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Invicta reaffirms cynical attitudes towards WMMA

Back in the 90s there was a dj / producer called The Orb from the UK and he toured extensively all over North America. Or so we thought – it was actually just some British guy in the US pretending to be the Orb and getting paid big bucks to play festivals across the country. I wonder if someone is doing the same thing with Randi Miller’s name. Minus the big bucks of course.

If there wasn’t photographic evidence that it was the same woman in the cage last night who won a bronze medal for wrestling in the 2008 Olympics, that would be my explanation for what we saw last night. No one was expecting her to come in and Rousey her competition in 10 seconds flat. Okay, maybe I was expecting some epic double legs that reduced her opponent’s pelvis to dust. Some thunder and lightning from on high signaling that the Olympians are here. Instead we saw someone who clearly wasn’t ready for the spotlight. And that really sums up a lot of my thoughts about Invicta.

Typically when you get these upstart promotions jumping into the world of streaming events, you end up with crazy technical difficulties and an event that flows for the viewer about as smoothly as sandpaper. But that wasn’t the case with Invicta. To their credit, the stream held up after some early hiccups. The production was tight and slick. The fights came quickly one after another. Mauro ’25 centimeter pole’ Ranallo managed to keep the sexual innuendo to a minimum. Where the show stumbled was in the cage.

Now fairly or not, every time you have a high profile all women’s card like this, the matches are going to be looked at through a different lense than your average fight card. You’d never watch a small MMA show out of Podunk, Redneckistan and base your opinion on the state of men’s MMA on what you saw. But this is the burden the ladies are going to have to put up with for a while as they seek to prove to the world that women’s MMA is just as exciting and awesome as its male counterpart. And in that regard Invicta largely failed.

WMMA cynics will say Invicta provided proof for many of their complaints: that the talent pool isn’t deep enough and we’re only halfway there in terms of quality fighters. And how can we disagree after seeing what we saw for the first half of the card? Those who have been to enough amateur shows or regional promotions would say last night was par for the MMA course, regardless of the sex involved. But when you’re putting a card together and holding it up to show the world what women’s MMA is all about, you need to do better.

It’s not fair that every WMMA fight becomes a mini-referendum on the worthiness of females fighting, but that’s the reality where we are right now. If Invicta wants to build a reputation as a place where the best female fighters compete, then they better take a close look at their matchmaking and make some changes because what we saw last night doesn’t cut it.

  • SST

    Only two fights worth watching again:

    Young v Smith
    Penne v Ellis-Ward

  • Fightlinker

    yep, agreed

  • Natasha

    Sorry, but I disagree. Looking at the sport from outside the US, this was the best thing happened to women’s MMA in years. Gina gave the sport a face, Cyborg street credibility, and such global availability trough free live streaming, a wider reach. Yes, we have Ronda, but she’s taking her (trash talking) game in the direction of American show wrestling – a pity, with her talents.

  • Symbul

    It was okay if you were also playing a game and/or browsing for porn to download when the fights were slow.

    What’s this about Ronda Rousey doing a pro wrestling schtick? That’s some crazy. Is that a paid-for post?

  • TheWrongdoorWrangler

    “…actually just some British guy in the US pretending to be the Orb and getting paid big bucks…”

    British dudes are always pulling that trick.
    And honestly I have no sympathy for dipshits who fall for that murcurial swishy accent.

    “…as they seek to prove to the world that women’s MMA is just as exciting and awesome as its male counterpart.”

    Good luck with that.
    All chick MMA is about as exciting and awesome as all dude porn.

    Must be a liberal thing.

  • Jarman

    Thank you for so nicely voicing my thoughts on Randi Miller. The “zombie-walk into clinch” woulda been suicide if her opponent could ppunch her way out of a wet paper bag. I was left completely baffled that she was an olympian.

    Natasha, that’s a very optimistic opinion you have there, but did you see the event? It was empty. Someone in the chat rightfully pointed out that there’s a big question mark as to how Invicta wil remain financially viable. They streamed the fights for free, so that’s pure overhead, and it looked like a grand total of 17 regular fans came, and the rest were friends and family of fighters. This might not be so good of an event.

    It’s unfortunate that all-women events get picked over with a fine-toothed comb, but when you combine sub-par matchmaking, sub-par fighters (or were they par? or birdie? fuck this golf analogy), shitty attendance, and an “underpants gnome’s” revenue stream plan, it’s a pretty bad sign of where the state of the sport is, at a low to mid level. Considering we’re all hoping for the awesome female fighters out there to be able to make it big, and live comfortably on their talents, it must be noted that for that to happen reliably, and with enough returns to be invested in as a serious promotion, there has to be a relatively healthy women’s amateur and semi-pro/pro scene able to attract crowds at regional level across the country. This is not indicated by what I saw at Invicta.

    Damn you Dana for being right again, WMMA’s not ready yet, i guess. A few more years, or a few more decades, but I despair for any all-women’s promotion that tries to make the jump.

  • Rob

    I only watched the back half of the card, so maybe I missed most of the squashes.  The only real “why?” match I saw was Carmouche squashing some poor chick with 1 fight.  In any case, I’d treat the first half like prelims: if they’re good great, otherwise it doesn’t really matter.

    I thought it was a pretty successful debut for a promotion.  Hopefully things will start getting more competitive as we get the “look at her, she’s really cool!” matches out of the way.

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    Speaking of Girlrilla, was there drug testing for this show?

    As much as I enjoy and support FMMA I realize that it’s about ten years behind the outies in skill level and twnty years behind on depth.  The comparison problem is even worse because Invicta’s not really comparable to a small indie card as this is the best of the non 135ers and possibly Zoila-weight.  So it paints itself into an odd corner by not having the best talent of the two strongest weight classes, but singling itself out as The Women’s League.

    I don’t know how they’ll get to stage 3: Profit without a Strikeforce merger but I’ll enjoy looking for the odd gems while it lasts.

  • Giallo

    The show was better then most other non female promotions out there. But it doesn’t help when the best female fighters are fighting for a promotion that doesn’t even want them.