Watching the inaugural Invicta all women's MMA show a few weeks ago, I was very entertained by a quality production, entertaining fights, and the enthusiasm from everyone involved to make Invicta succeed. This week I saw that they started announcing several new fights for their second show in July, but I was also wondering, Where does Invicta go from here?
I personally think that Invicta should establish a strong working relationship with Strikeforce. Right now Strikeforce is not running enough shows to develop the depth that it needs to maintain female divisions. The pull of UFC over the last year has taken some of the bigger stars that Strikeforce had on the roster, and now the organization needs to find it's nitch to captivate the casual, and curious audience. It is well know that Strikeforce has a few top 20 fighters on their roster (Melendez, Rockhold, Jacare, Mousasi, Cavalcante), but for the most part these fighters are not names that can draw a ton of attention. Strikeforce can benefit from this relationship by having access to a deeper roster of the best female fighters in the world across multiple weight classes. Invicta will give the female fighters under contract with Strikeforce a better chance to stay active and develop their skills.
Right now Strikeforce is just not busy enough to maintain a deep roster of female fighters, but it does have two things that Invicta should be running to. The first is a TV contract with Showtime that can help women's MMA develop and market stars. They have also had success already with the Gina Carano, Cyborg, and now Ronda Rousey. The Second thing that Strikeforce has is the most dynamic female fighter in the world, when it comes to a combination of talent, attitude, and marketability, Ronda Rousey. If she is not already, by the end of the year Ronda will be the most well known female fighter in the world. Being able to attach her star power to Invicta would be an amazing opportunity for women's MMA.
Here is how I could see things working. Invicta will work to develop the depth in the women's division. There are 5 weight classes that they can focus on 105, 115, 125, 135, and 145. By running 8-10 female only shows a year, Invicta should be able to start identifying and giving good opportunities to the best female fighters in the world. Eventually Invicta will have the right depth to establish Champions, and this is where Strikeforce, and Showtime come in. By working a co-production with Strikeforce, Invicta can get some of their Championship fights, and top contenders into co-main events, and even main-event shows on Showtime. They could also use the connection to legitimize their organization by putting their belt on Ronda Rousey as well.
Dana White and others are worried that Ronda Rousey is going to become the MMA version of Lucia Rijker, the top female boxer who was so good that none of the more well known fighters would even fight her. Combining the resources of Zuffa owned Strikeforce, with a league dedicated to women's MMA in a true co-promotion partnership would be beneficially to the sport of women's MMA, Invicta and Zuffa.
I also think if they could get Julie Kedzie into the Color Commentary roll on Strikeforce events, then it would be a massive improvement to what they currently have.