for UFC London.
"I am fully aware I am going to a foreign land to get in a fist fight without 100 percent assurance I can come home after without being quarantined."
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 13, 2020
After she made the trip to London before the travel ban was put in place by President Donald Trump, Ashlee Evans-Smith had to scramble to get back to the United States after it became clear she would not be fighting in London. As she boarded back to California two days later, the UFC had to cancel their upcoming events, including the card in London.
48 hours ago. Today, Ashlee is back at the London airport, trying to fly home to California. https://t.co/N8XIXYRaMA
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 15, 2020
With the event being cancelled on fight week, and no telling of when fights will able to continue on, Evans-Smith and the rest of the fighters are out of a paycheck they had been expecting. During an appearance on “The A-Side” on MMA Fighting, Ashlee Evans-Smith was asked if she knew if she was being compensated for the fight, and as of now, she’s unsure.
.@AshleeMMA & @ShortyTorresMMA say fighters should absolutely get paid for fights postponed due to #COVID19:
"We deserve that money to say the least. I, personally, was going to go over there and risk my personal health."
Watch full episode: https://t.co/a1EZDSwEFq pic.twitter.com/PAmh0oS9w4
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) March 18, 2020
“I haven’t heard from the UFC and the UFC, as much money as they have, they’re not giving out money left-and-right for nothing. I know the Bellator [Bellator 241] fighters that got compensated, they weighed-in. I’m just really hoping that the UFC doesn’t use some trickery and say ‘oh, well, you didn’t make weight or you didn’t weigh-in’ I’m not saying they’re going to do that, but I’m also not going to get my hopes up. I think we deserve that money to say the least. I, personally, was willing to go over there [to London] and risk my personal health, I was willing to risk getting quarantined to fight, to perform, to do my job for them, so I really hope that they compensate us.”
Evans-Smith would go on to acknowledge that looking to be compensated by the UFC is a hard topic to discuss for active fighters.
“It’s a hard thing to talk about as a fighter because we’re so happy to be at the level of the UFC, it’s the APEX of our sport. I think we all as fighters follow the code, ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ but what happens when they’re not feeding you? Like c’mon, feed us, we work for you, we bleed, we sweat, I cry for you. Like please, please, feed us. I put my health on the line, I was willing to be quarantined, I was willing to do all of that, and I know a lot of other fighters were. We’re willing to fu**ing put ourselves in harm’s way with this virus just to perform like a dancing monkey, for you.”
The stoppage of UFC events is effecting everyone from fighters to gyms and of course the UFC as well, but to hear a fighter like Ashlee Evans-Smith be straightforward about being compensated, it brings up a realistic concern for the fighters.
Do you believe the UFC will compensate their fighters who were scheduled to fight at UFC London?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/18/2020