What started as a controversial decision by a referee in Calgary, may now stretch further and cause Kim Couture to get in hot water with the state of New Jersey.
Reports surfaced on Monday that Couture was actually under medical suspension from her October 2010 fight in New Jersey at Ring of Combat, and had never been cleared to return to action by the state.
According to Nick Lembo from the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, Couture was suspended from her fight in the state last October, and had never completed the medical clearance necessary to have her suspension lifted.
“It is correct that Couture was medically suspended by the NJSACB on October 23 2010, that the medical suspension remains in place at the current time, and that it will remain in place until the terms are satisfied,” Lembo wrote in an email to MMAWeekly.com on Monday.
MMAWeekly.com later spoke to Couture, who explained she was under the impression that her suspension in New Jersey was a standard medical suspension and that no other information would be required once the time had lapsed.
The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board had asked for a CT scan of her facial bones for orbital and nasal concerns, and ENT clearance.
According to Couture, she didn’t suffer any facial injuries, but the Calgary Commission got wind of the suspension the day before her fight with Sheila Bird so she stepped in and got all the necessary paperwork filed.
“I didn’t even get hurt in my face in that fight. I had a bloody nose, but you could flick me in the nose and it bleeds,” Couture told MMAWeekly.com.
Couture underwent jaw surgery in February to repair another issue that was unrelated to the fight, but had the necessary scans done during that time and had them readily available to send to the commissions in both Calgary and New Jersey.
“I had my doctor send a letter and a CT scan for my jaw surgery to New Jersey and Calgary commission, and I know they received it because they were on the phone with the Calgary commission as well. Then he hand wrote a letter that when I went in for my surgery in February that there was no facial damage, that he was just going in there to tighten up some TMJ issues,” Couture said.
“They were faxed everything they asked for.”
Couture went onto say that she had been in communication with Lembo the day of her fight in Calgary, but the commission’s doctor in New Jersey hadn’t been readily available to review the scans to clear her from that state’s suspension.
“The surgeon’s office sent it over to Calgary and to New Jersey, and I also talked to Keith Kizer and Marc Ratner and let them know the situation. I did everything on my part to make sure it was fine, and Calgary got the information from the surgeon so they let me fight. This is like right before the fight, it’s like we had two weeks to deal with this, this was right before,” Couture stated.
“I know for a fact that Jersey that they received the faxes from my surgeon.”
The Calgary Commission doctors reviewed the information provided to them according to Couture, and she was cleared to fight.
When reached for comment on the situation, Lembo further explained New Jersey’s stance in all of this including Couture’s statement that she was unaware that she was under an indefinite suspension from the state.
“Kim herself signed both suspension notice and insurance papers on 10-23, after her fight. She was suspended pending a CT scan of facial bones, for orbital and nasal concerns, and ENT clearance of same,” Lembo wrote in an email to MMAWeekly.com.
“On the very evening of the fight, we received an MRI of her jaw.”
Because of the fact that Couture still fought in Calgary despite her suspension from New Jersey, Lembo says that she may face disciplinary action from the state.
“Again, she remains on suspension and Commissioner (Aaron) Davis will now be reviewing whether a disciplinary suspension is appropriate,” Lembo said.
Couture has maintained that she did everything necessary once she was notified of the suspension to rectify things with New Jersey. She did go on to say that she would be contacting Lembo and the commission in New Jersey to try and clear up the situation.
MMAWeekly.com will have more information on this story as it develops.
Following the publication of this article, MMAWeekly.com received a response from the Calgary Combative Sports Commission stating they were under the impression that the suspension imposed by New Jersey on Kim Couture had been lifted, and therefore they licensed her to fight.
According to the statement, they are now confirming if that suspension was indeed lifted and are looking into that situation now.
“The Calgary Combative Sports Commission supports the suspensions established by other Commissions,” the statement read. “Fighter safety is of utmost importance to us and we work toward that end in all the actions we take as a Commission.”
As previously quoted, New Jersey has stated that their suspension stands and has not been lifted at this time.