Invicta FC: The Women’s MMA Powerhouse

*Co-Written with Loren Rosenberg*

What do Marloes Coenen, Shayna Baszler, Sara McMann, Jessica Penne, Cris Cyborg, and Carla Esparza all have in common? Every one of these fighters was previously at Women’s MMA powerhouse Invicta Fighting Championships before moving to their current promotion.

Invicta FC: The Women’s MMA Powerhouse

Invicta Fighting Championships is the worlds largest all women’s MMA organization. In March of 2011, Zuffa, parent company of the UFC, purchased former fighting promotion, Strikeforce. With no other fight promotion offering females a spot on their roster, woman’s MMA enthusiast, Shannon Knapp, started fielding phone calls from females who were concerned about their future in Mix Martial Arts. Concerned for the women, Knapp and a few others acquired the financial assets needed.

Early Beginnings

After a year of building the company and securing enough fighters, Invicta held its first event, Invicta FC 1, on April 28th, 2012; in Kansas City. The main event featured former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion and current Bellator fighter, Marloes Coenen and French bantamweight, Romy Ruyssen. Also on the card, featured current UFC fighters, Liz Carmouche, Jessica Penne and Leslie Smith.

Two and a half months later, Invicta announced an alliance with JEWELS, a Japanese promotion. The two agreed to cross promote the best female fighters on their fight cards in the United States and Japan.

In July 28th, 2012, Invicta held its second event. Headlined by Olympic silver medalist Sarah McMann and Shayna Baszler. Also on the card was current UFC straweight Carla Esparza. President Shannon Knapp, ended Invicta’s 2012 campaign with one more event in October of that same year with the crowning of Invicta FC’s first champion in Penne.

Growth of the Promotion

Following a very successful 2012, Invicta continued to grow at a very fast pace in 2013. Their first event of the year aired via pay per view and included the inaugural straweight champion Carla Esparza. Later that year in April, Invicta would add a Flyweight division, which included the inaugural title fight, which was held between Barb Honchak and Vanessa Porto. Little did Knapp realise this was just the beginning of something even greater. Invicta FC 6 would be moved to televised Pay-Per-View in the US and Canada. It included the company’s inaugural featherweight championship, when Cris “Cyborg” Santos defeated Marloes Coenen.

In December of 2013, Invicta would add their last weight class at bantamweight. Feeling very strong and confident about what she and the others had built here in Invicta, President Shannon Knapp made a major splash in the MMA community by appointing Women’s MMA pioneer Julie Kedzie as matchmaker for the company.

Deal with the UFC

In early 2014, Invicta would lock in a deal with the UFC and UFC Fight Pass to become the first promotion to have events streamed live on the internet.

Since Invicta FC 6, the company has put on eleven fight cards. They have scheduled another event (Invicta FC 18) for the end of July.

You take one look at the plethora of fighters Invicta has launched since their beginning in 2012 and there are no doubts that Invicta is the leading brand in Women’s MMA. Women’s MMA has taken huge strides since 2010 including the 1st Female UFC Main Event, and now currently two female divisions (bantamweight and straweight) in the UFC. However it all started after Invicta was created in 2012.

There is no arguing Invicta’s positive presence in the MMA community. It has launched current and former Bellator and UFC fighters. Invicta continues to launch the careers of women looking to step into the cage in a positive manner.

Main Photo: