UFC Fight night 128 was surrounded by a lot of controversy due to the UFC management’s treatment of Leslie Smith and her refusal to compete against an overweight Aspen Ladd. The company was criticised by the fans, but a vast majrity of the fighters chose to remain silent on the matter. However, former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub has now come out in support of Smith.
Schaub spoke about the controversy this week on his podcast, Before the belt. He supported Smith and also talked about how if Conor McGregor had been in the same situation the UFC would have been handling it completely differently. Here’s what he had to say:
That Project Spearhead, I hope it’s the one that breaks through and all the fighters get behind, can you imagine if Conor (McGregor), Khabib (Nurmagomedov), Kevin Lee, [Daniel Cormier], [Demetrious Johnson], (Cris) Cyborg, Holly Holm, Rose (Namajunas) did this, imagine how many waves this would make? The problem is it’s Leslie Smith doing it, as sad as that is to say. I’m with her, and I’m down for the cause, and I hope it works out.
If Conor did this, the UFC would be sh-tting 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.
What would you do if you ran the company? You’d probably get rid of her, it’s a form of bullying, but for whatever reason, our sport puts up with it.
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.
Until you all decide that you want things to change, you cannot complain, because 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? Not one f-cking word. … Why do you think that is?
This is the fighters’ fight, until the roster gets together and they decide they want things to change, it doesn’t matter what Leslie Smith does.