Cris Cyborg

Cris Cyborg

It’s been a big week for all-female fight promotion Invicta FC. Not only did the promotion announce their upcoming fifth card to take place on April 5, but the signings of former Bellator champion Zoila Frausto-Gurgel and ex-Strikeforce title holder Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos further established a high level of excitement for the promotion.

Speaking to MMAWeekly.com shortly after the signing of Santos, Invicta president Shannon Knapp discussed what is already becoming an even better second year for her promotion.

MMAWeekly.com: Before we talk about the recent moves Invicta has been making, tell us your thoughts on the promotion’s first show of the year this past January.

Shannon Knapp: It was both good and bad. We crashed the pay servers on UStream, but what was more disheartening was that it was complicated for the fans of Invicta going through it. We’re definitely working on all our strategies moving forward on how fans will be able watch this upcoming card.

As far as the card itself, it absolutely delivered. We didn’t have as many finishes, but that being said, any fight that went to decision was an absolutely good, competitive fight. So overall, it was a very good event.

MMAWeekly.com: Moving on to this past week’s big news, tell us your thoughts on signing Cris Santos.

Shannon Knapp: Of course we’re delighted and excited here at Invicta to bring Cris on board. I’ve worked with Cris for many years now. I think she’s one of the most amazing female athletes – if not the best athlete – pound for pound in the world. It’s a huge signing for us to add an athlete like her to our roster.

MMAWeekly.com: There had been controversial talk prior to her signing with Invicta about trying to get her to fight at 135 pounds. Will she be fighting at her previous 145 pounds?

Shannon Knapp: It makes sense to us because we have compelling fights for her 145. We have under contract Ediane Gomez, Julia Budd, Fiona Muxlow; we’ve got compelling fights, compelling match-ups for her. So it makes sense for her (to stay at 145).

MMAWeekly.com: There are obvious concerns with her coming of a suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs in her last fight in December of 2011. Can you address any concerns you may have about this in her signing with Invicta?

Shannon Knapp: The bottom line is Cris made a mistake, and there are many athletes in our sport who have made mistakes. I feel that she deserves a second chance and I believe Cris when she says she’s not going to (make the same mistake) again.

She has no problem – none – nor conveyed any issues or problems with being tested. We will test her for many reasons: to continue to help her recover and rebuild her reputation, as well as (to placate) the athletes she’s competing against, as well as for the integrity of our organization.

MMAWeekly.com: The other big signing to Invicta recently is Zoila Frausto-Gurgel. With both her and Cris being former champions in previous promotions, will they be getting title shots sooner than later or will they have to work their way up like other fighters?

Shannon Knapp: Once again, Zoila is an amazing athlete, and both her and Cris have fought on such big stages and bring a lot of value to Invicta.

(Frausto-Gurgel) will be working her way to a title shot for sure. Just like with Cris, she’s fighting before (she gets a title shot). It’s not like we gave them a ‘gimme’ fight, either. They’re fighting top-ranked opponents, and only if they win will they get a shot at a title. They’re going to work for it, that’s just the way it is.

MMAWeekly.com: Tell us your thoughts on the overall April 5 card. Are there any other highlights you care to point out to us on the event?

Shannon Knapp: It was an amazing, stacked card before, but to add Zoila and Cris, it’s just ridiculous. It’s an amazing, ridiculously, stacked, packed card. This is our best card ever.

I wish I could single out one or two things, but it’s not easy. I can go down this list and every fight on this card is one I want to see. That’s why they’re on the card. We went in on this card and put together a card based on good, quality fights and fights we wanted to see. From the first fight to the last fight, all these athletes are capable of amazing performances.

If you’re a fan of MMA, you’re not going to want to miss it. This card will deliver – I guarantee it.

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