Former UFC fighter Leslie Smith filed a complaint against the promotion with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after the UFC allegedly targeted her for the fighters efforts to organize a union with Project Spearhead.
The NLRB has issued a ruling on the complaint and it is has ruled against Smith, saying the that UFC didn’t retaliate against the fighter when they bought out her contract after a canceled bout at UFC Fight Night Atlantic City.
“Now, isn’t that convenient for the UFC? Their entire business model hung in the balance if a federal agency said, yes, these fighters are employees,” Smith’s attorney in Lucas Middlebrook said to MMA Junkie.
Smith has until October 3 to appeal the decision, which Middledrook has stated they intend to do.
Middlebrook even cites a recent meeting UFC President Dana White and United States President Donald Trump had as a part of why Smith lost the battle.
“The meeting lasted about two hours, and it was obvious from the tenor of the meeting which way they were leaning, and that was obviously in the UFC’s favor,” Middlebrook said. “And I asked the general counsel, ‘Why are we even here? Why does D.C. have this case?’ Region 4 issued a merit determination, then D.C. says (Washington) needs to see the case? In all my years practicing, I’ve never seen that happen. And you know what Peter Robb said in response to that? ‘I haven’t either.'”
If the appeal is also lost, it would leave Smith and Project Spearhead in a potentially bad spot in their efforts to unionize UFC fighters.