Leslie Smith launches “Project Spearhead”, an effort to unionize fighters

UFC bantamweight contender Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith has officially launched Project Spearhead– an effort to form a union for UFC athletes.Smith’s name has been frequently involved in discussions with unions. Smith told MMA Fighting that this attempt at unionization will differ from past attempts– “This is kind of just another in a long string of efforts, but I think a lot of things separate it from other ones. One of them being that this has no outside influences. This is for the fighters, it was come up with by me– a fighter.”

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Smith is the current interim President of Project Spearhead. UFC lightweight Kajan Johnson has taken the role of interim vice president.


The official Project Spearhead website was launched last Friday. The project is self-described as “an association of professional mixed martial artists intended to spearhead the process of moving toward unionizing all professional mixed martial arts.”

The Professional Fighters Association, The MMA Athletes Association, and The MMA Fighters Association have all previously attempted to unionize or force change in the business of MMA. For different reasons, these attempts have been largely unsuccessful.

Smith commented on past failed attempts, stating, “I think that those efforts failed because they were not motivated by the right reasons.”

New York labor lawyer Lucas Middlebrook, who gained MMA interest a few years back when he represented Nick Diaz in his marijuana case vs the Nevada State Athletic Commission, is joining Project Spearhead.

The UFC and Invicta FC veteran feels confident about Project Spearhead: “Everybody’s into it. Everybody likes the idea of it. Everybody wants to get more bargaining power from the UFC. The thing is everybody has their different issues that they’re going through, but it’s all the same issues. It all boils down to people not getting enough respect from the UFC and being stuck in these restrictive contracts and not being able to move past that. Everybody has their different arguments with the UFC, but they’re all the same at the end of the day.”

Source: MMA Fighting

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One comment

  1. good luck to leslie but really this isn’t going to work. Oh i wish it did! but the UFC by definition relies on most of its people to be hard-luck tough guys who can’t or don’t want to do team sports, so they do MMA. That makes them automatically disadvantaged in negotiation, because they can’t go to a higher paying sport. How many of them are ex-criminals, drug addicts, waitresses? MMA is a perfect sport for them because of the primal nature of fighting. And MMA has a small audience base, compared to other sports, so there will be very little money in it.

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