By Jason Moles
After making history in June 2009 as the first female MMA referee to oversee a UFC fight, Kim Winslow drew controversy earlier this month for her handling of the Muhammad Lawal vs. Lorenz Larkin match at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine. Last week, CagePotato had the chance to chat with Winslow, who spoke to us about her life inside and outside of the cage, her pioneering role in MMA, and how she responds to criticism of her job performance. Read on for the full Q & A…
CagePotato: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Tell us a little bit about how you first were introduced to MMA, and when you knew you wanted to be an MMA referee.
Kim Winslow: I introduced myself to martial arts in 1992 by studying my first art form, Tae Kwon Do. I then saw the first UFC event in 1993 and was instantly enthralled. I had to watch every one of them and could hardly wait for the next one to come out. As the sport evolved so did my training in MMA, and I switched to more modern art forms and trained in Muay Thai, BJJ, kickboxing, boxing, grappling, street fighting, Krav Maga, some judo, and lately Capoeira for fun.
CP: What experience or training is required before a commission will license you?
KW: Every state has different requirements and it is your responsibility to find out what they are and meet them when you apply. Refs are required to renew their license every year in each state, and in some states twice a year.
CP: Back in 2009 at the Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale, you made history by becoming the first woman to ever ref a fight in the UFC. How difficult was it to break into the industry and how does it feel to be a UFC pioneer?