This story was initially revealed on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.
Dan Hooker’s teaching staff are assured the New Zealand UFC fighter will probably be again, regardless of his shock loss on the weekend.
A contender within the star-studded light-weight division, Hooker suffered a first round technical knockout loss to American UFC newcomer Michael Chandler at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi.
The dejected New Zealander eliminated his gloves and left them contained in the cage after the defeat, a gesture which has come to sign retirement.
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* Dan Hooker heading to ‘Fight Island’ for Michael Chandler showdown at UFC 257
However one in every of Hooker’s coaches at Auckland gymnasium Metropolis Kickboxing, Mike Angove, believed the transfer got here solely out of frustration.
“He was simply gutted, disillusioned from his efficiency,” Angove instructed Nathan Rarere on RNZ’s First Up.
“He in all probability wished to curve up right into a ball and get out of there actually rapidly as a result of it is a devastating [result] for him…
“It’s worthwhile to enable fighters to have the time to evaluate what they’re doing and simply undergo that gamut of feelings as a result of it is an extremely private factor, combating.
“He’ll be again, he’ll nonetheless be combating.”
Hooker wasn’t the one one left devastated by the end result.
Metropolis Kickboxing just isn’t solely house to 6 UFC fighters, including middleweight world champion Israel Adesanya, however has develop into properly know for it is staff first values and tight-knit tradition.
Angove stated the loss for the person thought to be the “staff captain” had hit onerous for everybody on the Auckland gymnasium.
“When he loses all of us lose. There is not any query, when any one in every of our fighters lose we really feel it deeply.
“It was fairly emotional scenes amongst the teaching staff, and that is throughout all our inner messaging as properly. Though combating is an extremely private sport, we’re very a lot a staff.
“If you’re combating at this highest degree, this is not simply two guys having a scrap. That is the best ranges of the sport. You may fumble the ball on the five-yard line and also you solely give away a attempt, however in struggle sports activities you lose the whole [game]. It is a devastating factor.”
That was amplified by the wait Hooker needed to get house.
His spot in managed isolation in New Zealand was not free till February 21, with the two-week quarantine which means he would not be again together with his spouse and younger daughter till early March.
“That is simply the character of the sport, sadly, when you’re knowledgeable athlete who must journey to earn cash,” Angove stated.
“We have now to slot in with the MIQ system. It is not ultimate however there are a lot of folks in dire conditions who’re a lot worse off than us and there are plenty of different skilled athletes in related situations.
“It makes it extraordinarily troublesome, this can be very pricey clearly, but it surely’s what we have to do to maintain our nation secure.
“[This wait for him will be] troublesome, significantly below dropping circumstances, however there is not any different method round it.”