In all my times watching mixed martial arts I can’t recall an event beginning with fight fanatics furious only to be praising Shannon Knapp and her all-female organization literally hours later with ramblings of ‘card of the year’ status .
When Invicta Fighting Championships hosted their debut event earlier this year the company’s figurehead asked fans to just give them one chance and whether it was her plea or just a lot of people looking to watch some high-level girl fights is unclear but either way, people tuned in in hoards.
According to Knapp 227,000 hungry fight fans logged onto Invictafc.com to witness their live feed from Kansas City that crashed their server leaving most unable to watch the event for an hour and change.
Essentially we were left with an uneasy situation where thousands of people across the globe were looking to get on to watch the stream that put a lot of excess pressure on the server that it could not deal with.
To give an analogy, we were left with thousands of people trying to get through a hypothetical door but were forced to go in single file, one at a time so those that got in early got a great high-quality stream but most were left in the dark.
Luckily for the Kansas City-based organization the female prize fighters that they employ won back the viewing public with an action-packed event capped off with former Olympic silver medallist Sara McMann topping submission ace Shayna Baszler.
With that win it sets up the main event of their next event with McMann battling an opponent to be named later for the first 135-pound championship as well as Jessica Penne meeting Naho Sugiyama for the 105-pound title.
In the lead up the event Knapp did a full media scrum where she discussed that she turned down three television deals leading up to tonight’s event, instead opting to leave it free to be viewed online.
I don’t think the Invicta officials had any idea of the popularity that their promotion would have right away and a lot of that has to do with the power of social media.
Invicta have encouraged their fighters to take to twitter and Facebook to talk about the upcoming events so a string of twenty-something-year-old girls filled my twitter feed with talks of the event that must have got a lot of viewers’ attention.
Tonight proved that they have got too popular to be on the internet for free, I spoke after their first event about the longevity of the organization depending largely on getting on television and abandoning the internet streaming field and I stand by this.
While it is unclear which television networks contacted Invicta there is a good chance that she is holding off until Strikeforce is exiled from the Showtime network because there is an existing relationship there with Knapp already worked with Showtime and Strikeforce in the past.
Right now Women’s MMA is in a delicate state and Invicta’s popularity continues to soar but if they continue to disappoint with their internet streams there will be a lot that will choose to spend their Saturday evening’s punishing their liver and chasing the opposite sex rather than watching some girls punch one another.
In the professional wrestling realm popular independent organization Ring of Honor have ran in to a string of problems with their feeds with most fans left unable to watch events that they paid to watch live.
While they did their best to get fans of the athletic wrestling promotion to return to their events offering to show their last event for free but they are not far behind where they should be because they have to earn the trust of the viewer again, Invicta cannot afford this.
The internet is one of the most powerful tools at your fingertips but for this promotion to become bigger and not be a blip on the radar as another failed all-female organization they need the backing of a television deal.
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