As a Mixed Martial Arts event nears, a fighter’s world closes to focus on the task at hand. Training sessions may become more rigorous. Diets change to accommodate any possible weight cutting necessary. Fighters coming in know, and understand the world coming in is watching, and they have something to prove.
For Invicta Fighting Championship President Shannon Knapp, these fighters will be coming to compete at the new promotion’s inaugural event on Saturday night. Like her fighters, she too will have something to prove. The world will be watching with intrigue as to what the promising product can prove in its infancy. In an interview with Fighters.com, she discussed the importance of making bold statements as a way of splashing into the market such as deciding to stream the inaugural event through the Invicta FC website rather than rely on a second party to handle the task.
“One of the things that we looked at was whether we wanted to have a broadcasting partner, and we had people that knocked on our door, but telling somebody what you want to do and showing somebody what you want to do are two different things on the spectrum,” Knapp began. “What we decided was that we wanted to control our product for this first event, and show the world what we could do; that we had a world class female all-pro platform, and what it was going to look like.”
Knapp continued by discussing the importance of giving back to a worldwide audience rather than a localized one, which factored into the possibility of television deals.
“The other thing that helped us come to this decision was that if you have your event on a Showtime, or HBO or HDNet, it doesn’t guarantee the world access to everywhere in the world, and there are a lot of people out there that have been strong supporters of the female side of the sport. We wanted to take everybody on our journey, and give back to them. That’s how we came to this idea.”
Knapp’s decision, while surprising, is already paying dividends. In Canada, for example, Shaw Communications discontinued HDNet indefinitely from all cable packages effective March 20. The decision, blamed in part due to HDNet’s re-branding, means the network is not available anywhere in the entire country.
As Knapp and her team work diligently to get the product ready for its debut, she took a moment out to reflect on the support of the local community thus far.
“Local support has been amazing,” Knapp continued. “I want to give mad props to Joe Kelly and Titan Fighting Championships. This is their home base. They run all their stuff out of the same arena we’re going to be in. They’ve been very instrumental in sharing their knowledge and sharing marketing in this market. The response has been amazing. Even to my surprise, and nothing surprises me nowadays.”
“A lot of our success in this market has to go to Titan, the relationships they’ve helped us build, and Joe Kelly too,” Knapp concluded, continuing her praise for the Kansas City promoter and his organization.
With a support network comprised locally, internationally, and online, Knapp and business partner Janet Martin already have a lot of positive momentum in their corner. They continue to be committed to shaping the product, even if it is one person at a time. Knapp discussed the importance of the host city, and gathering fans from all over.
“It’s going to be a job. It’s going to be a task. I mean, it’s going to come down to creating the awareness,” Knapp admitted. “The Midwest, and namely Kansas City has a very solid wrestling background here and a lot of women compete in that. We’ve got (Olympic Bronze Medallist) Randi Miller on the card making her pro debut. I think what we’re going to do is go back to Marketing 101. The grassroots. We’re going to hit the streets and build awareness of what we’re going to do.”
Knapp closed by confirming that the company’s website will be fairly skeletal in nature until the first event has concluded, and that a more comprehensive experience will launch afterward. This decision was made under the pretense that she does not want the website to be bogged down in resource intensive scripting that would otherwise interfere with the April 28 stream. In essence, Knapp hopes that not only by giving the product away for free, but by making it as easy as possible to watch, the Invicta team can peak the interest of even those skeptical about the effectiveness of an all-women’s MMA promotion.
“By giving the product away for free (online) we’re hoping to capture some of those fans, who even if they don’t want to watch women’s MMA, or are unsure of watching, or talk smack about it…hopefully they come over, even for just one minute because it’s free and all you have to do is click on our website and there it is. That’s all we can hope for. Just to take that minute and take a look. See what we’re offering. These girls are going to do the rest for us. They’re competitors. They’re excited about what they’re doing and this is going to be one heck of a card.”
You can follow Knapp on Twitter @ShanKnapp and Invicta Fighting Championships too @InvictaFights. You can also “Like” Invicta Fighting Championships on Facebook by clicking here. Invicta FC 1 boasts a number of the top female fighters in MMA today including action from Marloes Coenen, Liz Carmouche, Jessica Penne, Lisa Ellis, and more.