clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Calgary Commission elects not to take disciplinary action against referee in Kim Couture fight


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there it is.

AX Combat 1, an event held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on July 8, 2011, featured a co-main event of Kim Couture vs. Sheila Bird, a fight won by the latter with a scissors choke in the first round.

The referee in the bout came under serious fire quickly after for his decision making process while Bird had the choke locked in. The short version of the story (read the long version with a detailed breakdown here) is that the ref in question failed to stop the fight for a full 10 seconds while Couture was completely unconscious.

Thankfully, the Calgary Combative Sports Commission launched an investigation into the matter to determine if any disciplinary action would be necessary.

And after a full review, the verdict is "not guilty" ... of anything ... at all.

As unfortunate as that is, it's equally as ridiculous when reading the statement released by the Calgary Commission in which they threw their full support behind Len Koivisto, the referee in question.

Here it is, in its entirety (via

"As standard practice, debriefing meetings are always held amongst commission members and officials following any supervised combative sports event held in Calgary. The committee discussed the call made by the official for the Couture vs. Bird bout. It was determined that a formal review would be conducted of the circumstances surrounding that call. After an in-depth investigation, the Calgary Combative Sports Commission members rendered a decision to support the official, Mr. Len Koivisto. No further action or investigations into the officiating of Mr. Koivisto will be required by the Commission. Mr. Koivisto has been involved in the combative sports industry for close to 40 years, the last 23 in various officiating capacities. He is a well respected boxing referee (nationally and internationally) and has officiated MMA (nationally) for several years in various jurisdictions in close to 400 matches without incident. He has always taken his ring official's duties very seriously and conducts himself with a great deal of professionalism."

Justice is lost, justice is raped, justice is gone. 

Especially troubling is the reason given as justification not to punish Mr. Koivisto. Essentially, the Calgary Commission is saying that his track record is stellar so therefore he is absolved of any blame for his egregious actions in the Couture fight.

Uh ... what?

This is the equivalent of a licensed driver with a perfect motorist record for 20 years suddenly developing a case of lead foot and wheeling their vehicle into a local business, endangering the lives of anyone within distance and everyone passing it off as okay because of the previously noted spotless driving record. 

Which is stupid. Terribly, terribly stupid.

No matter, though, because the decision is final and this closes the book on an incident that will likely be forgotten as quickly as fans outrage subsided and the fight world moved on.

Any thoughts on this before it goes away completely?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania