Invicta president says UFC didn’t buy or bully her company
Shannon Knapp is on Twitter. She saw all the conspiracy theories this week when the UFC acquired 11 of her Invicta FC fighters.
There was: "The UFC owns Invicta." And: "Well, the UFC at least must be a huge investor in the all-women’s organization." Then, her favorite: "The UFC bullied Knapp into letting go some of her best fighters."
Knapp addressed all three of those statements in an interview Friday night with Fox Sports - and there’s no validity to any of them.
"They don’t own anything, no," Knapp said. "They don’t have an investment in Invicta. It’s nothing like that."
What the Invicta president did admit was that she does have a ‘business relationship’ with the UFC and a friendship with UFC president Dana White. The transfer of the contracts of 11 women’s strawweight fighters, including champion Carla Esparza, was a transaction.
Knapp would not say what Invicta got in return, but she said the Kansas City-based organization didn’t get fleeced in any way. None of the fighters have ‘UFC outs’ in their contracts - she doesn’t believe in such things. Invicta sent their contracts to the UFC in a business arrangement.
Invicta will continue to provide a platform for female mixed martial artists in our five weight classes. We are around for the long haul!
— InvictaFights (@InvictaFights) December 12, 2013
"It’s not a take, take, take," Knapp said. "It works out for both. It wasn’t something that I was taken advantage of. It was a good situation for both."
Invicta was mentioned on Fox Sports 1 program UFC Tonight and its Twitter name (@InvictaFights) was tweeted by the UFC’s account. That’s a first for any other MMA organization and there is speculation that could have been part of the deal. But Knapp won’t divulge the terms.
"I don’t think the details should be public knowledge," Knapp said. "It’s just not something I want to talk about. I just think it’s unprofessional."
The other misconception that Knapp has heard is that Invicta has been so depleted that it won’t be around for much longer. Not so, she said.
— UFC (@ufc) December 12, 2013
Actually, Knapp just got back from New York, where she had a meeting regarding a potential television deal. One of those could be hammered out within the first quarter of 2014, she said.
There is much more talent in Invicta than just that one division, Knapp added, and she believes the promotion still has plenty of potential stars at 115 pounds. The title will be vacated by Esparza and will be ‘"up for grabs," she said. Invicta is also planning on starting a 155-pound division in the coming weeks.
Furthermore, Knapp felt like she wouldn’t be able to keep the 11 women away from such an opportunity. Esparza, Felice Herrig, Emily Kagan, Rose Namajunas, Tecia Torres, Paige Vanzant, Claudia Gadelha, Juliana Lima, Alex Chambers, Bec Hyatt and Joanne Calderwood will all be competitors on the 20th season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ which begins filming in May. The winner of the ‘TUF’ tournament will be crowned UFC women’s strawweight late next year.
"This is an opportunity that is absolutely going to change their lives," Knapp said.
The UFC is also paying 10 of the women $32,000 each before they even enter the house to compensate for that missed time when they could have been fighting. Esparza will get $40,000, because she was the Invicta champion.
Could that also have been part of Knapp’s deal with the UFC? Maybe. But she isn’t saying. All she knows is that the 115-pound women are going to tear the house down on ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ so to speak. And that isn’t such a bad thing for Invicta, since everyone will know where they came from.
"That division on that ‘TUF’ show will blow every other ‘TUF’ show out of the water," Knapp said. "The personalities, the talent - it’s going to be unbelievable."