The story of Kim Couture and her fateful trip to Canada to fight Sheila Bird at AX Combat 1 gets more bizarre by the day.
Here’s the background: Couture, former wife of UFC Hall of Famer and MMA legend Randy Couture, has used that name and notoriety to get herself various fight bookings with various promotions.
One of these was with AX Combat, who held an event in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on July 8, 2011. Couture was matched up against the previously mentioned Bird, a much more experienced and quite simply, a much better fighter.
The actual fight reflected as much when Bird submitted Couture with a scissors choke in the very first round. That’s where it gets interesting.
The referee in the bout came under serious fire for his dangerous and reprehensible officiating. He allowed Couture to continue to get choked for a full 10 seconds after she had lost consciousness. Read more about that here.
After the uproar, it came to light that the Calgary Commission would be launching an investigation into the matter to review the situation. Read more about that here.
It would seem that should mark the end of it and all involved could move on with their mixed martial arts lives. Nope.
As it turns out, it actually, inconceivably, gets worse.
Not only was the fight a bit of questionable matchmaking, it was also made while Couture was still on suspension in the state of New Jersey.
Tumbling down the hole.
At Ring of Combat 32, Couture lost a decision to Munah Holland and she was subsequently "suspended indefinitely pending CT of facial bones and ENT clearance upon review."
At that point, if she wants to fight again, for any promotion, she must be removed from the suspended list or, you guessed it, she cannot fight.
According to Nick Lembo of the New Jersey Athletic Control Board (via MMA Weekly), Couture never satisfied the terms of her suspension and, to this day, she is still suspended.
Which means she never should have been allowed to fight and never should have been in a position to suffer the consequences of dangerously incompetent referreeing in the first place.
Because of Couture’s decision to go along with fighting despite being under suspension, she may now face disciplinary action, as well as the Calgary Commission that allowed her to fight.
What a mess.
Not that detractors of MMA, which has struggled for acceptance in various parts of Canada and still struggles in some states in the U.S. (looking at you, New York), need any more ammunition but this is the exact sort of disorganization that leads to serious problems.
And just imagine how bad this could have been had Couture come away seriously injured.
For her part, she believes the media and fans are making too big of a deal of the choke being allowed to go on for too long and also stated she believed she did everything she needed in order to get clearance to fight.
Her first statement is unfortunate and her second is up for investigation.
Any new information that comes in, we’ll be sure to pass along. In the meantime, sound off on the utter and complete mishandling of this entire situation by all involved.