Tonya Evinger Retains Invicta Title After Loss to Yana Kunitskaya Overturned to No-Contest

By Tristen Critchfield Dec 1, 2016

Tonya Evinger will remain the Invicta Fighting Championships bantamweight queen after her Nov. 18 submission loss to Yana Kunitskaya was changed to a no contest by the Missouri Office of Athletics.

Evinger announced the news via Twitter on Thursday, and Invicta FC confirmed the result shortly thereafter in a statement.

“History was made today!! Our sport has grown beyond what could have been imagined in such a short time. It’s truly amazing to witness the growth from a sport fueled by ego and ignorance to a sport that is now represented by professionals, from athletes to promoters to referees and state commissions,” Evinger wrote.

“A sport that has matured enough to be able to change an outcome due to a mistake or misjudgment. Today I was informed by the Missouri Athletic Commission that my appeal was accepted and my last fight in KC Nov. 18 was overturned to a no contest. I will retain my world title and move forward awaiting the decisions for what’s next. Thanks to everyone for the support in this stressful situation, it’s a shame that it happened but I believe the sport has grown from this.”

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) later issued a statement to on Thursday confirming the commission's decision to change the result of the bout to a no contest:

"The Missouri Office of Athletics reviewed the video and audio along with a statement from the referee of the Tonya Evinger vs. Yana Kunitskaya contest at Invicta FC 20 on November 18, 2016," the statement read. "The Missouri Office of Athletics determined the official result of this bout must be changed to a no contest. The MMA database has been notified, and should update the record within the next couple of days."

Kunitskaya intially defeated Evinger via armbar 1:59 into the opening round of their bout at Invicta FC 20. While standing, Evinger attempted to pry her arm free by pushing her heel on Kunitskaya’s face. Referee Mike England warned Evinger even though the maneuver was a legal one since Evinger was not landing a strike or stomp to her downed opponent.

Evinger appealed to the Missouri commission that England’s warning forced her to move into a position that allowed Kunitskaya to get the tapout. Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp revealed in a statement that the promotion is "working on scheduling a potential rematch" between the two women in the near future.

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