Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lacey Neher: Invicta Fighting Championships One: The Makings for One Big Night of Fights

By Lacey Neher

On April 28th, a new MMA promotion will make it's debut. Invicta Fighting Championships One will take place in Kansas City with Former Strikeforce Champ, Marloes Coenen meeting Romy Ruyssen in the main event of the 11 fights contested in the FMMA history making fight card.

Invicta will be one of those rarities in North American MMA. An all female fight league. Now and then a various promotions across America will have a fight card with an all female cast, but Invicta is one of only a few promotions that will feature only women. There have been some other women's promotions come and go and hopefully Invicta will be a mainstay in MMA.

If you think about it there is a lot of cards in which there will be 10 men's bouts and one or two women's. Inevitably the women's fight will be named fight of the night, because about 99.9% of the time the women come to put on a war. Now, think about this, a whole card and promotion that features all women putting on 11 "Fights of the Night" in one evening? Well, that has the makings for a great show and I predict that this is what we will see on April 28th. All the fighters on the card are either established professionals who have recognizable names (ie: Coenen, Lisa Ward Ellis, Jessica Pene, Shana Nelson, Sarah D'Alelio) Or they are in the midst of making their names known as newer pro's in MMA. Women always fight to win in MMA. There will be no "fighting not to lose" this evening.

I don't want to make predictions on the fights, because I consider a lot of these women my friends and who wants to decide between your friends? ( full fight card, live stream and ticket info will be available below)

I got a chance to catch up with one of the driving forces behind Invicta, Shannon Knapp. I asked her a couple questions regarding the upcoming event.

LN: How long did it take to make this promotion come to fruition?

Knapp: We began building the foundation for the promotion about 10 months ago. It is a long process to take an idea and transform it into a legitimate operating business. A lot more goes into it then waking up one morning and saying “ I am going to be a promoter”…lol

LN:What makes this promotion different from any other besides the obvious?

Knapp: I think that Janet and I came into this business with a different mindset than most people do when they get into the promoting business. It isn’t about getting rich, turning a quick dollar, or riding an athlete’s coattail to the “proverbial athlete associated fame” that you see so often. It is truly about making a difference, helping to bring organization to this side of the sport that has been grossly neglected and to help the females in this sport get the well-deserved recognition that has been absent.

LN:How did you get involved in match making and what inspired you to create an all women's fight league?

Knapp: I have worn many hats in this sport, so I guess it would only be fitting that I and the matchmaker’s position would cross paths at some point. I am joking! I worked my way up through the industry always working directly with the athletes and finally settled into the position of matchmaker because it was an area that I excelled in. The inspiration to develop an all-female fight league came from identifying the need for change and realizing I was at an impasse in my career, I needed a new challenge and a new fight. I got into this business to make a difference as I have always been a huge advocate for the athlete and for the sport. I built my professional reputation on those foundations and this quest was something I could identify with. I have faced the same obstacles working in the sport as these females have competing. I knew that this was a perfect fit for me. I could make a difference with my experience and my knowledge in the sport for the female athletes and they could make a difference in my life by reigniting the fire in me and by giving me something to fight for that I am passionate about.

LN:What are your hopes for Invicta now and in the future?

Knapp: My hopes for Invicta FC are to build a solid professional platform for women competing in the sport of MMA. To bring awareness and appreciation for what each and every one of the female athletes brings to the sport. To educate and build fan bases that will support the females and help the sport to grow. Success for us is being able to sustain and support our business to provide continued opportunities to the female competitors in this sport.

Thank you Shannon for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions!

Knapp's co-pilot in Invicta is Janet Martin. Martin will be working in the match making department as well as athlete relations for Invicta. She had this to say of the event on April 28th,

"Shannon and I are both very excited about Invicta Fighting Championships upcoming All Pro Women's MMA debut event. Our fight card is stacked with 11 well matched fights that brings high level talent to the InvictaFC Cage in all weight divisions. It is our goal for our event and the mission of our company to showcase the skills and athleticism that is Women's MMA. We feel InvictaFC One will provide the fans of MMA the opportunity to watch some of the best and brightest female fighters, as they take centers stage in A Cage of Their Own. Whether fans are cageside for the action or watching our Free Live Stream, we are enthusiastic that fans will be excited and entertained by every bout up and down the card. We believe that InvictaFC will elevate women's particiaption in MMA by providing outstanding competitive events for both fighters and fans. We look to the future to be the premier organization for Women's MMA by working with high professional standards with the Women's MMA community and within the MMA industry."

Well known Women's MMA match-maker Sam Wilson has come on board Invicta to help with the much anticipated match ups. Wilson has set up a great number of fights across the women's MMA board and she is very proud to be a part of this ground breaking promotion. Wilson is a tireless supporter of Women's MMA and she had these words to say about Invicta,

"Believe and it will happen! Thank you Shannon Knapp for making the dream come true! Your knowledge and expertise has brought together a monumental list of athletes, media and professional personalities to make this dream reality. I know the ladies will leave it all in the cage! Here we go!"

Thankfully for those of us who aren't fortunate to make the event, there will be a live stream in which you can see here>>> INVICTA FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS ONE. Or, for you lucky people who want to attend here is where you can get your tickets>> INVICTA TICKETS

Here is the full card for Invicta Fighting Championships One

Marloes “Rumina” Coenen vs Romy Ruyssen
Jessica Penne vs Lisa Ellis-Ward
Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche vs Ashleigh Curry
Kaitlin Young vs Leslie Smith
Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio vs Shana “Rock Solid” Nelson
“Slick” Sally Krumdiack vs Sarah “White Tiger” Schneider
Nicdali “The Night Queen” Rivera-Calanoc vs Amy “Lil’ Dynamite” Davis
Michele “Diablita” Gutierrez vs Sarah Maloy
Randi Miller vs “Miss” Mollie Ahlers-Estes
Ashley “Smashley” Cummins vs Sofia Bagherdai
Jessica Philippus vs Meghan “The Babe” Wright

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