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UFC 266: Dan Hooker scored visa after MMA Twitter ‘absolutely bombarded’ New Zealand-US consulate

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Venerable lightweight contender Dan Hooker, currently ranked at No. 8 at 155 pounds, has finally been cleared for his Nasrat Haqparast fight as part of the upcoming UFC 266 pay-per-view (PPV) event this Sat. night (Sept. 25) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Unfortunately for “The Hangman,” the last couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions, thanks to the nationwide lockdown in his native New Zealand. And despite the best efforts of the promotion, only MMA Twitter could move the necessary mountains.

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CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to T-Mobile Arena with a pair of thrilling world championship bouts. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 29 coaches collide when Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, defends his title against No. 2-ranked contender, Brian Ortega. UFC 266’s co-main event will see women’s Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko go for her sixth consecutive title defense when she meets No. 3-seeded contender, Lauren Murphy. Last, and certainly not least, Nick Diaz returns against former Welterweight roost ruler, Robbie Lawler, in a five-round banger.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

“When I first signed this fight, I signed it Sunday, and then the Tuesday we went into like a nationwide lockdown,” Hooker told Submission Radio. “And so just living at the gym, getting kicked out of there by the cops, getting chased around, trying to make all my training work. And I did all of that. I didn’t cut any corners, I went out of my way to get prepared for this fight. And then the last second on Friday, them getting back to me three weeks after I submitted my visa application, and for them to get back to me and say, ‘nah, like, it’s not gonna go ahead.’ I was just like, I’m not a man to die quietly. You really picked the wrong guy. So, I got on social media and I was just like, let’s make some noise. I’ve done everything in my power I possibly can, I need your guys’ back up. I need MMA Twitter. I need everyone’s support to get behind me. And they did. People just absolutely bombarded the New Zealand-US consulate.”

I’m sure for the 31 year-old Hooker (20-10) it was nice to finally get some benefits from the social media giant. The last time “The Hangman” was on Twitter, he was mired in a back-and-forth war of words with lightweight “dumbass” Arman Tsarukyan.

“There was absolutely no acknowledgement that it was the reason why, but people were sending me screenshots of like, they were just going through the full thing,” Hooker continued. “People submitted full applications with the name being ‘give Dan Hooker his visa’. So, without a shadow of a doubt, one hundred percent, everyone getting on their case got it. Because after I started hammering them, I got it. It was on the six o’clock news here in New Zealand. Then I get an email out of blue saying, ‘yeah, he’s got an appointment Monday.’ So, yeah, one hundred percent everyone absolutely hounding them and bombarding them forced them to make it happen. And they did. Which is… man, that’s pretty mind blowing. I’m sure after the fight I’ll take some time to go back and reflect on that. I think it’s a little bit too soon to let my mind kind of go into reflective mode at the moment, but I’m so appreciative that they could get it done. So, to repay that, I can’t wait to get on that plane and give everyone a show.”

Even though Hooker was approved to leave New Zealand, he won’t have much time to prepare once he’s got boots on the ground. “The Hangman” lands in “Sin City” the night before the UFC 266 weigh ins and still has to drop enough weight to hit the 155-pound limit.

“So, I sit around on my arse here in New Zealand for a couple of days,” Hooker said. “Thursday night I get on a plane (New Zealand time). I arrive Thursday night (Las Vegas time). I’ll probably get to the hotel about 9pm. Weigh in 9am. And then fight the next day. That’s... umm… it’ll be good. No trouble, no trouble. Got the fight dietician on it. He tells me what to eat, what to drink, and then step on a scale on weight no worries. I have time. Like, I have time. It’s what, 9pm till 9am. I have 12 hours. I’m not worried about that. That’s not really a concern of mine.”

To see who else is fighting at UFC 266 click here.