Former women’s UFC bantamweight Leslie Smith has been removed from the promotion’s roster. Now the fighter is considering taking legal action against the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Smith declined a catchweight bout against Aspen Ladd for UFC Fight Night 128 after Ladd missed weight for the match by nearly two pounds and refused to attempt to make weight after her first try. The UFC consequently paid Smith her show money and a win bonus for the cancelled fight in order to count the scratched match as the final fight on Smith’s contract.
The UFC then elected to not renew a contract with the fighter, making Smith a free agent.
The UFC’s decision is speculated to have been motivated by Smith’s founding of Project Spearhead, an organization dedicated to unionizing mixed martial artists.
Speaking to MMA journalist Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Leslie Smith revealed that she is considering taking legal action against the UFC over the matter.
“It’s my opinion that what the UFC did was illegal. Because they have created a situation where it encourages a climate of fear where the other people in the UFC on the roster are going to be fearful of publicly organizing and standing up for their rights.
“By creating a climate of fear, that violates federal law. That’s the whole point of the National Labor Relations Board and the laws that are in there.”
Speaking on the possibility of taking legal action against the UFC, the fighter added:
“I feel like if I didn’t do that at this point, it wouldn’t be living up to everything I’ve been talking about. That’s why I couldn’t take the fight once they offered me the $62,000, because then I would be fighting for free. And that’s been my whole point this whole time. We shouldn’t be manipulated by pride. We need to look at ourselves as a business and fight for the large sums of money that we deserve.”
Leslie Smith would not be the first fighter to take legal action against the UFC, as UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt is currently in a legal battle with the promotion over his match up against Brock Lesnar.