Labor Board Sides With Leslie Smith, Goes After The UFC

Former UFC competitor Leslie Smith parted ways with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in a rather unique fashion. The fighter was set to face Aspen Ladd back at UFC Atlantic City.

However, Ladd missed weight for the fight. Consequently, Smith did not immediately choose to accept a catchweight bout against the fighter.

Rather, Smith elected to negotiate her contract with the promotion. If the promotion met her terms, the fighter would have competed against Ladd in a catchweight match up.

Rather than accept her terms, the UFC gave her show and win money for the cancelled bout and counted the experience as the final fight on Smith’s contract. The promotion then elected to not resign Smith to the UFC roster.

Leslie Smith has since filed an unfair labor charge against the UFC through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Leslie Smith is notably also the president of Project Spearhead, a group dedicated to unionizing MMA fighters.

Well, the NLRB has now come forward to reveal that they find Smith’s claim to have merit and that the organization will be filing a complaint against the UFC. Smith’s attorney Lucas Middlebrook offered a few words on the matter to MMA Fighting.

“In this initial step, this is the best-case scenario, that the NLRB will have investigated the charge and determined that there was enough merit to file a complaint and prosecute the charge on behalf of Leslie.”

“I believe once the evidence is presented in a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, I believe at a minimum a determination will be made that the fighters are statutory employees. But I also believe that a determination will be made that by their conduct that they violated the [National Labor Relations Act] when they released Leslie.”

“If you look at the statistics, thousands and thousands of charges are filed each year with the NLRB and merit determinations are made. You just don’t hear about it, because typically they are not high-profile cases. But a lot of work went into presenting the NLRB with evidence and also refuting the UFC’s claims as to why it was not discriminatory. And in the end, the evidence that was presented convinced Region 4 that Leslie’s charge had merit.”

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