Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) may have crushed some of the competition during its rise to the top of the mixed martial arts (MMA) world, but in their defense, Dana White and Co. have also been very supportive of other organizations, too.
Sure, White has had his issues with other combat sports promotions and their top dogs -- namely his well-publicized beef with Bellator's Bjorn Rebney -- but the Las Vegas fight boss has also had healthy relationships with a few, as well.
Like former Strikeforce big cheese Scott Coker, whom White never badmouthed (Showtime is another story), eventually buying out his company in 2011. Before merging, UFC also helped push and keep World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) around for three years after taking over in 2008.
In their latest join venture, UFC officials recently announced that it had come to terms with Invicta Fighting Championships, the industry's only all-female MMA promotion, for a new content distribution deal that will see all future events aired on the UFC Fight Pass digital network.
"It made all the sense in the world for us, especially when it comes to our fans. I always made the commitment that I wanted our fans to be able to see the events no matter where they were in the world. Sometimes when you're dealing with networks, your international fans kinda lose out and things like that, so this deal made the most sense for the commitments that I've made in terms of pushing this forward for the female athletes, providing us with a stable home, and to our fans. They're getting double the content of what they would normally get, plus no matter where you are in the world, you have access to it, so that was a huge deal for me."
One thing Knapp wants to make perfectly clear is that despite the deal, she is still the sole owner of Invicta.
Furthermore, she dispelled any notion that UFC officials are controlling her every move, saying that in no way, shape or form do they "rule with an iron fist," revealing that White and Co. have been nothing but respectful to her and her vision.
"I get this all the time. I'm telling you ... hand on the Bible, and I'm very religious, they own nothing. Currently, at this time, I own 100 percent of Invicta. It cracks me up. Because everybody is like, oh, ‘UFC does this to her, does this, does that.' You guys, I can't say this enough when I tell you that they have been completely respectful. They have been so courteous and everything. They're not in here ruling with an iron fist, this perception that people have. They want us to succeed. Geez, when I first started Invicta and I came up with the idea and I talked to Dana, he was incredibly supportive. He sent me flowers for my first show. They've always been supportive of that vision and wished me well, and to be at this point in time when we can walk hand-in-hand in that, I look over at them in a very grateful way because with this partnership, they're helping me continue to build this out and continue to fill those commitments and knock down those barriers."
Knapp also revealed that her next event is still in the works, though it should be hitting UFC Fight Pass later this year.
And with the new partnership, Shannon is confident that bigger and better things are on the horizon for her company and its fighters.
See Bjorn, White and Co. aren't that bad after all.