Leslie Smith Released From UFC After Canceled Aspen Ladd Bout

Leslie Smith, a women’s bantamweight contender failed to negotiate a new deal with the UFC, says she has been released by the UFC ahead of UFC Fight Night 128.

During weigh-ins on Friday, Aspen Ladd missed weight for her scheduled bout against Leslie Smith who happened to be in the last fight of her UFC contract, and that is when things started to look messy. Ladd came in 1.8 (137.8 ) pounds over for her match and was expected to lose 20-percent of her purse, payable to Smith. Project Spearhead leader Smith had an option to fight an overweight opponent; even Ladd offered to give Smith an extra $5,000 but Leslie declined to fight her, the organization used that opportunity to cut ties with a fighter, as per MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani.

Ladd issued a statement saying she had been willing to forfeit an extra five thousand dollars of her purse, over in order to Smith to make the fight happen:

Smith swiftly denied that claim:

Smith stood her ground in defense while speaking to MMA Fighting:

“I considered fighting Aspen anyway, purely out of pride. And another chance to showcase my skills in the Octagon. But if I had done that, it would have been purely pride. And I would have been fighting for free since I was already getting paid the money. Fighting for free out of pride is everything that I have been speaking out against. It’s not everything — there’s more to it. The manipulation of the fighters through pride was something that I felt pretty strongly about. So I’m not fighting her, because I don’t feel like I should fight for free.”

Smith told UFC that she is willing to take the fight with an overweight contender if they extend her contract, as Ladd is the last fight. Instead, UFC paid her full show and win purses – a sum totaling $62,000 and not to extend her contract.

“I figured I had some leverage in the situation,” Smith said. “I told the UFC that I would be willing to take the fight as long as they extended my contract. They did not want to extend my contract. Instead, they said they would pay me my win bonus in addition to my show money and that would fulfill the fight on my contract and they would not be extending it.”

The president of Project Spearhead Smith said she believes her bold attitude about labor issues in MMA is what cost her the spot on the UFC.

“It feels like the UFC is paying me off to go away,” Smith said.

Smith (10-7-1) is riding a two-fight winning streak and has won three of four.

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