Let's get this straight from the start: It's not that mixed martial artist Michelle Waterson doesn't appreciate the honor of headlining Friday night's Invicta 5 promotion in Kansas City. It's just that as a fan of women's MMA -- not just as a practitioner of it -- she has a confession to make: "I would love to be able to fight first and then watch the rest of the girls," she says.
Hardcore female fight fans understand why.
Invicta, the women's-only fight promotion, celebrates its one-year anniversary by hosting what many industry insiders suggest might be the best all-female fight card ever assembled. Invicta co-founders Shannon Knapp and Janet Martin have bet good money -- their own money, in fact -- on the concept that fight fans will pay $9.95 to watch an online stream of legitimate female fighters show off their legitimate skills. The promotion isn't peddling the notions of celebrity (there's only one Ronda Rousey), or history (like the inaugural UFC female fight last February), but in the simple belief in its viability (show good fights and fans will pay good money).
The business plan is as straightforward as it is scary. After all, it was only two years ago that UFC president and de facto industry boss Dana White derided women fighters and declared that they would never fight in the UFC. Nor have legacy sports like basketball or boxing presented a blueprint for the economic and cultural success of female athletes.
It's not that the mainstream masses don't want to watch females fight. The franchising of