Leslie Smith has made her distaste for the UFC very clear in recent years. Now she goes after the organization for the lack of merit given to fighters granted title shots off of a loss.
Smith has done almost everything in her power to advocate for fighter’s rights. She has been the driving force behind Project Spearhead, in an attempt to unionize the sport. Although that has not necessarily turned out as planned, it was one of the best efforts to date, of getting the fighters to join together for their own best interests.
Throughout this constant struggle, Smith has been very vocal about her feelings towards the UFC, to the point where they even released her. However that has not stopped her from being upfront about her opinions. In fact, she showed this again in a recent interview, where she takes aim at the UFC for giving Yoel Romero a title shot, despite the fact he was on a two fight skid.
“I think it’s unfortunate because it makes a mockery of merit-based aspects of a fighter working their way up to reach a title shot,” Smith said. “I think [Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero is an appealing fight], however do I think that it should take precedence over everybody else that’s worked their way up for a title? No, I don’t.
“That’s kind of the whole point of, like, winning, is that you’re supposed to be working your way up and getting higher ranked and getting a title shot. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any promotion putting together an exciting fight, it’s a superfight basically, it’s a superfight with a title on the line, but I think it would be nice if there were two categories: A superfight category and then a merit-based championship category.”
When asked if she felt that unionizing would prevent these types of situations, Leslie Smith gave an unsurprising answer.
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“Absolutely,” Smith said in regards to whether a union would lead to less controversial title shots. “It’s just another example of the promotion doing what’s best for the promotion and screwing the fighters over in the process. For a fighter, for anybody in any kind of job to have a clear path towards an objective, that’s what anybody wants in any situation. And to have that clear path totally taken away and to have a ranking change and to not get the opportunities that a person thinks that they should have earned, I mean that’s super f-ked.”
Now to be fair, there were not exactly a ton of great for deserving middleweight contenders who were not injured at the time. Nevertheless, the point Leslie Smith is trying to make is still evident in the UFC’s booking of Henry Cejudo vs Jose Aldo, despite having two rightful contenders. However things like this will never change, unless the fighters do something to change it.