Management group settles with Leslie Smith, moves suit against Nate Diaz to federal court

The Ballengee Group is dropping a management lawsuit against UFC women’s bantamweight Leslie Smith after settlement terms were reached, the firm’s attorney attorney Jason Friedman told MMAjunkie.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and Smith declined comment. Ballengee is still pursuing legal action against Nate Diaz and attorney Sam Awad, named as co-defendants in the suit, and moved its complaint to Texas federal court earlier this month.

Diaz and Awad have filed a motion to move the case to California, where both reside. Their attorney argues the only connection to Texas is that Diaz “allegedly” had a contract with Ballengee, while Awad has no connection to the group. Friedman said a response is forthcoming.

Nate Diaz

Ballengee claims Diaz skipped out on paying commissions after advising him on a bout against Michael Johnson and negotiating deals to fight Conor McGregor at UFC 200 and UFC 202. The management group also alleges Awad tortiously interfered with that agreement and advised Smith and Diaz not to pay for management services.

The group seeks “exemplary damages” and “actual, economic, and non-economic damages in an amount within the jurisdictional limits” in addition to court fees.

Diaz, 32, is a leading candidate to face McGregor if he returns to the octagon after a failed effort to beat boxing great Floyd Mayweather this past Saturday in “The Money Fight.” Diaz attended the mega-event and made his presence known when cameras caught him jawing at former UFC heavyweight and Showtime commentator Brendan Schaub.

Diaz (19-11 MMA,14-9 UFC) has made it clear he won’t return to action unless there’s a big payday. He turned down a fight with current interim lightweight title challenger Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) at UFC 213 when his financial demands weren’t met.

Smith (9-7-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC) is slated to face Lina Lansberg at UFC Fight Night 113.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 113 results: Leslie Smith batters Amanda Lemos for TKO, calls out Bethe Correia

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The instant she got the signal to fight, Leslie Smith marched across the cage and put the pressure on Amanda Lemos, and she didn’t stop until referee Rich Mitchell forced her to some eight minutes later.

With a striking game that never gave Lemos (6-1-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) room to breathe, Smith (10-7-1 MMA, 4-3 UFC) battered her opponent first into exhaustion, and then into defeat, earning the TKO stoppage at the 2:53 mark of Round 2.

The women’s bantamweight bout opened up the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 113 event at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass ahead of the rest of the card on FS1.

Smith wasted no time going to work on Lemos in this one, and it was the unrelenting pressure and pace more than the damage of the strikes themselves that eventually took its toll. Using a mix of punches, low kicks, and knees in close, Smith pinned Lemos against the fence and kept her there for almost the entire first round, burying her under an assault that never let up.

Lemos tried to keep her defenses tight at first, but by the second round she was baited into throwing back with more reckless intent, trying anything she could to force Smith to back off and give her some space. That only succeeded in inviting more offense from Smith, who kept the pressure on a visibly weary Lemos until the answering strikes became fewer and further between.

With Lemos finally unable to do much more than cover up and eat damage up against the fence, Smith kept firing until the referee Mitchell had no choice but to step in and wave it off less than three minutes into the second frame.

After the win, Smith used her interview time in the cage to call out former women’s bantamweight title challenger Bethe Correia. She pointed to her hand and said four wins get you a title shot in her divisions – her first two fingers represented her back-to-back wins, and the middle finger was reserved for Correia.

Smith has now won two straight in the UFC. Lemos suffers the first defeat of her pro career in her UFC debut.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 113 results include:

  • Leslie Smith def. Amanda Lemos via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:53

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Abbey Subhan contributed to this report on site in Glasgow.)

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Report: Newcomer Amanda Lemos in for Lina Lansberg vs. Leslie Smith at UFC-Scotland

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The UFC’s return to Scotland next month will see a Brazilian fighter make her promotional debut.

Amanda Lemos (6-0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is set to replace Lina Lansberg (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in a women’s bantamweight bout against Leslie Smith (9-7-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 113, according to a report from Brazilian news outlet Combate. No reason was given for Lansberg’s withdrawal from the card, and the UFC has not yet made a formal announcement.

UFC Fight Night 113 takes place July 16 at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the lineup hasn’t been finalized.

The 30-year-old Lemos has stoppages in all six of her pro wins, four three of which have come under Brazil’s Jungle Fight banner. Her lone fight to not end in a finish was a majority draw in January 2016. It will have been more than a year since her most recent fight when she steps into the UFC’s octagon for the first time.

Smith, a former Invicta FC title challenger, has alternated wins and losses during her current six-fight UFC run. The 34-year-old, who’s recently been an outspoken proponent of fighters’ rights, is currently on a 2-1 run with victories over Rin Nakai and Irene Aldana sandwiched around a TKO loss to “Cyborg.”

Lansberg, a 35-year-old Swedish muay Thai fighter, went 6-1 to open her career and score a UFC contract. However, in her promotional debut, she had the unenviable task of fighting Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino in a 140-pound catchweight fight, which “Cyborg” won via second-round TKO. However, Lansberg rebounded in March with a close (and bloody) decision victory over Lucie Pudilova. But now her chance to string together back-to-back wins is put on hold.

With the change, the latest UFC Fight Night 113 card includes:

  • Gunnar Nelson vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
  • Joanne Calderwood vs. Cynthia Calvillo
  • Paul Craig vs. Khalil Rountree
  • Ryan Janes vs. Jack Marshman
  • James Mulheron vs. Justin Willis
  • Galore Bofando vs. Charlie Ward
  • Bobby Nash vs. Danny Roberts
  • Paul Felder vs. Stevie Ray
  • Mitch Gagnon vs. Brett Johns
  • Alexandre Pantoja vs. Neil Seery
  • Amanda Lemos vs. Leslie Smith

For more on UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC stars Nate Diaz and Leslie Smith being sued by management group

Nate Diaz and Leslie Smith’s former management group is taking the fighters to court for allegedly skipping out on commissions and conspiring with an attorney to break management agreements.

The Ballengee Group seeks over $1 million in damages, among other claims alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation and tortious interference in a lawsuit filed Monday by the firm’s attorney in Dallas County (Texas) court.

News of Diaz’s legal trouble was first reported by TMZ.com, and MMAjunkie obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which also includes Smith and attorney Sam Awad.

Nate Diaz could not be reached for comment, and calls to Smith and Awad went unreturned.

The suit, filed by attorney Jason H. Friedman, claims Ballengee signed Nate Diaz as a client in the summer of 2014 after his older brother Nick had signed and recommended him.

Diaz, the complaint states, was “looking for a management team that could take him to the next level which he had previously been unable to do.”

The brothers “represented and assured” Ballengee that in exchange for representing the younger Diaz, he would pay the firm “on the same terms and as set forth in” the elder Diaz, “and that The Ballengee Group would, if such terms were agreeable to it, represent Nate on all future bouts and business matters.”

The firm subsequently negotiated with the UFC on the younger Diaz’s behalf for several bouts, including his blockbuster against Conor McGregor at UFC 196, an ill-fated rematch planned for UFC 200 and a follow-up at UFC 202.

Diaz wound up making a disclosed $500,000 for UFC 196 and $2 million for UFC 202, though his final pay was likely much higher.

On the Diaz brothers’ recommendation, the management firm also picked up Smith, negotiating a promotional agreement in March 2016.

But just four months later in July, or one month after terms for UFC 202 had been negotiated, the suit claims Nate Diaz “unexpectedly” terminated its representation, and Smith did the same in November.

The suit claims that unbeknownst to Ballengee, attorney Awad had begun “interfering with their agreements” with the Diaz brothers and advised Nate Diaz and Smith not to pay for their services.

As a result, the firm is suing Awad for tortious interference while alleging the defendants “intended to avoid payment for the plaintiff’s services by intentionally or knowingly securing the performance of the service by deception,” or “knowingly securing the performance of a service by agreeing to provide compensation and, after the service was rendered, failing to make payment after receiving notice demanding payment.”

The suit argues had the interference not occurred, Ballengee would still be working with Nate Diaz and Smith. It requests “exemplary damages” be awarded to the management firm in addition to “actual, economic, and non-economic damages in an amount within the jurisdictional limits” of the court, as well as attorney’s fees.

Diaz (19-11 MMA,14-9 UFC), 32, remains inactive on the UFC’s roster since turning down a fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 213 when the promotion didn’t reach his financial demands. The rematch with McGregor at UFC 202 ended in a unanimous decision loss, reversing a triumphant submission win over the current UFC lightweight champ at UFC 196.

Smith (9-7-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC), meanwhile, is slated to face Lina Lansberg at UFC Fight Night 113. She’s hoping to build on a recent decision over Mexican prospect Irene Aldana at UFC on FOX 22.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie