Pancrase 20th Anniversary: The Bad
On the 29th of September 2013, Pancrase held its 20 year anniversary. The 20th anniversary event showed the MMA world the direction Pancrase has taken from here on out for better or worse.
The title King of Pancrase was a term in the 90’s that stood for a legitimate champion. Today the Pancrase titles are held by fighters that are not defending their belts. The open weight champion is a UFC fighter. The middleweight champion has not defended his title in over a year and was mismatched with a pioneer past his prime in the 20th anniversary main event. How can there be a King of Pancrase if there isn't a crown to fight over?
To their credit, the flyweight and lightweight championship bouts were an amazing display of title fights. However, these are the types of fights that should have been promoted over the Ryo Kawamura vs Kazuo Takahashi main event. Although Kazuo Takahashi’s pro-wrestling like rivalry with Ryo Kawamura sold a few tickets, the event was far from sold out and became less crowded after Marlon Sandro’s match with Yojiro Uchimura. Pancrase should move past the first 10 years and focus on the next 10 years.
Less is more
Pancrase events generally have hours of live fights. Expanding the event’s time with an exhibition fight is over filling the entertainment cup with dry ice. Exhibitions should be left at the weigh-ins or promotional events. The end result of any promotional event should always be to keep the fans wanting more.