Invicta FC’s Felice Herrig: Women’s MMA Turns Men On
By Joshua Molina
Felice Herrig believes women’s MMA is here to stay — thanks to Invicta FC.
The 115-pound straw weight fighter and former Muay Thai champion is glowing after signing a contract with Invicta FC, what appears to be one of, if not the single fastest-growing MMA company in the nation.
“I am really excited to be inside the Invicta cage,” Herrig (9-4) told Full Contact Fighter. “Invicta treats its fighters so well. I hope my first fight will be an exciting fight and a fight the fans will want to see.”
Herrig said she plans to fight in either November or January for the company. A former Muay Thai world champion, Herrig is one of the many talented female fighters who has found a home in Invicta FC. Launched in April of 2012, Invicta FC has become the destination company for female MMA fighters. Unlike the UFC, Invicta FC offers multiple weight classes and its business model is to focus on all of the female fighters, not just one superstar.
Herrig takes nothing away from UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, but doesn’t believe it’s right that the UFC has focused so much attention on just one fighter when so many women have also made huge sacrifices to grow the sport.
“I just don’t think it’s fair and I think that’s a lot of pressure on her to say that the future of women’s MMA solely rests on one girl,” Herrig said. “That is not the case. Shannon Knapp (Invicta FC President) did it right. She treats all the girls right. She respects all the girls. She didn’t focus on one person to be her star. She gave every single girl an opportunity to do her thing and showcase their skills. She gives the girls every opportunity to shine where they can do it in their own way. Every girl is their own individual. She doesn’t play favorites.”
After fighting her last two fights in Bellator, Herrig said she feels fortunate to be fighting for Invicta FC.
“When you are with Invicta you know you are one of the top girls in the world,” Herrig said.
The Crystal Lake, Ill fighter said Bellator let her out of her contract so she could move to Invicta and fight the best female 115-pound fighters.
“In Bellator I was never able to fight the other top level girls,” Herrig said. “Ever since Invicta started doing so well I thought ‘I really need to be there.’ It’s just that Invicta took all the girls and Bellator was left with little opportunities. My career is really going to take off now.”
Invicta will also allow Herrig to continue her Muay Thai career. Herrig was supposed to have a Muay Thai fight this weekend but it was scrapped because she said her opponent didn’t get a mandatory eye exam. Muay Thai, she said, is her true passion.
“I would really love to get back to Muay Thai because that is what I really love,” said Herrig, who began her career as a kickboxer and Muay Thai practioner. “That is what got me into the sport.”
With the rise of a handful of kickboxing and Muay Thai promotions in the U.S., including Glory, Herrig sees many opportunities for her in combat sports.
“I would like to be in the mix in there as well,” Herrig said.
The reality, though, Herrig said, is that fighters make more money in MMA so that is the route she has taken.
“It’s a business,” she said. “If I am going to get paid more money for an MMA fight, it makes sense.”
Herrig plans to make her Invicta FC debut in either November or January. She said she had been negotiating a contract for an MMA fight overseas before signing with Invicta FC. If that fight comes through, she will debut with Invicta FC in January. If not, she will make her first Invicta start in November.
“Right now, women in Invicta are paving the way for the future,” Herrig said.
In the old days of women’s MMA, Herrig said, fighting opportunities were so sparse that fighters had to feast on whatever scraps they could take. If that meant fighting 10, 15 or 20 pounds above weight just to get a fight, women would do it. Since Invicta FC offers multiple weight classes, there are more opportunities for women, which leads to more competitive fights.
“It’s not like you have a girl making her debut fighting someone with 10 fights,” Herrig said. “UFC chose to put in one division, which is great, but as a whole, Invicta is doing everything right. Invicta is like the best thing to ever happen to WMMA.”
As Invicta FC gains more visibility online and on television, Herrig said female fighting will become even more popular.
“Women’s MMA is kind of like a car accident,” she said. “You don’t want to look, but you can’t help but look.”
Unlike other female sports, for a lot of men, Herrig said, there’s an inherent attraction in watching women fight.
“Men like to watch girls fight,” she said. “For some men it is kind of turn on. Sex is kind of how they are programmed to think. When they watch them fight, they think it is kind of hot and that it kind of turns them on. A guy watching a girl dribble a basketball just doesn’t do it for them.”