Japanese MMA promotion Pancrase will hold off on announcing their 2021 schedule of events following the news that Greater Tokyo will return to a state of emergency. The promotion announced their intentions through their website on Friday.
Pancrase usually announces their annual schedule of numbered events in early January. Following the state of emergency and the large spike of COVID-19 cases in the country, a schedule will not be released for now.
Greater Tokyo entered a state of emergency on Thursday. The biggest rule affecting sporting events was the restriction of live crowds to 50% capacity or 5,000 people, enforcing whichever option provides a smaller crowd.
Since the regulations allow sports to continue, the choice to not hold events is being made by Pancrase.
“There is no law in place in Japan that can enforce a lockdown, so sporting events are still very much up to the discretion of the organizations,” said Stewart Fulton, who does commentary and English press relations for Pancrase.
Pancrase last held an event on December 13th at the Studio Coast in Tokyo, Japan.
Pancrase chose to cancel an event in August after a fighter tested positive for COVID-19. They have been able to hold three events since then.
Japan has been on a steady increase of daily COVID-19 cases since early November, although more recently the daily number has jumped from 3,000 or 4,000 a day to 7,000. The country recorded their highest number of single-day COVID-19 cases on , Friday, putting down 7,863.
COVID-19 continues to hurt the combat sports world in Japan and worldwide.
Kickboxing promotion K-1 Japan announced on Saturday that they would postpone K’Festa 4, a flagship event they had scheduled for January 24th.
The UFC has faced dozens of cancelled bouts in recent months as fighters have tested positive for COVID-19.