MMA shows shelved after new Singapore virus clampdown

Singapore (AFP) –


Two mixed martial arts (MMA) events planned behind closed doors in Singapore this month have been postponed after the city-state tightened restrictions to fight the coronavirus, organisers said Monday.

A spokeswoman for Asia's biggest MMA promotion, One Championship, confirmed that the events, on April 17 and 24, have been postponed.

Two more closed-door events next month could also be shelved because of the tougher restrictions imposed by the city-state, she told AFP.

The worldwide sporting calendar has been left in tatters because of the pandemic, which has killed more than 110,000 people and infected nearly two million.

It was still unclear about the fate of another One Championship event scheduled for May 29 in the Philippines capital Manila, which is also under a government lockdown.

"We are living through the most extraordinary of times. The good news is that these short-term restrictions will undoubtedly slow down the coronavirus, and flatten the curve," One Championship chairman and chief executive Chatri Sityodtong said in a Facebook post last week.

One Championship initially hoped to hold the Singapore events without fans, but decided to delay them after the city-state last week ordered the closure of schools and non-essential businesses, and asked people to stay home.

Singapore won praise for keeping its outbreak in check in the early stages but has seen a surge in cases this month, with many linked to foreign workers' dormitories.

Health authorities have reported 2,532 COVID-19 cases, including eight deaths.

Last week the US-based UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) was forced to scrap controversial plans to stage a fight card behind closed doors at a secret location next weekend after broadcasters pulled out.