The UFC have a struck a new deal with all-female promotion Invicta FC which will see their live and archived events air on the UFC Fight Pass subscription service.
“This is a historic multi-year, multi-event deal,” Marshall Zelaznak stated in a press release. “When we launched UFC FIGHT PASS last Christmas, we said that we would never rest in bringing the best value to our subscribers. The addition of live and archived Invicta programming is going to be of enormous interest to our existing subscribers and bring in new subscribers, too.”
Not so long ago Invicta FC had become the premier destination to see many of the world’s leading female fighters compete, until the UFC finally decided to throw their hat into the ring and get involved in promoting female MMA – a decision that’s so far proven to be a successful one for them.
At that stage Invicta, which was run by a former UFC employee Shannon Knapp, has become almost akin to a feeder league for the sport’s leading promotion, including the UFC essentially swallowing up Invicta’s roster of 115lb fighters to help form their own strawweight division which will come to life later this year during TUF 20.
Despite their roster being heavily depleted, Knapp had vowed to keep Invicta FC going as a place for up and coming female fighters to compete.
The promotion has always had a problem finding the right distribution deal though. Initially their live events were shown free on the internet, and after showing signs of popularity they attempted to switch to the pay-per-view model while hunting for a television deal.
If the UFC hadn’t got involved in female MMA then perhaps a TV deal could have come to fruition, but as things stand, appearing on the Fight Pass service and having the UFC’s promotional muscle behind them seems like the best option available to them.
“This is a great day for my company,” Knapp stated in the press release. “Since the start of Invicta, I’ve been committed to providing the biggest and best possible platform for women athletes and, with this distribution deal with UFC FIGHT PASS, Invicta will reach the most passionate MMA fans, wherever they are in the world.”
Naturally, Zelaznik was also sure that this was the right platform for Invicta FC to grow.
“UFC FIGHT PASS already has subscribers in over 155 countries, which is a huge platform the Invicta athletes,” Zelaznak noted. “Invicta fighters are now sharing the same stage as elite UFC fighters like Alexander Gustafson, Conor McGregor, Cung Le and Michael Bisping. For any UFC fans that haven’t seen these women compete before – I guarantee they will be blown away when they see what Invicta is all about.”
It’s an interesting deal in that it’s the first time that the UFC have ever struck a deal to air content from a company that they don’t own. It’s a good move for them though as it further strengthens the content available on the Fight Pass service and makes it a more attractive proposition for those who are not already subscribed to it, while also encouraging those who are to continue to do so.
Invicta FC content should start to appear on the service within 2-3 weeks and a live event is tenatively planned for late summer which will include a world title fight.
“This is an historic event for myself, the company and my athletes, and every one of them is going to want to be on this first card,” Knapp said.
Fighters who have previously fought for Invicta FC include former Strikeforce champions Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos, Marloes Coenen and Sarah Kaufman, along with numerous other notable names such as UFC bantamweight title challengers like Alexis Davis, Cat Zingano and Liz Carmouche.
In addition Invicta also includes divisions that are currently not featured in the UFC, such as the atomweight division fronted by current champion Michelle ‘The Karate Hottie’ Waterson (11-3) and flyweight division with Barb Honchak (9-2) installed as title holder.