UFC women’s bantamweight fighter Leslie Smith is no longer connected to the Professional Fighters Association. This, after the said organization leaked some names on its fighter board to the media, despite promising confidentiality.
The UFC fighter initially announced this decision on social media, posting a lengthy open letter about the topic.
This is an open letter to apologize to all the fighters, trainers and managers that I introduced to Jeff Borris in the…
Posted by Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith on Monday, November 28, 2016
Smith discussed it further with MMA Fighting, saying that said she spoke to co-founder Jeff Borris last week to make her intentions known. She only did so after a few weeks of mulling it over.
“I didn’t want to do it immediately, because I know the media and the UFC and really everybody else who have been following along have been laughing at us about the lack of unity in an effort to try and unify people,” Smith told MMA Fighting. “It’s ridiculous and I totally agree that it’s ridiculous and it’s embarrassing. And I didn’t want to contribute to that at all. I see the benefits of a unified front and I would like to be part of a unified front.”
The PFA’s main objective was to unionize fighters, and Smith was one of the few fighters from the UFC who showed vocal support for the organization. For his part, the PFA’s labor lawyer and the other co-founder Lucas Middlebrook also cut ties with the PFA, while expressing major disappointment.
“It troubled me because the one thing that I was advocating for, which was an executive board of fighters, was because you could gain some solidarity and some trust and that simple release — or not keeping that information close to your hip — was a setback and it did exactly the opposite of what I was advocating we should do, which was put fighters in decision-making roles,” said Middlebrook, who is also Nick Diaz’s attorney.
But for Borris, having Smith and Middlebrook sever their ties with the PFA is nothing that he is worried about.
“I have many other fighters who have greater stature in the fight game who have committed to me. There are many labor lawyers who are vying for that position.”