Invicta Fighting Championships

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Invicta Fighting Championships
Type Private
Industry Mixed martial arts promotion
Founded 2012 (2012)
Founder(s) Shannon Knapp
Janet Martin
Headquarters Enka, North Carolina, United States
Area served United States
Key people
Shannon Knapp (President) Julie Kedzie (Matchmaker)

Invicta Fighting Championships, also known as Invicta FC, is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) organization for female fighters.[1] It was founded in 2012 by Janet Martin[2] a former VP with MMA organization Blackeye Promotions[3] and Shannon Knapp, who held positions at various levels, including executive positions with King of the Cage, World Fighting Alliance, International Fight League, Affliction Entertainment, UFC and Strikeforce.[4] It has a strategic partnership with fellow Japanese MMA promotion Jewels.[5]


When Zuffa, parent company of the UFC, purchased rival promotion Strikeforce in March 2011 (2011-03), Shannon Knapp received several calls from female fighters who were afraid of what the future might hold for them in Strikeforce since the UFC had never promoted a women's fight.[2][6] As the women were calling Knapp for representation, she started looking at the issue and met Janet Martin, and between the two acquired the financial resources needed.[7]

The term Invicta, a Latin word for "invincible and incomparable", was chosen by founders Knapp and Martin since the terms invincible and incomparable are very masculine, but the term appears in the feminine form in Latin, and they thought it was a good description for women's MMA.[8]

Free online streamed events[edit]

After more than a year in the making,[7] the promotion held its first event, Invicta FC 1 on April 28, 2012 (2012-04-28).[9] It was headlined by a rematch between former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen and French fighter Romy Ruyssen.[9] The event also marked the MMA debut of 2008 Summer Olympics women's freestyle wrestling medalist Randi Miller.[10] The event was available as a free video stream at the Invicta Fighting Championships webpage.[9] After the event, fight of the night went to Kaitlin Young and Leslie Smith who fought to a draw whilst submission of the night was awarded to Sarah Schneider. Liz Carmouche and Jessica Penne both received social media bonuses.[11]

On June 9, it was announced that Invicta has formed a strategic partnership with Japanese promotion JEWELS to cross-promote the world’s top female fighters on their respective fight cards in the United States and Japan.[12]

Invicta then held its second event (Invicta FC 2: Baszler vs. McMann) on July 28, 2012. Like the first event, it was made available as a free stream on the promotion's official website. The event was headlined by 2004 Summer Olympics women's freestyle wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler.[13] Carla Esparza and Barb Honchak made their promotional debuts on this card. As part of the alliance with Japanese promotion Jewels, Jewels lightweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki was set to face undefeated Austrian fighter Jasminka Cive as part of the main event but Cive was unable to secure her visa in time and has been replaced by Lacey Shuckman.[5][14]

On September 24, 2012, Invicta announced a strategic alliance with the Super Fight League, which aims to bring the best Indian female fighters to Invicta, whilst Invicta will aim to send world class female mixed martial artists to the Super Fight League.[15]

Sara McMann was originally scheduled to fight for the Invicta FC Bantamweight Championship at Invicta FC 3 but this did not occur due to an injury to McMann.

Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama took place on October 6, 2012. Invicta continued their partnership with Jewels as Jessica Penne faced and beat the previously undefeated Jewels 105 lb champion Naho Sugiyama for the inaugural Invicta FC Atomweight Championship.

Also at Invicta FC 3, Leslie Smith fought Kaitlin Young in a rematch from their exciting "fight of the night" Invicta FC 1 bout where they fought to a draw. This time, Smith was able to get the better of Young and defeated her by TKO in the second round.[16] Invicta FC3 also saw the promotional debut of long time Women's Bantamweight and Flyweight standout Tara LaRosa, as well as the debuts of Michelle Waterson and Cat Zingano. Fight of the night bonuses went to Michelle Waterson and Lacey Schuckman. The submission of the night bonus was split between Jessamyn Duke and Stephanie Frausto while knockout of the night went to promotional newcomer Joanne Calderwood.

Move to online pay-per-view events[edit]

On December 19, Shannon Knapp announced Invicta FC 4 would air as an online pay-per-view.

Invicta Fighting Championships held their fourth event (Invicta FC 4: Esparza vs. Hyatt) on January 5, 2013. The event was headlined by the inaugural Invicta FC Strawweight Championship bout between Carla Esparza and Bec Hyatt (in Hyatt's promotional debut). Esparza was originally scheduled to fight Ayaka Hamasaki for the title but Hamasaki pulled out of the fight due to commitments to defending her JEWELS lightweight title. Hamasaki was originally replaced by undefeated Brazilian fighter Claudia Gadelha but on December 28, Gadelha was also forced to withdraw after suffering a broken nose in training. Esparza defeated Hyatt to become the first Invicta FC Strawweight Champion. Also Alexis Davis defeated Shayna Baszler in the card's fight of the night and Rose Namajunas won knock-out of the night in her professional MMA debut.

Due to purchasing issues on the night of the event, the event was streamed for free rather than pay per view and it was announced that all buyers would be refunded.

Invicta FC 5: Penne vs. Waterson took place on April 5th 2013. The card was headlined by Jessica Penne who lost her Invicta FC Atomweight Championship to "The Karate Hottie" Michelle Waterson. The event featured a co-main event of Vanessa Porto vs. Barb Honchak with the latter being crowned as the first Invicta FC Flyweight Champion. In addition, Sarah Kaufman and "Cyborg" Cristiane Justino both won in their Invicta FC debuts. On this occasion, the online pay per view went smoothly, avoiding any issues experiences at Invicta FC 4.

During Invicta FC 5, there were no issues with the Ustream pay-per-view system as there had been in January.

Televised Pay-Per-View[edit]

Invicta FC 6: Coenen vs. Cyborg took place on 13th July 2013, featuring the crowning of Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino as the inaugural Featherweight champion and a Strawweight title eliminator match won by Claudia Gadelha over Ayaka Hamasaki (previously unbeaten JEWELS lightweight champion). The winner will face champion Carla Esparza. The card also featured wins by Jessica Penne, Lauren Taylor, Tecia Torres, Leslie Smith and Joanne Calderwood.

This event was aired on cable and satellite pay-per-view in the United States and Canada in addition to their online PPV stream, as the promotion had come to a deal with Integrated Sports Media for live viewing.[17]


Invicta's current rules follows the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts that were originally established by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board and modified by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.[18]



Note: Upcoming events are listed in Italic.

# Event Title Date Arena Location Attendance
7 Invicta FC 7: Honchak vs. Smith December 7, 2013 Ameristar Casino Kansas City Kansas City, Missouri
6 Invicta FC 6: Coenen vs. Cyborg July 13, 2013 Ameristar Casino Kansas City Kansas City, Missouri
5 Invicta FC 5: Penne vs. Waterson April 5, 2013 Ameristar Casino Kansas City Kansas City, Missouri 1,147
4 Invicta FC 4: Esparza vs. Hyatt January 5, 2013 Memorial Hall Kansas City, Kansas
3 Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama October 6, 2012 Memorial Hall Kansas City, Kansas 600
2 Invicta FC 2: Baszler vs. McMann July 28, 2012 Memorial Hall Kansas City, Kansas
1 Invicta FC 1: Coenen vs. Ruyssen April 28, 2012 Memorial Hall Kansas City, Kansas

Current champions[edit]

Division Upper weight limit Champion Since Title Defenses Top Contender
Featherweight 145 lb (66 kg; 10.4 st) Brazil Cristiane Justino July 13, 2013 (Invicta FC 6) 0
Bantamweight 135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st) United States Lauren Murphy December 7, 2013 (Invicta FC 7) 0
Flyweight 125 lb (57 kg; 8.9 st) United States Barb Honchak April 5, 2013 (Invicta FC 5) 1
Strawweight 115 lb (52 kg; 8.2 st) Vacant
Atomweight 105 lb (48 kg; 7.5 st) United States Michelle Waterson April 5, 2013 (Invicta FC 5) 0

Title history[edit]

Featherweight Championship[edit]

136 to 145 lbs (62 to 66 kg)
No. Name Event Date Reign Defenses
1 Brazil Cristiane Justino
def. Netherlands Marloes Coenen
Invicta FC 6:
Coenen vs. Cyborg

Kansas City, MO, USA
July 13, 2013 281 days

Bantamweight Championship[edit]

126 to 135 lbs (57 to 61 kg)
No. Name Event Date Reign Defenses
1 United States Lauren Murphy
def. United States Miriam Nakamoto
Invicta FC 7:
Honchak vs. Smith

Kansas City, MO, USA
December 7, 2013 134 days

Flyweight Championship[edit]

116 to 125 lbs (53 to 56 kg)
No. Name Event Date Reign Defenses
1 United States Barb Honchak
def. Brazil Vanessa Porto
Invicta FC 5:
Penne vs. Waterson

Kansas City, MO, USA
April 5, 2013 380 days
1. def. Leslie Smith at Invicta FC 7 on Dec 7, 2013

Strawweight Championship[edit]

106 to 115 lbs (49 to 52 kg)
No. Name Event Date Reign Defenses
1 United States Carla Esparza
def. Australia Bec Hyatt
Invicta FC 4:
Esparza vs. Hyatt

Kansas City, KS, USA
January 5, 2013 341 days
Esparza vacated title on December 11, 2013 to participate on The Ultimate Fighter 20.[20][21]

Atomweight Championship[edit]

96 to 105 lbs (44 to 48 kg)
No. Name Event Date Reign Defenses
1 United States Jessica Penne
def. Japan Naho Sugiyama
Invicta FC 3:
Penne vs. Sugiyama

Kansas City, KS, USA
October 6, 2012 181 days
2 United States Michelle Waterson
Invicta FC 5:
Penne vs. Waterson

Kansas City, MO, USA
April 5, 2013 380 days


  1. ^ "Invicta Fighting Championships, about". 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  2. ^ a b Paligaru, Matt (2012-03-24). "Shannon Knapp reveals how Invicta FC came together and what it means for women's MMA". United Kingdom: Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  3. ^ Ragsdale, Cheryl (August 29, 2011). "Marloes Coenen signs with Blackeye Promotions, the home for women’s MMA: Fan reaction". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ Sargent, Robert (2012-02-17). "All-Female Invicta Fighting Championships Debuts On April 28". Articles. Canada: Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  5. ^ a b "Invicta Fighting and JEWELS Form Strategic Partnership for Women’s MMA". United States: MMA Weekly. 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  6. ^ Saccaro, Matt (2012-04-26). "Invicta FC's Shannon Knapp Talks Providing 'Better Life for the Athletes'". MMA. United States: Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  7. ^ a b Hunt, Loretta (2012-04-27). "Invicta, new women's-only MMA series, was long time coming". Inside MMA. United States: Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  8. ^ Adams, Jason (2012-03-21). "Janet Martin Interview". United States: Promoting Real Women blog. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  9. ^ a b c "Marloes Coenen, Romy Ruyssen Headline Invicta Fighting Championships’ All-Female Card". News. United States: 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  10. ^ "As debut nears, Invicta's Randi Miller not interested in Ronda Rousey's 'easy road'". News. United States: 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  11. ^ Sargent, Robert (2012-04-29). "Invicta FC 1 Bonuses: Young, Smith Win Fight Of The Night". Articles. Canada: Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  12. ^ "Invicta Fighting and JEWELS Form Strategic Partnership for Women’s MMA". Articles. 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  13. ^ "Sara McMann Faces Shayna Baszler In Invicta FC 2 Headliner". Canada: 2012-04-28. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  14. ^ "Invicta FC Partners with Jewels to Create Top Female Fights". United States: The Fight Network. 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  15. ^ "Super Fight League to Develop Women's MMA Talent". September 24, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Invicta FC 3 Results: Penne vs. Sugiyama". 
  17. ^ Invicta FC 6 cable and satellite pay-per-view to cost just $14.95
  18. ^ "NSAC Regulations: CHAPTER 467 - UNARMED COMBAT". Nevada State Athletic Commission. Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  19. ^ "INVICTA FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS". Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  20. ^ Simon, Zane (2013-12-11). "UFC announces signing of 11 women strawweights for TUF season, winner becomes first UFC 115lb champ". United States: Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  21. ^ "Invicta FC Strawweight title vacated". United States: Twitter. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 

External links[edit]