Aspen Ladd Misses Weight, Fight Against Leslie Smith Cancelled for UFC in New Jersey
UFC Fight Night in Atlantic City has lost another bout after women’s bantamweight fighter Aspen Ladd failed to make weight and her opponent Leslie Smith was unable to come to an agreement to accept the bout at a catch weight.
Ladd came in at 137.8 pounds — 1.8 pounds over the bantamweight limit for a non-title fight. Ladd then agreed to give a portion of her purse to Smith to accept the fight at a different contracted weight but she refused.
Ladd says she then offered to bump up the offer by adding another $5,000 to compensate Smith for accepting the fight, but again no agreement could be made. Ladd then apologized for missing weigh in the first place, which led to the chain reaction of events that led to her fight being cancelled.
I apologize to my opponent Leslie Smith, the fans and the UFC. I missed weight by 1.8 lbs due do to certain female circumstances. Regardless, it’s not an excuse, we consulted with the doctor and a decision was made not to continue cutting weight. We made every effort with the UFC to keep the fight alive, even offered Leslie an additional $5,000 on top of my 20% purse deduction. The UFC told me Leslie will not accept the fight. I would kindly ask the UFC to rebook this fight assuming Leslie will take at the earliest convenience anywhere in the world. Sorry everyone I understand I'll get a lot of hate from some; shit happens, I'm sorry. Back home back to work.
At that point, the UFC was forced to pull the fight from the card.
Smith later explained in an interview with MMAJunkie that the UFC opted to pay her full show and win money — $62,000 — and then release her from her contract, which only had one fight left on the deal.
Smith is now considered a free agent able to sign with any mixed martial arts promotion as she said the UFC wasn’t interested in retaining her services.
In recent months, Smith has been very vocal about organizing a union effort for UFC athletes, which probably didn’t help matters much after she turned down the fight with Ladd after several concessions were made to allow the bout to move forward on Saturday night’s card.
It’s no secret the UFC doesn’t look kindly on fighters who refuse to accept a fight after an opponent misses weight despite the fact that contractually they are not obligated to compete after such an incident occurs.
UFC Fight Night from Atlantic City will now move forward with 11 total bouts on Saturday night.