Women's MMA has been making big waves in the news lately. Rumors of a UFC women's strawweight division next year and Invicta FC doing some employee house cleaning are the latest to hit the headlines. In light of these stories, I reached out to Invicta president, Shannon Knapp to get some clarity on the employee shake-up as well as how the addition of another women's division to the UFC might affect her own promotion's roster.
Stephie Daniels: A rumor came out today that the UFC would be adding a women's strawweight division some time next year. If they do, would they be dipping into your talent pool to bolster their roster?
Shannon Knapp: I have a good working relationship with them, and since that blog put out that story, I've contacted the UFC and confirmed with them that the rumor of them adding a 115 lb division is not true.
Stephie Daniels: In the past, you've mentioned that your relationship with the UFC is a strong one and that you would be open to "holding hands" with them, so to speak, as far as talent sharing. Is that something that still has potential?
Shannon Knapp: Yeah, I think that there's a lot of potential for us to work together.
Stephie Daniels: You recently did an interview where you talked about some internal issues and problems at Invicta. Will this upcoming fight card be the last Invicta event?
Shannon Knapp: Absolutely not. Invicta isn't over or anything like that. I'm a person that does good business. When I say that, I mean that I want to conduct business ethically and honestly. When the interviewer kind of put me on the spot, the reason for my hesitation to comment is because I am up to my neck in a mess that I'm cleaning up that someone else made within the company.
I don't have a real good feel for where I'm at right now, but with that being said, we're not going down or out. We're not done. We're not out of business. We fight over here. The last thing we're going to do is lay down and be done. Are there some obstacles amid some of the things that have come to light? Yeah there are, but there always is. There was an obstacle when I came in and decided to do this in the first place. We always have obstacles. This is just another day in the sports realm.
There are some issues and a lot of clean-up to do. There's been a lot of re-organization of the company, and I've taken it over completely just recently. We're looking at a situation where for the past year and a half, I haven't had access to some things I needed to properly run this company, and now that I'm starting to see everything, I see that a ton of errors were made, so I need to address those mistakes before I commit to all kinds of things and still be able to feel good about doing them.
Stephie Daniels: You revealed that Janet Martin, your business partner, is no longer with Invicta. Was that an amicable split?
Shannon Knapp: It wasn't exactly amicable. She is definitely gone. I'm going to go back to what I said earlier; for me it's very important to do honest business. If you have someone that is representing the company, and they're not doing it appropriately, they're not being honest and they're not telling the truth, that becomes something that needs to be taken care of.You have to make a good, conscious decision that not only protects the company, but it protects your athletes.
There were a lot of issues, a lot of lies and a lot of discrepancies. The best decision for everyone, including Janet, was to part ways. It's funny how this weekend everyone is talking about how referees are there to also help protect the athletes from themselves. I think that this is exactly one of those situations. Sometimes, we have to make similar decisions to protect our business partners from themselves, and the damage that they continually do. I know it's kind of a weird way to compare it, but it's very much like that. You have to stop them from creating more damage. Somebody has to step in and say, 'Enough is enough. This is inappropriate on every level.'
It was a case where she just got way too far in over her head and hid a lot of things. She wasn't forthcoming, and in that mess of not being forthcoming, she created a whole bunch of other lies that affected lots of people. When that happens, and you find out as things start to unravel, you have to make decisions based on the best interest of the biggest asset we have, and that's our athletes.
Stephie Daniels: In some of your interviews from early this year, you mentioned that Invicta was being courted by a few television outlets. Have you come to any conclusions on which one you'll choose or has this internal housecleaning taken those talks off the table for the moment?
Shannon Knapp: There is a potential chance that we will sign a deal for 2014. We still have the reality series that's being bid on. There's pretty strong interest in that. Everything is still moving forward. Nothing has stopped in terms of where we aspire to go and what we aspire to do. I've been the one that's put the brakes on a little bit in an effort to get things cleaned up. We do have these offers and hopefully we'll be able to make some announcements and be moving in a different direction very shortly.
You can follow Shannon via her Twitter account, @ShanKnapp