KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If you follow professional mixed martial arts, then you’ve heard of Invicta FC.
It’s an all-pro female MMA organization, founded in 2012 by Kansas City area native Shannon Knapp.
“There really wasn’t anyone who was dedicated to come in here and make way for these women,” Knapp said, “so that they would have that opportunity to compete on cards with men, or just to be able to compete in general.”
Invicta FC is hosting the Phoenix Tournament in Kansas City, Kansas, this Friday. The winner of the one-day tournament will be the new No. 1 contender in the atomweight division.
One of the best parts of the tournament — fans get to play matchmaker.
“They’re voting to see who goes against who in the quarterfinal. That’s something that’s very new to the sport. So it’s very innovative,” Knapp said.
An innovative idea, very fitting for Knapp, who’s seen as an innovator and groundbreaker. She’s been a key figure in growing the sport on the women’s side.
Knapp said before INVICTA and the UFC started opening doors for female fighters, women didn’t always have a level playing field when competing.
“When I talk about a mismatch, you may have someone who normally would weigh in and compete at 105 pounds would be taking a fight up at 135 pounds just to be able to compete,” Knapp said.
When Knapp started the all-women’s promotion nine years ago, she never imagined the organization grow so quickly.
Invicta FC was recently acquired by Anthem Sports & Entertainment. That means, Invicta now airs on AXS TV cable network.
“To be where we are now, the dream and the vision has always been bigger than me,” she said. “So to have an ambitious partner who has the same focus, even in their charitable site. It really is a blessing all around. We’re incredibly excited to have those resources.”
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