Reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Israel Adesanya was expected to fly back to New Zealand after cornering City Kickboxing teammate Carlos Ulberg at Dana White’s “Contender Series” last week in Las Vegas.
Instead, he’ll be stuck in “Sin City” for the foreseeable future.
That’s because of the recent airline restrictions that were imposed after Adesanya and Co. booked their return tickets, which now require all New Zealand passengers to secure a travel isolation voucher. Since nobody told them, they were not prepared.
“Clearly, there’s been an oversight if people like us who booked while overseas, prior to the system being introduced, weren’t informed by either the airlines or immigration as soon as the system went live,” coach Eugene Bareman told Newshub. “The lack of capacity is also concerning. An influx of people returning home at Christmas is entirely predictable and you have to question why more focus wasn’t put on increasing that capacity.”
Local news outlets list Adesanya as “stranded overseas.”
A representative from Managed Isolation and Quarantine claims the onus is on the individual to understand protocol during a global pandemic and that “an extensive awareness campaign” was rolled out last September.
The setback will cost Adesanya a handful of public appearances as “The Last Stylebender” — who won’t be making his Octagon return until next March — will still have to enter a mandatory 14-day isolation upon his return to New Zealand.