clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dan Hooker reveals strict quarantine protocol he has to undergo to return home after UFC 257

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

When Dan Hooker committed to fighting Michael Chandler in the UFC 257 co-main event, he did so with the knowledge that a trip to Fight Island would ultimately take him away from his family for the better part of two months.

After facing Dustin Poirier this past June, the New Zealand native returned home to a two-week quarantine required by the government as his home country continued to lock down on travel in order to combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

It turns out for Hooker to travel from New Zealand to Abu Dhabi and back again for the Chandler fight, he’ll actually have to undergo a similar quarantine period to return home but he won’t actually be able to even travel there for several weeks after his fight.

“It’s way longer than that this time,” Hooker revealed when speaking to MMA Fighting. “So our quarantine now when you get back to New Zealand, you have to book it and I booked it as soon as I caught wind of the fight. So they booked me in like two months ago and the only date they could get was the 21st of February. So I have to stay in Abu Dhabi for another month and then do my two week quarantine.

“I walk out of quarantine I believe March 3. I’m getting on the plane on Tuesday and I’ll see everyone in two months. This is a two month journey for this fight.”

That probably sounds like extreme circumstances in order to return home again but Hooker understood that was part of the deal if he wanted to leave New Zealand to travel to Abu Dhabi for the fight.

Much like his previous quarantine, Hooker will stay in a government funded hotel where he will essentially be cordoned off from the rest of the world while undergoing constant tests to ensure he doesn’t bring the coronavirus back with him.

That also means Hooker will be separated from his family for the better part of two months outside of visits to the facility where he’s staying.

“They can come down and wave at me through a couple of gates,” Hooker said. “They’ve really ramped it up here in New Zealand. We’re lucky that we’re able to do such a great job and we’ve got to stick with it now.”

As much as it breaks his heart to be away from his family for that long, Hooker explained how the New Zealand’s government strict procedures regarding COVID-19 have essentially eliminated the disease.

Since the pandemic started, New Zealand has only reported just over 2,250 cases with 25 deaths in the entire country while maintaining quarantine procedures for anyone traveling into the country.

The end result is life returning to a similar state as it was before the pandemic and Hooker can’t complain too much about that.

“We’re completely normal,” Hooker said. “That’s why we’re so lucky. We take the border very seriously. We’re COVID free. Everyone was just partying at festivals. We had like 10, 20, 30,000 people festivals all over the country for New Year’s. Life is normal back in New Zealand.”