Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight contender, Leslie Smith, will not be returning to the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion after her contract was fulfilled just last month.
And by fulfilled I mean, “bought out so that she would go away.”
But she’s not going quietly, thanks to a labor complaint filed against UFC on Wednesday with the United States National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), one that accuses her former employer of cutting Smith loose as punishment for all that union talk.
From labor attorney Lucas Middlebrook (via MMA Fighting):
“Leslie Smith was one of the only UFC fighters willing to openly exercise her rights to form, join or assist a union. ZUFFA, with the termination of Ms. Smith, has delivered an unlawful message to the remainder of its fighter employees, which is: dare to form, join or assist a union and you too will accompany Ms. Smith not fighting in the UFC. This message contravenes the very purpose of the NLRA and ZUFFA cannot be allowed to continue flouting the Act. No person or entity is above the law.”
Not even this “Notorious” thug.
Smith is behind Project Spearhead, “a democratic, fighter-led organization wherein fighters make all Association decisions, including hiring professionals and Association governance free from outside influence.”
The goal is to create a fighter’s union.
It’s a topic that is familiar to most MMA fans and despite the support of most fighters, there hasn’t been enough folks willing to step forward and put themselves on the line, probably for fear of retaliation.
Can’t imagine where anyone would get an idea like that.