The IBJJF has just announced on their official Instagram account that both the 2020 gi and no gi World Championships are being cancelled as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The organization cited concerns over travel restrictions that are still in place in America that would prevent a number of athletes from competing. While the news of the world’s premier competition being cancelled won’t be welcomed by anyone, it’ll at least satisfy a number of athletes who raised concerns about previous events going ahead without athletes from several countries being able to attend.
This will no doubt be a blow to the IBJJF however, as they were eager to announce a return to normality and have gone to great lengths to hold several competitions this year, including the Pan-Ams. This recent announcement also highlights the ever-changing nature of the world at the moment, it was only two weeks ago that the IBJJF had revealed a tentative date for the World Championships and they’re already being cancelled. It’s this factor that has made the landscape incredibly difficult for any BJJ promotion to survive and of course, smaller organisations are naturally feeling the pain more than the major ones.
One silver lining that is coming relatively soon is that the IBJJF have announced rule changes for next year that have been met by a fantastic public reaction. The organisation has reversed their position on heelhooks and knee-reaping for brown and black belts, with the techniques now being legal moving forward. As some athletes have pointed out, this move will definitely raise the prestige of the IBJJF World Championships and attract more competitors as the ruleset becomes more open.