The MMA world wasn't sure what to expect when former UFC, Strikeforce and IFL executive Shannon Knapp announced in that she was forming Invicta Fighting Championships, an all female MMA promotion.
Women's fighting was still a novelty at the time, and the world didn't know what to expect. But in 2012, due to the rising popularity of UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey and Invicta, female fighting is on the rise as we start 2013.
Invicta kicks things off for the women, as Invicta FC 4 takes place tomorrow night from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas starting at 6 p.m. CST. You can watch the card on IPPV for $7.95 on InvictaFC.com, as the promotion has partnered with UStream to air the event.
When Invicta aired their first event last April, people really didn't know what to expect. Each show gained more buzz, with Invicta reporting it had over 200,000 unique visitors for the first two shows. Invicta grew momentum as each show happened, and they are now looking forward to what lies ahead in 2013.
"If I had to sum it up (2012) in one word, I would say amazing," Invicta President Shannon Knapp told Bleacher Report. "We have had an incredible and amazing year. I couldn't have scripted it and painted a prettier picture. We are definitely happy with how the year (2012) turned out. We are looking forward to continuing the momentum in 2013."
Anytime you are running a business, you come to the point where you eventually have to make money in order to be able to have financial stability. Invicta didn't charge a fee online for people to watch the first three events. But with the show tomorrow night, Invicta is going to be partnering up with UStream to air the event on Internet PPV with a charge of $7.95. The event will be airing on InvictaFC.com.
Knapp knows that it is now time to start seeing if they can make money on the product, and gauge people's willingness to pay the money to watch the fights.
"It comes back to we are moving into 2013 and to look at the prospects of monetizing," Knapp stated. "I think this is a really good opportunity for us to really gauge where we are at. A lot of times we have people like, "Oh I would pay for that."
"It's giving everybody a chance to put their money where there mouth is. We wanted to make the price of $7.95 is fan friendly. Anytime you implement a change, you need to do it in a way so everybody can adjust to it. I felt this was a good price point and that let the fans know we aren't out there to hurt anyone by any stretch of the imagination."
"We need to do like any business does and that's move forward with monetizing and keep things going."
The year of 2012, for the women beyond the success of Invicta, demonstrated that women are now in capable of lasting in the UFC. The first big event will take place at UFC 157, as Women's Champion Ronda Rousey will be squaring off against former Invicta import Liz Carmouche. Knapp knew women would be in the UFC and looks forward to seeing how the fans will respond.
"I've always said this was coming and Ronda (Rousey) would be the first (woman) from day one, I think it is amazing," Knapp stated. "I think she's worked hard and done a lot to help promote the sport. I think it is going to be interesting and I wish them much success. I definitely supported it and promoted it. How they (the UFC) have been with this affects my business."
"I feel confident and comfortable that Zuffa is going to go in there, promote and do it well because that's what they do. Ronda (Rousey) is breaking down barriers everyday and changing the game. We fight for the same cause. It's going to be interesting to see how the fans respond, just for the fact that the UFC has been around for 20 years and it has been all male dominated."
People are expecting an even better year from Invicta as we head into 2013. Knapp knows what they need to do and expects an even better product in the new year.
"You are always going to strive to be better at what we do," Knapp stated. "We are going to be looking to improve our product and the overall visual of our product. We are going to keep going out there knocking down barriers."
Unless otherwise stated, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
You can listen to the complete interview with Shannon Knapp here.
You can follow me on Twitter @fightclubchi.
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