A tragic earthquake measuring 8.9 in magnitude hit off the coast of Japan Friday afternoon (overnight in the United States), the ramifications of which continue at the time of this writing.
Aftershocks are ongoing and Tsunami waves are ramping up. Flooding is rampant across Japan, wiping out cities, farmlands, cars, bridges, and buildings. There are Tsunami warnings and alerts spreading throughout the Pacific from Russia to Hawaii to the coastline of North America down to Australia and too many countries to mention.
There are obviously much more important issues to worry about at a time like this than sports, but considering the MMAWeekly.com is a mixed martial arts news site, and there were several MMA events scheduled for Japan this weekend, we felt compelled to update fans on the situation as best we can.
Jewels, Shooto, Pancrase, Heat, and Tribelate all had events scheduled in the coming days. It is quite difficult to communicate back and forth with Japan at the moment, but our friends over at MMA-Japan.com have done a tremendous job in utilizing their deep contacts in the country to find out the latest status of events.
While common sense would indicate that all events will eventually be cancelled, thus far, MMA-Japan.com has confirmed that both Jewels and Pancrase have cancelled their events.
CNN is reporting that the extent of the disaster varies widely across the country, which could be the reason why all the events mentioned weren’t immediately cancelled.
Shortly after 1:00 a.m. PT on Friday, MMA-Japan.com added that “Shooto tweeted they are going forward as planned with their weigh ins and will go forward with plans as set.”
MMA-Japan.com on Friday morning tweeted an update, saying Shooto, not surprisingly, cancelled its event, as well.
Japanese fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama is slated to fight Nate Marquardt at UFC 128 on March 19 in Newark, N.J. Akiyama had trained recently with Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, N.M., but because of Marquardt’s longtime status with the team, Akiyama was not able to train there for this fight. He was believed to be training in Japan.
We were unable to find out whether or not Akiyama was in Japan at the time of the earthquake or if he had already left for the United States.
MMAWeekly.com will do our best to keep tabs on the situation as it effects the mixed martial arts world, but also keep an eye on our friends over at MMA-Japan.com. They always do a tremendous job updating the scene in Japan.
On a more personal side, our hearts go out to those in Japan and other areas that are enduring this disaster as it unfolds.
(UPDATE 9:40 a.m. PT on March 11, 2011 – MMA-Japan.com tweeted that Shooto cancelled its event.)