Danielle is the first televised female MMA Referee in the United Kingdom and is currently pursuing her chosen career in America. She comes from English Aristocracy and has a family that would make almost anyone think theirs was normal. Also she has been the Bodyguard for many notable celebrities including Emma Watson from the Harry Potter series. Danielle has achieved a Black Belt in Kickboxing including winning titles. She has agreed to answer questions about her life as one of the few women Referees in the sport, which is a great opportunity to delve into the mind of an MMA official.
Steve Charles: What made you want to become an MMA Official and who were your biggest influences?
Danielle Curzon: I became an official due to a very damaging pregnancy. I suffered from Eclampsia which is a life threatening condition. This left me with slight permanent kidney damage so I couldn't continue my fighting career so I decided to become a referee so I was still involved with the sport. Kim Winslow is a huge inspiration from the female aspect. She has achieved so much. Herb Dean and many other top referees inspired me.
Steve Charles: What was the most difficult part of becoming an Official and do you prefer being a Referee or a Judge?
Danielle Curzon: As there is so few females, I faced the normal discrimination of things like the cage is no place for a woman and a woman can't split up 2 men but apart from that it's been a fun process. What people need to understand is that MMA is a sport and anyone should be able to split the fighters as they should have the respect for the referee.
Steve Charles: UFC 149 has just completed and Dana White at a press scrum afterwards was critical about 3 of the leading referees in MMA. How does criticism like this effect a Referee?
Danielle Curzon: No referee is perfect and we all make mistakes but one thing people have to remember is that it is only the referee that has his/her viewpoint. It's all very well people criticising from the outside of the cage and from their sofas watching it on TV but the angle they see it at is totally different to the angle of that one referee in the cage at the time. That is why I would never make comment on a Referee's decision as I would not be seeing it from the same angle as the referee in the cage had. All referees get criticised but in the regulated states of the USA they have the commission to support them and act as a barrier between them and the promoters so as long as the commission are happy then they have nothing to worry about. To be a referee you have to be thick skinned and learn to just listen to the people that matter and not all the keyboard ninjas who have never refereed a fight.
Part 2 tomorrow.
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