Let’s call Invicta FC what it really is: A promotion meant to feed into the ranks of the UFC. And hey, that’s fine – there are tons of regional organizations out there that proudly accept that role, the only difference with Invicta FC is that it’s the premiere brand for female MMA bouts and fighters.
But the raison d’etre of any feeder organization is that it serves as a ladder to the big leagues, and now there’s a rung on that ladder that’s broken.
That rung is Tonya Evinger, Invicta’s bantamweight champ, and no one can climb past her.
Evinger is good. She wrestles and jiu-jitsus the heck out of girls, and she’s been in the game so long that few things can surprise her. Since joining Invicta back in 2003, she’s gone undefeated in five fights, and there’s literally no one on the roster who will likely beat her. She is the queen of all Invicta 135 pounders.
Strangely enough, that’s a problem. Because she’s been fighting for so long, we’ve seen the upper limits of her ability and potential. We’ve seen her lose to Alexis Davis a couple times, we watched her fall to Sara McMann. Granted, Evinger is a much better fighter now, but one thing is clear, and that’s that she’ll never beat someone like Miesha Tate or Amanda Nunes. And there isn’t a chance in hell she’d give UFC champ Ronda Rousey a decent fight. Evinger is great in Invicta’s talent pool, but swimming with the sharks of the Octagon would get her eaten.
Which brings us back to the feeder organization thing, and how Evinger is backing up bantamweight traffic for miles.
Maybe Pannie Kianzad – Evinger’s opponent last night – would’ve done well in the Octagon. Maybe she would’ve looked good amassing wins against the likes of Jessica Eye, Sarah Kaufman and Liz Carmouche. She would’ve at least had solid fights while she established herself on the sport’s biggest stage. But Evinger derailed that train, derailed it because she’s too good for Invicta but not good enough to make waves in the UFC.
And therein lies the problem. At bantamweight at least, Invicta’s ladder is broken and no fresh and promising talent can climb higher.
Evinger has knocked the feeder system is offline.
That sucks for Invicta, that sucks for the UFC, that sucks for the promising bantamweights trying rise up the ranks. Most of all, that sucks for the fans.
Basically, it just sucks.