Kim Couture Moving On, Says Late Stoppage “Not a Big Deal”
By Kelsey Mowatt
While video footage of Sheila Bird’s choke out victory over Kim Couture Friday night has outraged many fans and observers throughout the MMA world, Couture isn’t quite so sure at this juncture what the fuss is all about.
Couture informed FCF today that she has yet to see footage from the AX Combat-promoted bout, which shows that she was unconscious for several seconds before the referee intervened and told Bird to break the fight-ending leg scissors choke.
“A few people hit me up on Facebook and Twitter and said it was a really bad stoppage,” said Couture while discussing the July 8 bout, which took place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “But once it’s done I really don’t dwell on it too much. I’m already thinking about the next one. It’s not like a knockout from a punch where you have a concussion or something. For me, it’s not a big deal.”
When FCF contacted the Calgary Combative Sports Commission regarding referee Len Koivisto’s performance at the event, the commission responded by saying that an investigation was underway, and that there would be no “further comment” at this time. Not only has footage of the late stoppage sparked anger in many fans, but calls for the Commission to reprimand or even fire the referee have been made online.
“If I was watching one of my friends or fighters, and I saw that happen, I’m sure I’d be concerned as well,” noted Couture, who could be seen having convulsions after the bout was stopped. “I’m just one of those people who doesn’t make a big deal about anything. To think that people are trying to get this guy fired, I don’t want to be part of anything like that, you know?
“I can only speak for how I feel, and once it was over, I got up and let everyone know I was okay,” Couture added. “There was no trip to the hospital, there were no stitches, there was no ambulance. I went out with my opponent and her husband and got some food.”
FCF also contacted the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission, and according to Executive Director Pat Reid, Koivisto is a highly respected boxing ref who has not supervised any MMA bouts for the city since Reid assumed his position in August, 2009. Although at this juncture Couture doesn’t believe anyone should lose their job over the incident, she does concede that perhaps what happened to her Friday could be indicative of a larger problem regarding officiating in the sport.
“I think a lot of fights I’ve seen lately – not just mine – have had a lot of bad calls,” Couture said. “I think maybe there needs (to be) a lot more education for refs, but as far as mine, I can’t really comment until I study and watch it.”
The technique that the BJJ black belt and highly decorated grappler utilized to finish Couture off is certainly not one commonly seen in professional MMA. The bout, which was just Bird’s second, moved her record to 2-0 while Couture’s fell to 3-5.
“Sheila even said afterwards that she’s known for that; that’s her move,” Couture noted.
“She told me that she told the ref ‘she’s out’’. She wasn’t cranking on me or cranking on my arm, which she could have easily done. She was very professional.”
Now Couture is looking to put the controversy behind her so that she can put some wins together before 2011 is up.
“I’d like to get three or four more bouts in for the rest of the year,” said Couture, who also informed FCF that she has signed a new, multifaceted fight and promoting agreement with a new organization that will be announced shortly . “I’d like to stay as busy as possible. I was supposed to have a kickboxing fight here in Las Vegas on July 30th, but I have the standard suspension now because of my last fight. I’m going to go get my medicals done to show that I’m totally fine and see if hopefully I can get my suspension lifted.”