Friday, June 29, 2012

Janet Martin Invicta Fighting Championships Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-6: Invicta FC

The first Invicta FC card was a big success. Well run with some talented female fighters, highlighted by a fight of the year candidate between Kaitlin Young and Leslie Smith. On July 28th the second Invicta card takes place, including some of the names from the first, like Kaitlin and some other stars such as Liz Carmouche, Alexis Davis and a great main event between Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler. The people at Invicta are taking the lead in promoting female mixed martial arts fighters and giving them a place to show that they have the same skill set and skill level as male fighters. This is such a great opportunity to not only support women's MMA, but just to see some great fights featuring great athletes. One of the main people behind Invicta is Janet Martin, so here is my interview with Janet.

Q: Before we talk about the next card, with the first one, just overall, how satisfied were you with how it went?
A: We were very pleased with the event overall. We had great attendance, outstanding viewership of our free live stream. The fights were phenomenal, all the fighters stepped up and performed in an outstanding way. Win or lose it really made a statement for women's MMA.

Q: You guys have been great at dealing with media and women's MMA supporters, how big a part did that community play in the success of the first show?
A: It helps. Everyone got their shoulders on their heads and lifted the event up. They supported the fighters and Invicta FC. The women's MMA community has been phenomenal, the advocates, the fans, the media, the fighters themselves were really supporting each other. That support was a vital component for it. It really made the difference in the success of the event.

Q: Looking at the whole event, was there one thing that stood out that maybe ten years from now will be your big memory from the event?
A: From a fight perspective, definitely the Kaitlin Young and Leslie Smith fight was outstanding. Going toe to toe, it ended in a draw. It was phenomenal fight for both fighters, it was exciting for the fans, it carried the momentum forward. It really helped make a statement on the quality of fighters out there. Throughout the event we got outstanding support from fans watching it, tweeting about it, facebook comments. It really helped elevate the event for us. That is something I will take forward. We put our first event out and the enthusiasm about is something I will remember ten or twenty years from now.

Q: Kaitlin and Leslie had a great fight, a possible fight of the year, was their any consideration into matching them again?
A: I see that in the future. It was our first event and they put on an outstanding fight and I think they would be eager to fight again. I see us possibly making that in the future, I think they would embrace it. Both fighters were excited about their performances, each one wants to get that win, so I see that happening in the future.

Q: I have said I think Sara McMann is pound for pound the best in the sport right now, how big is it to have her in the main event?
A: Sara is an outstanding fighter and an outstanding role model for women's MMA. She brings her Olympic experience as well as a dedication to training to adapt from wrestling to MMA. It is a pleasure to work with her and her camp. She has a great personality that spills out of the cage. It is our pleasure to have that relationship with Pro Elite and have her on the card.

Q: Shayna Baszler is a great fighter who gets overlooked, would you agree she presents Sara with her toughest opposition to this point?
A: Oh yeah! Sara and Shayna squaring off in the cage is an excellent challenge for both fighters. Shayna has experience and has fought on all kinds of levels of shows. As far as skill match-up, they have their individual skills but they also cross over and compare in the type of skills they bring to the cage. I wont get gutsy and predict a winner, they are evenly matched. They are stepping in to win so the best fighter will win, but I cant predict who that will be.

Q: You also have opened up relationships to get some good talent in from Japan, did you actively seek that out or did it come to you?
A: It was kind of we met in the middle. I have worked with Sucker Punch before with Roxanne Modafferi, and she has that relationship with the Japanese fighters, so I came to him talking about talent, and we are happy to have the relationship with Jewels. It will bring some unique talent to the United States. Sharing that talent with Jewels and maybe in the future send some fighters to Japan is exciting.

Q: For this card, with people like Liz Carmouche and Alexis Davis, you seem to have more names known to the casual fan, does that make you optimistic this can reach a wider audience than the first one?
A: Yeah, I think the fighters like Liz and Alexis and Amanda (Nunes) have put themselves out there at a different level and have expanded their fan base. For the casual fan it is recognizable names, so I am optimistic we will bring in additional viewership. It allows us to showcase some talent stepping in across the cage from them who may not have that recognition but their fights will speak for them.

Q: The first event you had so many females who were not even on the card hyping it up and saying how great it was, how satisfying was that for you?
A: It was very satisfying. Both Shannon Knapp and I wanted to make a difference and that was one way we saw the potential for that, the female fighters rallying around each other and supporting. They are competitors in the cage but understand it is a community and they are in it together, they train and condition the same and fight their hearts out. They saw a lot of themselves in the fighters on the card, using social media to get the word out, it introduced women's MMA to more people. I feel females will benefit from that kind of impact.

Q: There is a lot of good amateur talent right now, do you closely follow the amateurs and see who might be the future fighters for you?
A: Most Definitely! I keep tapped into the ammy fights, look at the rankings, look at the promotions and title holders. I am constantly doing research on both amateur and pro fighters. The amateur fighters will be the next wave of fighters coming up so to find that new wave of talent and step in and challenge the upper level fighters is what will keep women's MMA fresh, exciting and moving forward.

Q: Has their been any talk of having titles in the future?
A: Yes, as we progress and possibly even in the very near future we will start putting together title matches. In some weight classes it may take a little longer to progress. In the near future their will be some exciting title fights.

Q: One thing I liked was for example Miesha Tate being able to commentate a fight even though she is with a different organization, to me that helps show you aren't out there trying to compete, but more give female fighters a place to fight, is that accurate?
A: Yeah we want to have a cooperative working relationship in the MMA community. We are showcasing female fighters, that is our platform. We want to be cooperative and competitive and have a great experience for fans. It is about the experience we can create as a women's MMA platform.

Q: What is maybe one thing you learned from the first event that will help make the second one better?
A: There is always opportunities to learn. There is small little things within the venue, the flow of the show and great input from the fans. We will keep tweaking things to make the events a better experience for the fans in the venue and viewers at home. I can't say there is one specific thing, but as we move forward there are some small things we will do better. That is our challenge to our self, to keep making it a great experience and show for the fans.

Q: For someone reading who doesn't know what Invicta is, why should they watch it?
A: It is the outstanding depth of female talent. We work with people making their pro debut to higher ranking veterans. Give it a chance, sit down, we offer it for free, or buy a ticket if you are local, and enjoy it. All the hard work they put into their fight camps, they will bring it, they will have the heart and passion. It will be exciting to watch them give it their all. You will walk away satisfied, it will be some of the best fights MMA can offer.

Q: Anything you want to add?
A: We are excited to be working with all of the females on the card and bring in International talent. We wish them all the best, they are training hard and we are here to support that and give them the platform they deserve.

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