Dan Hooker Reveals He Risked Arrest Training for UFC 266

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Las Vegas, NV — City Kickboxing’s Dan Hooker had a wild ride getting to UFC 266, having his visa held up to the last minute, then flying into Las Vegas the night before weigh-in.

The end result was exactly what he needed, snapping a two-fight skid with a win over Nasrat Haqparast. Who coincidentally also had last-minute visa issues, and was also coping with the death of his mother.

Still, the fight went right for Hooker (21-10). “New feather in my cap, I showed how well-rounded I am as a fighter,” he said following the bout, speaking in a post-fight press scrum. “I made the right adjustments to the game that he was doing. He was kind of playing his game, and he was just waiting on me for that first round, and waiting on me to commit to anything and then step through over the top with his hands. So I just made the right adjustments and kind of gave him a taste of his own medicine.”

It’s a good thing he got the win, too. Aside from dealing with the stress of having his visa delayed, Hooker nearly got himself arrested training for the bout, after his home of Auckland, New Zealand shut down.

“I signed this fight on the Sunday, and then Tuesday we went into full lockdown. Everything shut down,” Hooker revealed. City Kickboxing coach Eugene Bareman came up “with a quick plan to move everyone to the gym.” The police in Auckland, however, shut that down, only for Hooker to keep training in the gym anyway. “Got caught there, cops come shut that down, they just told me ‘we catch you doing anything one more time, we’re going to arrest you.'”

Hooker took the warning to heart. “So I was just training the last four weeks at my house, in my garage. Just shadow boxing, staying sharp, going to the track with my wife, my daughter for the last five weeks,” he recalled. “That was challenging, getting yourself up for that. Getting yourself down there, working hard, pushing yourself every single day, a couple of times a day, working like that, it was hard to get yourself up.”

Once the visa snafu hit, Hooker knew he couldn’t back down. “When I was having the visa issues I was like ‘man, everything that I’ve done to get myself out of bed every single morning and push myself by myself, to get to this moment and for you to take that from me, I’m not having it.'”

Hooker made it to the fight — and the rest is history.

Watch the full UFC 266 post-fight press scrum with Dan Hooker above. More coverage of the event can be found below.

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