When a couple of UFC fighters began giving voice to the concept of collective bargaining a number of years again, Leslie Smith rapidly rose to the forefront amongst energetic athletes keen to place themselves on the entrance strains within the push for group. Her Mission Spearhead drive might not have but united the UFC roster in opposition to their company masters, however it’s served as an introduction to the dialog for a lot of.
In the meanwhile, nevertheless, Smith admits that she’s put her focus into one thing extra necessary than working for improved negotiating leverage in blended martial arts. The Black Lives Matter motion has been launched again into the forefront of the American public discourse following the homicide of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Within the weeks that adopted Floyd’s killing, the nation has seen waves of protest—leading to quite a few clashes between police and protestors combating in opposition to police brutality.
Smith has been participating in these protests across the Oakland space—together with witnessing a drive by taking pictures throughout one occasion. She spoke about her experiences, and arrest for civil disobedience, in a current interview with MMA Preventing.
“Simply civil disobedience – they set a curfew, after which I made a decision to get arrested,” Smith mentioned when requested concerning the occasions that led to her being detained. “However it was with 4 18- to 20-year-old ladies that I bought arrested with, and I’ve a lot religion sooner or later. They have been superior, they have been fantastic, and I’m so comfortable and proud that this subsequent era is stepping up in ways in which the previous generations actually haven’t.”
“I used to be out [from jail] fairly rapidly,” she continued. “They mentioned that they weren’t going to ebook us into the jail; they mentioned that we have been citation-only. They took their time, although. They put us inside a van for a short time, then they transported us, then they left us there for a short time, after which they transported us to the jail, after which they left us there for a short time. It was about 2 o’clock [in the morning] once I bought out.”
The ‘Peacemaker’ highlighted how impressed she was by the younger activists she was protesting alongside. And, throughout their time ready in police custody collectively, she made it clear that this was one thing they need to be happy with, not apprehensive over.
“If I used to be ever hiring anyone and for some motive their police report got here up and I noticed that they’d been arrested for civil disobedience for protesting in opposition to police brutality, that may 100% put them to the highest of the record so far as my hiring would go,” Smith recounted telling her fellow protestors. It’s a difficulty Smith feels is necessary sufficient even to take precedence over her work with Mission Spearhead, and MMA labor relations.
“I really feel just like the Black Lives Matter protests occurring proper now are crucial factor,” Smith admitted, when requested about her push for collective bargaining in MMA. “If I had to decide on what do I care about in the entire extensive world, if the very last thing that I submit on my Instagram goes to be this stamp of what do I care about if I have been to die tomorrow, then I care much more about this nationwide motion to guard black individuals and different individuals of shade from police brutality in the US. I care about that far more than I do about anything.”
Smith final fought Arlene Blencowe at Bellator 233, in November of final yr—shedding a unanimous resolution. That loss got here on the heels of her Bellator debut, a win over Sinead Kavanaugh in July of 2019. She was launched from the UFC in 2017, on the again of wins over Irene Aldana and Amanda Lemos, seemingly as a consequence of her efforts to prepare fighters within the promotion.