A calm but upset InvictaFC president Shannon Knapp was on “In the Cage with Bards” Wednesday to talk about the current professional and sexual allegations against manager Brett Atchley that came to light this week. Knapp was able to give us a timeline of her interactions with Atchley over the past year in term of their business dealings.
Last summer, Knapp received phone messages from Atchley wanting her to ban Ivan Salaverry’s fighters from InvictaFC and Strikeforce. (One of Salaverry’s fighters at the time was Tara LaRosa.) Knapp talked to Strikeforce officials about the messages, and warned Atchley to stop threatening to blackball fighters. The first of three statements went up on Knapp’s facebook that stated “fighters can’t be blackballed from InvictaFC by a manager”.
In November, Knapp received some e-mails forwarded to her from a prospective client of Atchley’s. In the e-mail, Atchley stated that he got on the phone with Knapp and InvictaFC co-owner Janet Martin and that they wouldn’t work with the fighter in question’s current management. The second statement went up. Atchley soon texted Knapp asking if he was good. Knapp stated “If you aren’t doing anything wrong you shouldn’t need to worry.”
In late 2012 and early 2013, some allegations of sexual misconduct were going around, but Knapp could not do anything unless someone could step forward and be on record. Most of the information was either second hand or the person in question wanted to be discreet about it. Her hands were tied legally, and couldn’t ban anyone based on speculation.
In the past few weeks, more fighters complained about the business intimidation practices of Atchley, prompting the third statement. That was when the floodgates opened. Knapp admitted that she didn’t know the sexual allegations were as bad as they were. She was a bit emotional writing a statement Wednesday about the situation; admitting she had to step away after typing a few words to make sure she was writing it as professionally as she could.
Many could blame this on Knapp, but the fact is she couldn’t do anything until people were willing to come forward to tell their stories. Her hope was the previous three statements would get fighters to know that she was there for the fighters and if any problems arose that she would be available anytime day or night.
With the fallout, InvictaFC will be doing their due diligence in order to find a way for fighters to come forward if things like this happen again. Knapp suggested a neutral party that would be able to be a go-between if there were management issues. If there is a silver lining in all of this, it’s the fact that fighters can feel comfortable going to Knapp about advice or problems they have.
“I am here for the fighters, male of female. I want to do what’s best for the sport,” is what Knapp expressed in her interview.
We can tell you that there have been a lot of other people outside of InvictaFC who have been helping out and finding solutions for fighters, especially those who aren’t as seasoned in seeking management help.
On a personal note, I feel that we show our greatest strength in crisis, and the WMMA community as a whole has shown the power to overcome anything. We can learn from the experience, adapt, and make sure there are tools in place that should make sure this never happens again.
Filed under: MMA