Adding Invicta Is a Massive Coup for UFC Fight Pass

Matthew RyderFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2014

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Women's MMA is a hot commodity these days. From one of the biggest stars in the UFC being the women's champion to an entirely new weight class opening up for ladies in the promotion, there's a growth happening there at a rate not seen since MMA's explosion in 2005.

Perhaps that's part of the charm the sport sees in the women's game: It takes us all back to a simpler time, before FOX shows and more cards then there is time to watch them all. It takes us back to a time when the game was still about two martial artists engaged in a battle, and no one cared about overnights, buyrates or who "moves the needle."

Except, by the accounts of anyone who's been paying attention, women move the needle.

Bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey has become the de facto face of the UFC, appearing in everything from cell phone ads to big-budget action movies.

The Ultimate Fighter 20, a season of female combatants vying for the inaugural UFC 115-pound title, has generated as much buzz as any season in a decade.

There's more talk about Claudia Gadelha's abs than there ever has been about a Demetrious Johnson title defense.

Putting it mildly, people are interested in women's MMA.

That's why the UFC snapping up Invicta FC, the all-women's promotion that's groomed many of the stars and stars-to-be of the Octagon, as broadcast fodder for Fight Pass is so brilliant.

Fight Pass upon its inception was a bare-bones offering, something that the promotion should never have felt good about charging $10 a month for. Sure some people paid it, but they were the hardest of the hardcore who wanted to relive old PRIDE shows or UFCs from the blackout days at their leisure.

Overall it was essentially an online serving of fights you could see on any one of the UFC's syndicated shows, which have become so commonplace in recent years that there's almost no time you can't find one on television.

Then the live events started, and Fight Pass became a little more appealing. Not a lot, mind you, as there was more than one fight emanating from overseas at four in the morning that no one would ever pay to see, but definitely a little.

With the service breaking the six-month barrier and being bolstered by the official superstardom of Conor McGregor and an upcoming Godzilla remake starring Roy Nelson and Mark Hunt in Japan, things have become brighter. You're probably still getting better value from your Netflix subscription, but Fight Pass isn't lagging as far behind in that field as it was a few months ago.

By the time Invicta hits the Fight Pass airwaves, it could be the thing to put the service over the top.

The ladies of Invicta are known for putting on a great show. They've pulled respectable viewership during their days as an online pay-per-view commodity (though no one knows precisely what the numbers were), and they're in a position to be exposed as never before thanks to the muscle of the UFC.

It's a lock that you'll see some wild brawls, some crafty technique and some personalities that far outsize the 105-145 pound weight limits the promotion has on display. It is the exact thing you would want to sell if you were a promoter, especially if you have the right platform.

Fight Pass offers that.

It's a chance to get these women in front of fans who already know and love them, fans who've heard about them and subscribe to Fight Pass but wouldn't have bought an online pay-per-view, and fans who were oblivious to them as UFC fans but will give them a chance now that they've connected to the big time.

In return the UFC gets a valuable commodity to bolster its online service, the opportunity to keep a closer eye on potential prospects for their roster and a chance to trial more women's MMA to see how it tests with fans.

Should it go well, it's only a matter of writing a cheque and changing the branding, and the promotion has at least three new weight classes to sell as it continues its global expansion.

There is absolutely no question that Invicta's emergence on Fight Pass is the ultimate in a symbiotic promotional relationship, a coup for the UFC that also helps the little promotion that could become bigger and better.

Everyone wins here.

See you on September 6.


Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!