M-1 Global was forced to cancel its MMA event in St. Petersburg after failing to request permission from local government authorities.
The Russian promotion was scheduled to hold the show on April 17 — its second of four events in the span of ten days — but later announced its cancelation on social media.
“Unfortunately, we have to admit that the closed [door] Selection Online tournament scheduled for today [April 17] will not take place. M-1 Global League and our TV channel really wanted to please fans of mixed martial arts with this event, but in the current quarantine conditions, it was not possible to organize a full-fledged tournament and broadcast for technical reasons. We will continue to make efforts to organize this tournament.”
M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein later added that the promotion had failed to receive the necessary permission to hold the show in St. Petersburg.
“We quickly decided to do it,” Finkelchtein said. “But we realized that we need to get permission from the authorities. The fighters simply did not have time to prepare. We will hold the tournament later when everything is ready.”
Russia currently has 36,793 confirmed cases, including more than 300 deaths. In response to the soaring numbers, Russian President Vladimir Putin postponed an event commemorating the end of WW2 as his country finds itself battling coronavirus. The event would have included marching bands and a military parade featuring 15,000 troops.
M-1 is expected to hold another event behind closed doors on April 18 in Minsk, Belarus, where the promotion held its first show this month on Wednesday April 15. According to M-1 Global, the April 15 show took place under the “most stringent conditions as determined by trained medical doctors.” They also claimed that all fighters and staff were “tested and monitored for COVID-19 by trained medical professionals.”
Beyond testing capacity, M-1 also mandated that its staff wear black masks throughout the duration of the event, including its medical professionals, announcers, cornermen, and even the ring card girls.
M-1 Global’s final fight card this month will take place on April 25, also in Belarus.