Women’s bantamweight mixed martial artist Leslie Smith has come forward with a statement following her recent release from the roster of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Leslie Smith was initially set to face off against Aspen Ladd on the highly anticipated fight card of UFC Fight Night 128 over the weekend. However, the fight has since been removed from the card.
Ladd missed weight for the fight, with Smith ultimately declining to fight the competitor in a catchweight match up. Consequently, the bout was removed from the fight night.
Mixed martial arts reporter Ariel Helwani has since come forward to reveal a statement from Smith, in which the fighter reveals that she has been granted show and win money for the cancelled bout. However, the fighter has also been released from the UFC.
Smith’s fight against Ladd would have been the final fight on her UFC contract. The fighter is now claiming the the promotion is counting the cancelled bout as the fulfillment of her contract and that the UFC is not interested in resigning her to the roster.
Check out Ariel Helwani’s provided statement from Leslie Smith down below, as published on Helwani’s Twitter account:
Here’s @LeslieSmith_GF’s side of today’s story. As you can read, she is claiming the UFC is paying her her show and win money but she added in a follow up that her understanding is that means her contract has been fulfilled. No word from UFC officials yet. pic.twitter.com/UvCZALSpTm
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 20, 2018
Of course, some fight fans are claiming that the fighter’s removal from the UFC roster may have something to do with Smith’s involvement in Project Spearhead. Leslie Smith is a vocal supporter and the creator of the project, which seeks to create a union for mixed martial arts competitors similar to that of the NBA.
While it is only speculation that Smith’s creation of the MMA fighter unionization effort has had any effect on the UFC’s decision to not resign the fighter to the promotion, it would appear unlikely that Smith’s project did not play at least some role in the matter.
Should Leslie Smith’s involvement in Project Spearhead affect her UFC employment?