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UFC’s Dan Hooker slams home detention sentence for man involved in fatal attack on Fau Vake

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Dan Hooker was at a recent court hearing regarding the death of his City Kickboxing Teammate Fau Vake.

UFC 257: Press Conference
Dan Hooker at the UFC 257 press conference.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

MMA fighter Fau Vake, a popular member of City Kickboxing, died on May 23, days after an assault by a group of men in downtown Auckland. Vake’s friend and teammate Israel Adesanya, and others from his gym, have said that Vake was the victim of a ‘coward punch’ and that this is what caused his fatal injuries.

Four men have been charged with offences in relation to the death of Vake. A 30-year-old man, whose name has been suppressed by court order, has been charged with manslaughter. Siofilisi Paongo, 29, has been charged with common assault and injuring with intent to injure. Semise Pomale, 32, has been charged with common assault. Those three have all denied their charges.

Ofa He Mooni Folau, 29, has plead guilty to assault on both Vake and his brother Ika Vake. According to the New Zealand Herald, Folau has been sentenced to six months of home detention for his part in the fatal assault.

That report states that Folau was “involved in the early stages” of the attack on the Vake brothers, but was not responsible for Vake’s death.

A court heard that Folau chased Ika Vake and cornered him in an alcove of a shop in the early hours of May 16. He then punched him at least twice in the head. Folau then ran to where Fau Vake was being held by another man and struck him three times in the head.

UFC fighter Dan Hooker, one of Vake’s teammates from City Kickboxing, was at the High Court in Auckland for Folau’s sentencing hearing.

Outside of the court he expressed his anger at the sentencing.

“To be part of an attack in which a man’s life was taken and for you to not serve time in prison is an absolute joke in my opinion,” said Hooker. “A man is dead. He’s got a daughter, he’s got a family.”

“That was not a fight,” continued Hooker. “That was an attack. Four attacked two Vake brothers who did nothing aggressive ... were backing away the entire time, trying to escape. It’s not fair, you can’t tell me that’s fair and that’s justice, that’s not justice.”

Hooker added that he felt Folau directly contributed to Vake’s death. “Of course he’s part of it. Four attacked two, how are you not an aggravating factor?”

Hooker then stressed that he wanted the laws in New Zealand to be changed so that deaths resulting from ‘coward punches’ are deemed murder and not manslaughter. Adesanya and City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman have made similar comments.

A law like they have described was instituted in the Australian states of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria in 2014. A similar law was proposed in New Zealand in 2018, but it was rejected by parliament.