Japan’s RIZIN FF is the latest promotion to announce the cancellation of a key event. RIZIN 22 was expected to take place later this month at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan. However, RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara has announced that the show will not go on, as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The event, the company’s second of 2020, had been scheduled for April 19.
— NOBUYUKI SAKAKIBARA (@nobu_sakakibara) April 2, 2020
When the next RIZIN event might take place is unclear. RIZIN 23, which was scheduled for May 17 in Sendai, has also been cancelled, per a press release on RIZIN’s official website. Refunds for the two shows will be made available to fans and are expected to be announced next week.
RIZIN 22 had been anticipated to feature Mikuru Asakura taking on former ONE Championship title holder Kotetsu Boku. Other fights for the card had not yet been made official, likely due to the growth of the outbreak, which originated in nearby China.
Japan has fared considerably better than many countries hit by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with approximately 2,400 confirmed cases. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shut down schools in the country on February 27. The 2020 Summer Olympics, scheduled for Tokyo, have been pushed out to 2021.
However, Sakakibara’s post on Twitter suggests that a return to action could come as soon as midsummer. The RIZIN CEO suggested welcoming fans back with a “Midsummer Martial Arts Festival.”