EXCLUSIVE | Invicta President Shannon Knapp Discusses Future Plans and Upcoming Invicta 6 Card | Late Night Cage Side Radio
Knapp, who as of late has been receiving an abundance of praise from everyone in the MMA world, is currently preparing her company for its upcoming event, Invicta 6, which takes place on July 13th. The event is being headlined by a featherweight title-fight between Cyborg Santos and Marloes Coenen and every other fight on the card is projected to deliver fireworks as well. WMMA is rapidly increasing in popularity as of late and this card is a key example as to why. Knapp joined our boys on the show to discuss the upcoming event, how Invicta FC came about, and what she looks forward to in the future with the promotion. Here are some of the highlights from that interview:
Shannon was first asked how preparations for the upcoming Invitca 6 event were coming. She laughed and replied, “Hectic. Hectic but good. You know, we announced a televised PPV last week I think, so that’s just an added component to everything, makes it a little more hectic, but we’re extremely excited to be able to provide options to the viewers. So it’s hectic but it’s exciting.”
Miss Knapp was also asked what the most stressful or worrisome aspect of putting together a fight card and preparing for the event was. She quickly answered, “Injuries. Injuries and more injuries and more injuries. That’s usually the biggest. You know, because most things you can get around or get them fixed quickly but an injury sometimes, especially when you’re looking at a main-event, or any issues with visas and things like that, those kinds of things can throw off the whole event in a lot of ways. That’s probably the most worrisome thing.” She continued, “It’s just not one athlete it’s the opponent as well. Sometimes you have to shuffle the card so it affects a lot of people. We hope that everybody stays healthy and we get the fights that we’re expecting.”
On a brighter note, news recently broke that the upcoming Invicta 6 event on July 13th would be airing on PPV. This is huge news for the WMMA scene and Knapp touched on the subject by saying, “It’s really cool because it’s an all-female pay-per-view. You know, we’re not expecting to do numbers like the UFC, or course, or anything like that, but for us it’s all about providing more options and opportunity.”
Knapp was also asked about her roots in the fight-game and how she got started working in MMA.
“Oh, so long ago. I was always huge fan of the sport so I took my broadcasting background and kind of just dove in head first. You know, I always saw a lot things wrong with the sport,” she explained. “That’s kind of what prompted me in the first place. And I’m a huge fight fan, kind of a fight junkie, actually.”
Shannon Knapp has been working in the MMA world for the better part of the last 13 years. She worked for several different promotions but has never gained the recognition or popularity than her work in Invicta has. When asked about her relationship with fellow owner and partner, Janet Martin, Knapp responded by explaining that they took on a project together and have had to work extremely hard to make it a success.. She stated, “I think that this last year we took a gamble. Nobody really wanted to touch this phase, not full on.” Knapp continued, “We’ve worked hard because we have a very, very small staff. So the things that we’ve been able to accomplish have been pretty amazing.”
When Zuffa continued engulfing smaller MMA organizations under its UFC banner many female fighters were left without work, especially after Strikeforce was dissembled. Knapp was asked if this lack of opportunity was what prompted her to start Invicta she replied, “Yeah, absolutely.” She elaborated more by explaining, “A lot of the female athletes were very concerned.”
“There was a lot of people that were really nervous about their futures and careers,” she said. “It’s certainly what sparked my interest in it.”
When asked about the differences between male and female fighters Knapp stated, “There is a difference.” She continued, “inside the cage, outside the cage.”
“My conclusion, anyway, is they’re more emotionally invested in it.”
Our boys at Late Night Cage Side also brought up the pressures that come along with being not only a president of a MMA promotion, but a female president of an all-female promotion. She replied, “Yeah, I think the pressure is always on.”
“We’re still fighting for the acceptance on the new level so it’s always an uphill climb and an uphill battle but it’s one that I certainly enjoy, that’s for sure,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to look at what we’ve accomplished in a year and the barriers that we’ve been able to break down.”
Knapp continued, “When we came into this thing it wasn’t about getting rich; that’s a long road to travel in this business. It was more about building a platform and organizing weight divisions and showing the depth and talent. Giving athletes a home and something to work for.”
She was also asked if she ever felt emotional attachment to some of the fighters she employed and if she ever found it hard to watch them lose.
“I’ve been doing this for thirteen years now and I look at it as a sport. I’ve always kept a professional distance so, you know, for me it was just another day at the office. This is what I do. I never look at it as a competition. It’s a sport,” she explained. “For me, I’m just used to it.”
With that being said, though, Knapp also explained that she loves each of her employees and always tried to treat them right because they give so much to the company. “The bottom line is, we have an amazing group of athletes. Each one is spectacular in their own way, they add value to the promotion and that’s why they’re there,” she continued. “I’m a huge advocate of the athletes and I think it makes it really easy to run a business like that.”
When asked how much credit she gives herself for the recent surge in WMMA popularity growth, Knapp briefly laughed and then responded by saying, “It takes all of us. It’s taken each and every one of us to elevate Invicta to where it’s at. The media, the fans, the athletes…everybody. It takes us all.”
In lieu of the recent rise in popularity it was recently rumored that Invicta was working with Showtime in hopes of banging out a deal for the future. Knapp briefly touched on that subject as well.
“I’m very fond of [Showtime] as well. I’ve worked with them on many different occasions in different promotions that I’ve been with over the years,” she said. “Hopefully in the future, near future or something, we will be able to do something together. That would be great.”
And when asked what MMA fans could expect from Invicta in the coming year Knapp replied, “Invicta is working on a reality series. That is something that we’re working on. We don’t talk much about it because it’s kind of hush-hush.” She explained that it would be unlike TUF or Fight Master in format and structure but didn’t give too many details about the show as she said it’s still a work in progress. That wasn’t the only big news, though.
“Hopefully we’ll be announcing a broadcast deal throughout the year, internationally and in alignment here in the States,” she explained. “We’re in it for the fight so, I think those are some exciting things that will help bring more awareness and more opportunity to the athletes.”
Miss Knapp was then asked if she thought that the UFC’s move to host a co-ed TUF show was a good idea. She was definitely on board for the idea.
“Yeah, I think it’s certainly a smart move. It’s certainly going to help bring more exposure to females I the sport, which, c’mon, helps my brand,” she replied. “How could I not like it?”
“Even though we’re different promotions I think at the end of the day we’re working kind of for the same thing,” she continued. “I think it’s just a good thing to be able to work openly with other promotions and try to continue to elevate this sport.”
Shannon was then asked to shift gears and talk about the upcoming main-event at Invicta 6 where Cyborg Santos will take on Marloes Coenen for the 145 pound title.
“The main event is my all time favorite re-match,” she excitedly admitted. “This is going to be a fight. Both of these athletes are extremely talented.”
“It will be an unforgettable fight,” she promised.
When asked if there were any other fights on the card she was most looking foraard to she replied, “I think every fight on this card is great, or else it wouldn’t be on this card. This, to me, I think is one of our best fight cards ever.”
“I think there’s going to be a lot of action in some of these fights,” she stated. “These fights will deliver.”
Invicta 6 takes place on July 13th in Kansas City. The event will air on PPV and will also stream through the Invicta website. Check your local listings for times and details.
We would like to thank Miss Shannon Knapp for joining BJPenn.com’s Late Night Cage Side Radio and we wish her all the best with the upcoming Invicta 6 card. We look forward to hearing of more success from Knapp and her promotion in the near future.