- Leslie Smith has been outspoken in regards to her role with Project Spearhead, which is working to unionize MMA fighters. Now, she's a free agent.
After Aspen Ladd missed weight for their planned bout Saturday at UFC Fight Night 128, Smith told MMAjunkie that she believes her contract is complete with the UFC.
"They said they had no interest in extending my contract at this time, and instead, they offered me my show and win money," Smith said. "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, a seven-fight veteran inside the Octagon, is 10-7-1 overall in her career. She won four of those seven bouts and was slated to headline the UFC Fight Pass portion of the card vs. Ladd, who is unbeaten in her career. She declined the fight with Ladd even after being offered a portion of her fight purse.
"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,"Smith said. "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."
- This summer's UFC 226 card is shaping up to be a big one, as Max Holloway will defend his featherweight title against Brian Ortega. The championship bout is added to the planned Stipe Miocic-Daniel Cormier title fight for the heavyweight belt on July 7 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Holloway was forced out of his fight with Frankie Edgar due to an injury, but offered to step in on short notice as a replacement for Tony Ferguson to meet Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, he was knocked from that fight by the athletic commission due to needing to cut too much weight.
Ortega, meanwhile, earned his shot at the belt with a finish over Edgar. He is a perfect 14-0 in his career, including a 6-0 record with the UFC.
The bout was first reported by MMAjunkie.
- It appears the UFC is going to promote CM Punk's second MMA fight just as heavily as the first. The promotion released the official fight poster for UFC 225, which features two championship matches. And Punk is included on it.
The former WWE superstar is scheduled to face Mike Jackson. The event also features Robert Whittaker defending his middleweight title vs. Yoel Romero and Rafael dos Anjos taking on Colby Covington for the interim welterweight belt.