Kim Couture

Refereeing and judging are the two most thankless jobs in all of mixed martial arts.

More often than not when you hear a referee or judge’s name it’s because something erroneous has happened during a fight, or the scoring of a fight.

There are a great many good calls by both referees and judges that go unnoticed, but when someone makes a bad call, the finger needs to be pointed and issue dealt with immediately.

That’s the case with the fight between former Strikeforce fighter Kim Couture and Sheila Bird at AX Combat 1, which went down this weekend in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

After hitting the mat, Bird locked on a leg scissor choke on her opponent and after a few moments, her legs and arms went limp, an obvious sign that she had been choked out. Now the fact that a fighter was choked out isn’t uncommon of course in MMA, but when the referee takes several seconds to finally check on Couture and stop the bout is what comes into question in the situation.

Couture remained down on the canvas for a few moments after the choke was released, but she was revived and stood up to wave to the crowd in Canada.

Speaking with MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Couture said that she was physically just fine following the fight, and reports that she was injured or badly hurt from the fight were all false.

“I’m fine,” Couture said. “I woke up and I thought the fight was still going on. Once I realized what was happening, I stood up and waved to the crowd, but I’m fine.”

Despite Couture’s health following the fight, the Calgary Commission will be investigating the situation after the referee in the fight seemingly made a dangerously bad call by not stopping the fight earlier.

“This matter is under review by the Calgary Combative Sports Commission and until a thorough investigation has been conducted there will be no further comment,” said Commission representative Shirley Stunzi in an email communication with MMAWeekly.com on Sunday.

The commission did suspend Couture for 60 days, but she was medically cleared following the fight. Couture also sustained a small cut on her eyebrow, but she stated that no stitches were required for the laceration.

Currently, the referee in question has not been named, but the commission will be investigating the situation and offer a ruling at a later date.

Below is the video of the fight in question, the choke is applied and the situation occurs around the 2 minute mark.


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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