Continuing with our theme of underrated and overlooked fighters in the world on MMA, we veer slightly off course to look at an entire fighting organization; Invicta Fighting Championships.
tyle=”color: #000000;”>When the UFC purchased its largest rival Strikeforce in early 2011, alarms went off throughout the female MMA community. Zuffa had never promoted female bouts before, and there was little evidence at the time to lead anyone to believe that would change. Several female fighters reached out to longtime MMA executive, Shannon Knapp. Knapp began to explore the viability of an all-female MMA promotion. Strikeforce would continue to have one women’s division, but the figurative ball was already in motion. Once Knapp met Janet Martin, the two teamed up to secure the financial backing needed to start one of the most exciting MMA promotions in the US, male or female.
After little more than a year of planning, Martin and Knapp were able to put on their first show in April 2012. With MMA luminaries King ‘Mo’ Lawal and Mauro Ranallo providing commentary, Invicta FC 1 was streamed live and free over the internet from Kansas City. A memorable and exciting card from top to bottom, their inaugural event featured former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen, Strikeforce veteran Liz Carmouche, and the MMA debut of Olympic medalist Randi Miller. With the kind of fights promoters pray for, the debut of Invicta could not have gone any better. Four out of seven of the main card bouts did not make it to the judges, and the three that did were bouts no one wanted to see end.
With their first card a smashing success the MMA community took notice, with droves of male fighters expressing their support for the fledgling promotion. Invicta FC had created a buzz for itself, and the buzz was entirely due to the quality of their first card. Invicta lacked the slick marketing glitz of larger promotions, and did not have a name brand to sell the card, but they still managed to gain national attention while scores of regional MMA promotions struggle to be known within their own markets. Again it cannot be stressed enough that this was entirely based on the quality of their first card. Invicta could have quickly faded to a footnote in MMA history, but instead gained steam, and used it to move forward.
Between Invicta 1 and Invicta 2, the change in media attention and hype was immense. Knapp capitalized on a fantastic first card to promote Invicta FC 2 on a much larger scale. With more attention, come more expectations. Invicta’s second event lived up to the expectations, and if possible, exceeded them. July 28th saw the women of Invicta put on another exciting evening of top to bottom action that is rarely seen in MMA, male or female. Again broadcasting for free from Kansas City, the event was a who’s who of women’s MMA. Among the nights combatants were Strikeforce veterans Liz Carmouche, Alexis Davis, and Amanda Nunes. Also competing were JEWEL’s lightweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki, and Olympic medalist Sara McMann. Another evening full of exciting fights kept the momentum from the first even going, and added even more to the growing world of women’s MMA.
With competitive and compelling fights, both Invicta cards have been as exciting as any card in recent memory, male or female. Invicta has seemingly taken advantage of two main factors in order to produce such quality cards. Both a sudden influx of maturing female MMA talent, and a lack of a platform to showcase such talent, has Invicta primed to continue producing impactful shows that should be witnessed by as many fight fans as possible. The all-powerful Dana White himself has even said that he considers Invicta a “great” thing for the world of mixed martial arts. With Invicta home to the largest stable of female talent in the world of MMA, it is east to see why. A third card is scheduled for the fall, and again will be broadcast for free over the internet, fight fans would be doing themselves a favor by tuning in.