Following a rocky 2014 that had the company only hosting three events amidst changes in management, all-female promotion Invicta FC rebounded with a strong year in 2015.
Not only did Invicta put on more events in 2015, the promotion expanded to new states and entered into an agreement to have its shows broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com during preparations for Invicta’s upcoming fifteenth event in January, president Shannon Knapp spoke about the promotion’s strong year, some of its breakout stars and what is on the horizon for the company in 2016.
MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Shannon, tell us your thoughts overall on the year Invicta had in 2015.
UFC Fight Pass has been very instrumental giving us the opportunity to find a new fan base as well as given our fans more access to all the Invicta events.
One of the defining moments for me, regarding Invicta was getting licensed in Nevada and California and holding our first shows there. Those are states that require a lot more than other stats as far as licensing. So for me, that was very personally gratifying for me to get licensed in those states.
MMAWeekly.com: With many Invicta fighters moving on to the UFC, is that something you use as a measure of success for the company?
Shannon Knapp: When I think about Invicta, I don’t think about grooming talent for any promotion. Really, our objective here is to provide opportunities for athletes and help the sport grow.
(Female MMA) is still a little behind in terms of being able to cultivate talent and get it moving through and building these divisions out, so any time I think about our goals, it’s all about providing opportunities for the female side of the sport to grow.
MMAWeekly.com: When you think about the fighters you have, do any of them stand out as having particularly strong years for Invicta in 2015?
Shannon Knapp: We had a lot of breakout stars and athletes who if people didn’t know who they were (then), they know now. Alexa Grasso, Livia Renata Souza and Tonya Evinger; there were a lot of athletes who were given a chance to shine, and they definitely did.
MMAWeekly.com: Earlier this year we discussed Cris “Cyborg” Justino’s role in the company and her possible move to the UFC to face Ronda Rousey at 135 pounds. With Rousey’s recent loss to Holy Holm, do you know if things may have changed for Justino, who is fighting on the Jan. 16 Invicta card?
Shannon Knapp: To be honest with you, it’s not really my decision on any level. Cris is a UFC-signed athlete. Any discussions pertaining to her future pertaining to Ronda or dropping down in weight is really between (her and the UFC).
I provide a platform she performs on, but those are conversations for her and the UFC. I’m supportive of whatever those decisions will be and do what I can to help make happen whatever direction they want to go.
MMAWeekly.com: Thanks for taking time out for us, Shannon. Is there anything you want to say about the upcoming year to close out the interview?
Shannon Knapp: One of the things I’m most happy about as we embark on 2016 is that we do have our scheduled dates for the year. We’re doing six shows with the possibility to possibly add shows to that. To kick off a year and have a game plan and knowing what we’re doing is beneficial in many ways.
We’ve signed some new athletes, and we’re looking at kicking off the 125-pound tournament this year, so we have a lot of good things in the works. We’re hoping to do more shows in conjunction with the UFC, like we did in 2015. There are a lot of things we’re looking forward to in 2016 with excitement.