Leslie Smith’s ongoing fight against the UFC for employee rights just took a major hit.
Last week, Smith’s attorney Lucas Middlebrook had said that after speaking to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that the organization would be filing a complaint against the UFC unless a settlement was reached.
The complaint stemmed from Smith believing the UFC retaliated against her after she had been working to organize a union and that ultimately led to her release from the promotion. Smith has long argued that fighters in the UFC are employees rather than independent contractors and this complaint from the NLRB would have gone a long way towards backing up her claim.
Unfortunately it appears that complaint is being shuffled to a different department before any complaint is actually filed.
According to Bloomberg Law, the NLRB decided against filing a complaint against the UFC and will instead send her case to the Division of Advice after receiving guidance from the national headquarters in Washington D.C. The Division of Advice “provides guidance and instructions to the agency’s regional directors in unfair labor practice cases” according to Bloomberg.
“It’s really odd the way it happened,” Middlebrook said about the change of decisions from the NLRB.
Late today Reg. 4 informed us it had been instructed, post-decision, to send case to D.C for review. Opinion: UFC, unable to prevail on merits, pulled political strings to delay responsibility. Blatant delay tactic-Leslie will take all legal means to ensure Reg. 4 decision stands https://t.co/ldQhAzAPyV
— Lucas Middlebrook (@lkmiddleb) June 30, 2018
The UFC also issued a statement on the matter after news of the complaint was first raised last week.
“There has been no decision by the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board in this case whether to proceed with a complaint against UFC, contrary to the prior representations of Leslie Smith and her attorney, which are no longer accurate,” UFC officials wrote in the statement.
This move may come in a larger overhaul of the NLRB as the organization is reportedly getting more oversight from the main office in Washington D.C. The case being shifted to the Division of Advice seems to suggest that this will be more beneficial to the UFC as no complaint has been filed against them now.