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Dan Hooker’s bout in jeopardy again, mulling US move due to New Zealand’s strict quarantine rules

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Dan Hooker is contemplating a possible relocation to the United States after a frustrating experience with New Zealand’s quarantine system.

Last week, number eight ranked UFC lightweight contender Dan Hooker was in danger of missing his UFC 266 booking against Nasrat Haqparast. Because of strict quarantine measures in his home country of New Zealand, “The Hangman” went through visa issues that urged him to desperately reach out to the local US Embassy.

Hooker eventually got things straightened out and is now set to travel to Las Vegas this week. But because of the trouble he went through, along with the same stringent hurdles he’ll deal with throughout the pandemic, he is now thinking about relocating his camp to the United States.

“Oh man, I think that’s gotta be done. I think that’s got to be the next step,” Hooker told Submission Radio in a recent interview. “So, they changed the MiQ (managed isolation and quarantine), the booking of quarantine rooms here in New Zealand. They changed the booking system this morning. I think it had something like 26,000 people sign up for 3000 spots. I believe 20 people from City Kickboxing entered the lottery. So, it’s like a lottery system.

“26,000 people go in the pool, and they pull 3000 of them out in a different order and they can select their dates. Not one of the 20 City Kickboxing coaches and fighters, not a single one got a spot in quarantine for the rest of the year.

“So, if I was to do that, then what are we gonna do? You miss the lottery pool four times, and then that’s a year gone. You can’t play the lottery four times, and if you lose it all four times, you just don’t earn a paycheck that entire year. That’s absolutely ridiculous.

“So, it looks like we’re gonna have to do it. It would be awesome if we could do it as a team. I know a couple of the guys have spoken about it individually, but if that kind of move could be made as a team, that could be incredible.”

Hooker may be in the clear, but his opponent is now going through the same problems.

UFC 266 happens this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena.