Sunday, December 4, 2022

White On Aspen Ladd’s Release: It Had To Be Done

UFC President Dana White has explained the decision to release Aspen Ladd, claiming the promotion was left with no choice.

At UFC Vegas 60 earlier this month, Ladd was scheduled to enter the Octagon to face Sara McMann in a bantamweight contest. In a familiar tale, the 27-year-old missed weight, tipping the scales two pounds over the non-title fight limit.

As a result, the matchup was pulled from the card, marking the third time Ladd had caused a fight cancellation owing to her struggles on the scale.

Previously, the once-promising prospect had an April 2018 bout against Leslie Smith scrapped following a 1.8-pound weight miss. And last October, Ladd’s clash with Macy Chiasson fell through ahead of UFC Vegas 38 after concerns over the Californian’s physical condition following a one-pound weight miss.

Having failed to correct her cuts and manage her weight, Ladd — who was highly touted after three Octagon wins left her 8-0 as a professional — was released by the MMA leader this week.

Unsurprisingly, most concluded that Ladd’s indiscretions on the scale had forced the UFC’s hand, and the promotion’s chief has now confirmed as much.

White: “Part Of The Job Is Making Weight”

During the post-fight press conference following this week’s episode of Dana White’s Contender Series, the UFC president was asked about Ladd’s release.

After noting that the organization had done everything possible to work with her, White said they were left with no choice following the 27-year-old’s latest failed pairing.

“We tried to work with her,” White said. “She’s a great kid. She’s a really nice person. And it’s never fun when you have somebody who’s actually talented… she’s a talented fighter. But part of the job is making weight. I mean, she’s not made weight so many times (the release) had to happen. So not something you want to do but something that had to be done.”

Many fighters have credited the nutritionists and other employees working at the UFC Performance Institute for fine-tuning their weight management, including lightweight Dan Hooker. “The Hangman” tested the waters back at featherweight last year, and despite some questioning the difficulty of the cut, the New Zealander claimed it was relatively smooth sailing.

For whatever reason, Ladd was unable to utilize the promotion’s resources for cuts, and with that, she now finds herself outside the Octagon.

While there’s been no confirmation of her next steps in MMA yet, some have suggested a move to PFL would be wise owing to the promotion’s lightweight division. Elsewhere, a featherweight stint in Bellator, where Cris Cyborg currently reigns, could be on the cards.

Aspen Ladd
Image Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

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