MMA veteran Leslie ‘the Peacemaker’ Smith was 3-1 in her last four fights with the UFC. With one finish, one fight of the night bonus and willingness to step up and fight the most dominating fighter in the history of women’s MMA in Cris Cyborg, Smith’s future with the organization looked fairly secured. However a tragic turn around led to Smith losing her spot on the organization’s roster. Smith however believes what happened to her is illegal and hence plans legal action against UFC.
Smith, 35, told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of the MMA hour, that she is planning to sue the organization. Smith is a leader of fighter unionization effort and interim president of project Spearhead, which wants the U.S. government to determine whether UFC fighters are employees or independent contractors. Smith definitely thinks this as a primary factor in her getting cut.
At Fight Night 128, Smith’s opponent Aspen Ladd missed weight by 1.8 pounds. This was the final fight on Smith’s contact. She agreed to the UFC to take the fight if the UFC extended her deal. The UFC instead paid her the show money and win bonus and didn’t show interest in renewing her contract.
“It’s my opinion that what the UFC did was illegal,” Smith said. “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.”
“I am surprised,” Smith said of the UFC parting ways with her. “I think that it opens up an examination of how they feel about my activities in organizing the fighters recently. I think by doing unusual behavior, it’s going to ask what are the unusual circumstances leading to this?”
“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,” Smith said. “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.”