FIGHTING spirit and her expertise in combat sports has seen a Market Rasen woman named the country’s first mixed martial arts (MMA) referee.
And the former De Aston schoolgirl Danielle Curzon kicked off her new career by refereeing a British MMA title fight, which was televised on Sky Sports.
The 28-year-old, whose family lives in Lammas Leas in Market Rasen, is a former World Kickboxing Champion and also won a gold medal in 2004 as one of Great Britain’s international dressage riders.
But having qualified as a World United Martial Arts Federation referee, Danielle is now looking at sport in a new light and from a different angle.
Mixed martial arts is a full contact combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques and skills, from a mixture of other combat sports, to be used in competitions.
The rules allow the use of both striking as well as grappling techniques, both while standing and while on the ground
She said: “There is quite a lot of responsibility because with a submission when they are on the floor or a choke they can be unconscious in ten seconds.
“Then you have to decide how many punches to allow before you call it a day. It is quite a difficult job to get it right because the crowd and promoters often want more.
“I have stopped a fight and had the fighter’s father come up saying I should have let it go on, but you have to put the athletes first.
“It can be really rewarding though when the fighters come up to you and say well done referee and that has been from the loser as well, it does make it worthwhile.”
Despite her new role in the ring, Danielle still holds the WUMA National and International Kickboxing titles and will have to defend her belts at the end of the year.