Kim Winslow Becomes First Female Referee in UFC History

A significant moment in mixed martial arts history seems to have passed with little notice Saturday night: Kim Winslow became the first woman ever to be in the Octagon during a UFC fight when she refereed the undercard bout between Nick Osipczak and Frank Lester at the Ultimate Fighter Finale.

The UFC does not hire its own referees and instead goes through the state sanctioning bodies, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission appointed Winslow to work Saturday night, without any fanfare. Winslow just showed up and did her job without drawing any attention to herself, as referees always should.

The Osipczak-Lester fight did not make the Spike TV broadcast but can be viewed on UFC.com, and if you watch you'll hear UFC announcer Joe Rogan mention the historic occasion a minute into the first round.

"I think this is the first time we've ever had a female referee," Rogan said on the broadcast. "I just noticed that."

All referees have to have a wealth of experience in MMA before drawing a UFC assignment, and Winslow is no different. She started refereeing small shows and has worked her way up into the bigger promotions, including World Extreme Cagefighting, before getting Saturday night's UFC assignment.

And Winslow has proven herself to be a skillful referee, often earning the simple but high praise that Rogan gave her: When Winslow is working a fight, you hardly notice she's there.

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