Dan Hooker publicly requests visa approval for U.S. travel as ‘last resort’ to keep UFC 266 bout alive

·2 min read

UFC lightweight [autotag]Dan Hooker[/autotag] appears to be running out of time and out of options to keep his upcoming bout together.

Currently booked to fight against Nasrat Haqparast (13-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) at UFC 266, Hooker (20-10 MMA, 10-6 UFC) might not be able to compete due to visa issues. Due to New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown, it’s uncertain if he’ll receive clearance for travel in time to make it to Las Vegas for the Sept. 25 event.

On Thursday, Hooker made a public plea on Twitter in a pair of messages to the U.S. Embassy’s Kevin Covert, the Chargé d’affaires a.i., who is responsible for diplomatic business:

@USAmbNZ Hi Kevin, apologies for messaging on here but it’s a last resort. My visa is with the US embassy here in NZ as I fight next week in Las Vegas on #UFC266 Update today is it won’t be approved until next week due to lock down which will cancel my fight. Please help.

The embassy has my passport and all the completed documentation, all I need is it to be processed and returned.

This is an absolute last resort.

According to the New Zealand government website, Auckland is currently at COVID-19 “Alert Level 4,” which means the virus is likely not contained and there are widespread outbreaks. Residents must stay at home in their bubble, gatherings in public facilities aren’t allowed, and no travel is allowed except for necessities, among other restrictions. After a review on Sept. 13, the government decided to remain on lockdown through Sept. 21.

If Hooker is unable to obtain his visa prior to this date, his fight against Haqparast would be canceled due to his inability to travel to the U.S. in time.

It is unlikely a public message on Twitter will result in a change to the government’s process, but that hasn’t stopped MMA fans who want to see one of the most exciting fighters in the division from sending their own messages to Covert on the social media platform.

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Hooker is hoping to make it to Las Vegas in time to compete and snap his two-fight losing skid. Prior to his recent pair of losses to Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, Hooker won seven of his previous eight fights. These included impressive first-round finishes of James Vick, Gilbert Burns, and Jim Miller.

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