twitter google

Invicta president Shannon Knapp looks back at one year of starting all-women’s group

On April 5, The Invicta Fighting Championships continues to try and answer the question of whether an all-women‘s MMA promotion is financially viable as a business, presenting what is probably the single deepest show of its kind ever held in the United States.The company‘s fifth show features two championship fights, with atomweight (105 pound) champion Jessica Penne (10-1) facing Michelle ‘Karate Hottie’ Waterson (10-3) and a match to determine the first flyweight (125 pound) champion with Vanessa Porto (15-5) facing Barb Honcak (7-2).But the biggest names are on the preliminary card. The show features the return to action of Cristiane Cyborg Santos (10-1), who was considered the best female fighter in the world before her drug suspension, and is back in action after 16 months. Santos facing a late replacement in Australian Fiona Muxlow (6-2).Sarah Kaufman (15-2), a UFC fighter who is that group‘s No. 2 contender at bantamweight, faces Leslie Smith (5-2-1). And former Bellator champion Zoila Frausto Gurgel (12-2) goes against Jennifer Maia (6-2).It‘s essentially the one-year anniversary as Invicta ran its debut show on April 28, 2012. The first year was all about trying to get the promotion and its fighters exposure through free Internet streaming of every show. The most recent show was the first attempt to run Internet pay-per-view through. There were technical issues early, and Invicta President Shannon Knapp decided quickly that rather than create bad feelings, they would take down the firewall, let everyone watch it for free, and refund everyone‘s money who purchased the show.But in the black cloud, there was a silver lining.You don‘t know how many people there were who told us they didn‘t want their money back, said Knapp. We still refunded all the money, but that reaction makes you want to do the best you can.So they will try an Internet pay-per-view, for $9.95, but this time using a satellite feed instead of streaming the show. There was talk of it being on pay-per-view, but Knapp isn‘t looking to rush things.It‘s probably an old mindset, but I‘ve always been of the understanding and the way of looking at it that if you go to pay-per-view before you‘re ready, you take a real gamble, Knapp said. And I wasn‘t comfortable with it at this time. I didn‘t want to push the envelope. I want to make sure that if when we make that move, you get one shot. I didn‘t want for it to be at this point in time. I just think we‘re in the process of building and it‘s a little premature for us at this point.In many circles, Invicta shows, even without television, draws more interest on MMA web sites than any promotion short of the UFC. Being talked about a lot, and getting lots of web hits is commendable, but it doesn‘t pay the bills, and ultimately, at some point, this has to be viable economically or it won‘t exist. Nobody has ever been able to make pay-per-view of MMA viable over the long haul except UFC, and UFC really wasn‘t making it until they had a regular television deal with Spike.Next week‘s show at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Mo., has, by far, the company‘s best advance of its short history, but Knapp also makes clear that even then, you‘re talking hundreds, not thousands, of tickets.Ultimately, the success or failure of this concept is going to be determined by television. That is, both getting a viable deal that pays enough and gives exposure enough to open doors to sponsors and make the fighters into stars, and once getting that deal, being able to garner the ratings necessary to stay on the air.What has been proven is a woman‘s fight can help ratings on an other wise all men‘s show. A night of nothing but women‘s fights is uncharted waters. The advantage Invicta does have over any other promotion in the marketplace is that they will have much of the top tier of women‘s fighters, although it‘s inevitable the biggest stars will end up in UFC. But since Invicta works with UFC, a lot of the challengers for titles going forward are likely to be picking up the wins that make their name on Invicta shows, if the relationship continues the way it‘s structured. In addition, women who have been on UFC shows, likely with the exception of the champions and two or three biggest stars, are likely to also fight on Invicta shows.But Knapp said it‘s not just about getting on television, as they probably could get some form of TV right now. It‘s about having a deal where they would be more than just filling time or being one of a group of MMA promotions on a station, such as the Friday night time slot on AXS TV which airs a number of different companies..We‘re having a lot of dialogue with a lot of people, Knapp said regarding television. There hasn‘t been the deal yet that I wanted and what I‘m looking for. I‘m looking for a partner, not someone who says you can be one of a number of shows on Friday night. You want someone to help with the…

View the entire story here

Follow MMALinker