In the Octagon, I had won 3 out of my last 4 fights and 2 in a row with the loss coming to Cris Cyborg. I was scheduled to fight the last fight on my UFC contract against another ranked contender at UFC Fight Night 128 on April 21, 2018 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. On Friday, April 20, 2018, my opponent missed the contracted weight of 135 pounds. I attempted to extend my contract with the UFC after my opponent missed weight. However, the UFC, in perceived retaliation against my legally protected right to unionize, declined to extend my contract. In addition, the UFC advised me it would pay me, in an unprecedented fashion, my show and win money without fighting so that the remaining fight on my contract would be considered fulfilled. I was removed from the UFC posted rankings less than 48 hours later.
I have been one of few UFC fighters to publicly speak in favor of a fighter's union. I also recently launched Project Spearhead, an organization that is currently collecting authorization cards from UFC fighters to file with the National Labor Relations Board. I was the ninth ranked UFC Women's Bantanweight in the world and had won three of my last four fights, but the UFC's actions resulted in me being removed as a fighter in the UFC. It is my opinion that I was removed from the UFC in direct retaliation for exercising my rights to organize a union. The UFC has now forced me to enforce these rights through legal channels, and I need help funding the legal fees necessary to continue my fight for the right to unionize free from coercion. I want equitable treatment for all UFC fighters.
I sincerely appreciate each and every donation I may receive, no matter the size, and I consider each one a crucial building block toward equitable fighter rights, terms and conditions of employment in the UFC.
Leslie "The Peacemaker" Smith
Graphic Design Credit: Marori Morningstar