Leslie Smith is no longer under UFC contract, according to the women’s bantamweight.
Smith was expected to face Aspen Ladd on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 128 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, but Ladd missed weight Friday morning at the official weigh-ins. Had the bout remained intact, Smith would have received 20 percent of her opponent’s purse. Ladd even offered to give Smith an extra $5,000. But as a result of Ladd’s miss, Smith declined to fight her, per MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani. Smith vs. Ladd was pulled from the card, which will proceed with 11 bouts.
Smith’s bout against Ladd was the last fight on her contract. She told MMAjunkie Radio on Friday that she will be receiving both her show money and win bonus — which add up to $62,000 — from the UFC for the scheduled Ladd matchup. But because she will receive both payments, it will count as a fight on her contract, meaning her deal has come to an end.
Smith said that the UFC is not interested in re-signing her. Therefore, as of now, she is a free agent.
Leslie Smith confirms on @MMAjunkieRadio that she will get full $62,000 purse for #UFCAC (show and win money). It also represents completion of her UFC contract. UFC not interested in bringing her back. She says she's now a free agent.— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) April 20, 2018
Smith issued a statement Friday afternoon (via Helwani):
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
“They are paying me my win and show money and declined to extend my contract even at my current terms,” Smith wrote. “Aspen started it by missing weight in what seemed like a tactical move - weighing in at 9 am, asking for a doctor and telling the doctor info so that he would say she shouldn’t finish cutting.
“But after Aspen’s contribution to the situation it became political and about more than her.”
Smith told BloodyElbow.com leading up to the scheduled Ladd bout that she would not re-sign with the UFC after the Atlantic City card for less than $100,000 to show with no win bonus.
“I am a very exciting fighter; people really like to watch me fight,” she said. “I bring it every time, I make weight, but I’m not gonna sign myself away for less than what I feel I’m worth.”
Smith is the interim president of Project Spearhead, the latest effort to unionize UFC and Bellator fighters. She is also joined on the interim executive board by UFC lightweights Kajan Johnson and Al Iaquinta.
Currently, Smith and the rest of the Project Spearhead board are collecting authorization cards from fighters. Should they receive cards from 30 percent of the rosters, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will determine whether fighters are employees or independent contractors. If UFC and Bellator fighters are deemed the former, Project Spearhead can continue to the next steps of the process of unionizing.