Smith says she is now a free agent after opponent failed weigh cut

Friday, April 20, 2018

UFC women’s bantamweight Leslie Smith is the driving force behind the latest fighter organization, Project Spearhead. She was scheduled to fight Aspen Ladd at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 128. However, Ladd failed to make weight by 1.8 pounds.

Smith declined to fight an opponent who didn’t make the contracted weight, as is her right. It was the final fight on her contract and a negotiation ensued. Smith had been fighting at $26,000 to show and $26,000 to win; she requested a two-fight contract paying a flat $100,000, win or lose.

“I figured that was one of the best ways to get another contract to keep on fighting,” said Smith, as transcribed by John Morgan and Steven Marrocco for MMAjunkie.

The UFC’s offer is not known, but Smith’s was rejected. The UFC eventually paid Smith her win and show money, which she believes fulfills the contract. In an appearance on MMAjunkie Radio, Smith said she is now a free agent.

“They said they had no interest in extending my contract at this time, and instead, they offered me my show and win money,” she said Smith. “So they said they’ll just pay me off, and since they’re giving me the win bonus, it counts as the last fight on my contract. So, I guess that would mean I’m a free agent now.”

Smith said she considered taking the fight despite the rejection of her offer, but declined on principle.

“That was really hard, because my whole thing, what some people would say I’ve probably sacrificed my UFC career for, is Project Spearhead, and one of the major tenets of that is that fighters should not be fighting for free,” said Smith. “They should get paid what they’re worth. And since I had the chance to get the money and not fight, then I would have been fighting for free. It turned into a really big moral issue for me as opposed to wanting to take the fight.”