A month ago, the Indian MMA fans were jubilant after we broke the news that Manjit Kolekar would become the first Indian to fight under the Invicta FC banner. However, couple of weeks ago, it was revealed that the documentation process for her visa won’t be done in time for the event, and Mizuki Inoue replaced Manjit on the card.
While India has been waiting for an MMA revolution, an Indian fighter needs to fight in one of the major organizations to capture the attention of the fans. While Manjit was touted to be the fighter that could finally set things in motion, her withdrawal from Invicta 18 was seen as a major setback. However, I caught up with the President of Invicta FC, Shannon Knapp to talk about Invicta 18 and Manjit’s future.
Invicta 18 – The showcase of talent for the future
Invicta 18 will be headlined by Alexa Grasso and Jodie Esquibel, while IFC veterans such as Jessamyn Duke, Megan Anderson and Peggy Morgan provide the star power. However, this card also marks the debut of various fighters, including the likes of Amberlynn Orr who has been highly successful in local promotions.
Shannon described Invicta 18 as the platform for showcasing the talent for the future. When asked about what the fans can expect from the event, Shannon said, “In my opinion, this card is going to display a lot of the new talents that maybe a casual fan, or the Invicta fans haven’t seen yet. I’m pretty excited about that because it has given us the opportunity to showcase some of these new talents that we’ve signed.”
Invicta also implemented early weigh - ins for the first time in promotion’s history. Shannon said she was open to implement any changes which could prove beneficial for the fighters, and when asked about the protocols the company follows, Shannon mentioned that Invicta implements whatever the State Athletic Commission proposes.
Talking about rehydration through IVs, Shannon said Invicta takes a page or two from what UFC is currently doing.
“I’ve always kind of done things by what the figures spoke. In terms of UFC, we’ve tried to stick as close to the policies that they implement, but the fact that a lot of times the athletes in the weight divisions move over to that weight. So we don’t advocate any of that here; we pretty much stick to the same protocols UFC does.”
Manjit Kolekar will fight on the Invicta 19 card
When asked about Manjit’s visa issues, Shannon stated that while it proved to be a problem for this event, Manjit will be competing on Invicta’s next event.
“Yeah, by the time there were certain issues and delay with the visa – the approval process. I mean, it’s not uncommon; it can happen, and I think that this time we’ve noticed that it was a bit of a struggle than we have had previously with the athletes (international), just for what is happening in the world. I think security is a little more tightened, but it’s something that is going to be fine. She will be processed; it just wasn’t going to be done in time for her to make this fight.”
Shannon also told me that Invicta is always looking for top fighters from around the world, and are going to scout more fighters from India.
“You know, we’re always looking. We certainly don’t discriminate against anybody that comes from anywhere. We’re always looking for what could possibly be top tier talent. So if you’re out there, we want to know; we’re going to look and find them. We’re very excited to have her (Manjit) here at Invicta. And we’re going to find other athletes from India.”