UFC women's flyweight Ashlee Evans-Smith flew to London to fight Molly McCann, was told the event was canceled, and then that it might be moved, and then that is was indeed canceled. She recently joined the The A-Side Live Chat talks bout the experience.
“I haven’t heard anything from the UFC, and the UFC as much money as they have, they’re not giving out money left and right for nothing,” said Evans-Smith, as transcribed by Alexander K. Lee for MMA Fighting. “I know the [Bellator 241] fighters that got compensated, they weighed in and I’m just really hoping that the UFC doesn’t do some trickery and say, ‘Oh, well you didn’t make weight or you didn’t weigh in.’ I’m not saying they’re gonna do that, but I’m also not gonna get my hopes up.
“I think we deserve that money to say the least. I, personally, was going to go over there and risk my personal health. I was willing to risk getting quarantined to fight, to perform, to do my job for them. So I really hope that they compensate us.”
While in transit back to the USA, Evans-Smith streamed an Instagram story for her fans, and that's how McCann learned the event was off.
“This is kind of sad, but I was driving to the airport and I see my opponent has posted a video and someone tagged me, and she was saying that she just watched my story on Instagram and that’s how she found out,” said Evans-Smith. “So the UFC didn’t even contact her, so I thought it would be nice of me to contact my opponent and say, ‘Look, I hear you don’t know anything. I’m gonna tell you what I know. That’s the least I can do. I think you deserve to know what I know.’ And she was like, ‘Thanks, mate.’
“She’s a cool girl. We talk back and forth about how crappy this is. We both still want to fight each other. It’s sportsmanship. We will fight someday, but in the meantime let’s get healthy and safe and get paid for the work that we put in so far.”
Smith learned about a possible relocation when she was at the airport readying to fly home.
“I’m on the flight, I’m literally about to take off and my manager is like, ‘Just stay ready,’” said Evans-Smith. “And I’m like, ‘Ready like don’t eat?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, they might reschedule the fight in California.’
“Are you serious? I’m already eating and he’s like, ‘We might do a catchweight. So just don’t worry, don’t stress.’ I’m like, that’s like saying f***ng don’t breathe right now. Don’t stress? Don’t stress? You don’t know where I’m gonna fight, where I’m gonna fight, maybe I fight Saturday. So yeah there was talk, but it was so ridiculous. We didn’t know if the world was shutting down.”
“It was a roller coaster of emotions because going over there I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if I was going to fight. I didn’t know if I was going to get quarantined. Still cutting weight—and I’m a big girl for 125—I’m hangry at this point, like, ‘What the hell is going on in the world?’ I was on the plane crying because, I don’t know, I’m a girl, I’m emotional. I love my sport. I wanted to compete. I need to make money, put food on the table, all that.
“But now it’s like, take a breath, and I realize this whole thing is so much bigger than me and my fight in the sport. Worldwide, people are dying. Yeah, I was upset at the time, but I’m just trying to be grateful that I’m healthy, no one I know is sick, knock on wood.”