Earlier today, UFC president, Dana White dropped a bombshell on MMA media with plans to bring in the 115 pound women's division. We had heard some rumblings a few months ago, but the official word was that it wouldn't be happening in the near future. Of course, the tide can change in MMA in the blink of an eye, and that's what's happened here.
The question on everyone's mind now is, what will happen to Invicta FC? The deepest pool of talent at 115 is most certainly in Shannon Knapp's meticulous care, so it stands to reason that is where Sean Shelby and Joe Silva will be fishing from to bolster their new division. I spoke with Shannon just a few moments ago to get an official statement. Here's what she had to say:
I think it's great. I've always said that my goal was to build these divisions out to bring awareness to the female athletes in the sport by giving them a home and opportunities. I believe the UFC bringing in more weight divisions is proof that we are breaking down the barriers and moving the sport forward for the females. I saw it and believed in it from the start, and I'm happy that Invicta has been instrumental in changing the landscape for the female athletes. It's always been my personal and professional goal to make a difference in this sport, and I believe that each and every day, I'm accomplishing that.
Knapp made it clear that Invicta is here to stay, and that she will continue to build all the weight divisions in her organization. She states that she wasn't 'broadsided' with the news, that the decision to move forward with the division plans came about just recently, and she was kept in the loop about it. She maintains that her sterling relationship with the UFC is intact and strong. Her commitment to women's MMA is still her number one priority, and in her own words, Invicta isn't going anywhere. She states that,
I think it's a testament to how well Invicta is doing, and I couldn't be more proud of what we've managed to accomplish for the women in the sport. We've just begun our work, and we want to keep making a difference. There's going to be a demand for more talent. I plan to give them a home where new strawweight competitors can be built up. This doesn't mean the end of anything. Honestly, this is just the beginning.
There's still plenty of work to be done in all of the women's divisions. I'm looking at this as a personal and professional victory, and it is of tremendous benefit to the athletes. When the biggest organization out there is taking a look at what you've done, and they embrace it, then you know you've succeeded.
You can follow Shannon via her Twitter account, @ShanKnapp