“Israel Has Made the World Sit and Watch”- Dan Hooker Defends Israel Adesanya’s Move to the USA

Published 09/29/2021, 12:44 PM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 06: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria poses for a portrait backstage after defeating Robert Whittaker of New Zealand in their UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 243 event at Marvel Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images


UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya is without a doubt one of the top fighters in the promotion right now. When it comes to fighting, the style bender is an absolute beast in the octagon and shows some tremendous talent. His swagger and unique dance moves have earned him a great deal of popularity, and he certainly lives up to his moniker: The ‘Style bender.’

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Adesanya was born in Nigeria but moved to New Zealand when he was ten years old, and on various occasions, Israel has expressed his support for the country. The MMA champion recently revealed that he will move to the United States to advance his UFC career, but he will still stay linked to Auckland’s City Kickboxing gym.

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After making this statement, the Style Bender received a lot of backlash from followers who accused him of not caring about or respecting his own nation. Dan Hooker, his longtime friend and teammate, expressed his support for him as the negative comments poured in.

Israel Adesanya’s relocation

Adesanya‘s move to the USA is mainly because of the current situation in New Zealand regarding COVID-19. Israel was furious at the government for not allowing MMA fighters to practice or compete but allowing other national athletes like cricketers to practice despite the lockdown.

“You will never see me fight in New Zealand ever again. Ever again. That’s me, I’m done,” Adesanya said. “All that money, they can get it from somewhere else. The rugby, the crickets, and all the others they’re f***ing giving exemptions to. But for me, you will never ever see me fight on these shores [again]. That was one of my dreams. One of my dreams was to headline a stadium in my backyard. That dream is dead. Dead in the water,” said Israel on his YouTube rant.

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Dan Hooker on Adesenya’s move

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Dan ‘The Hangman‘ Hooker also went through a lot of trouble to get to the UFC 266 event, where he fought and defeated Nasrat Haqparast. He was having VISA issues and relied heavily on his fans to assist him at the last minute. According to him, he only made it to Vegas thanks to the support he received from his followers.

Following the trouble he went to, he would surely sympathize with the problems the Style Bender is facing. Dan ‘Hangman hooker’ appeared in an interview with ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani and showed support for his teammate Adesanya. “Israel Adesanya has done more for New Zealand than any one of those people having a go at him. Israel has made the world sit and watch combat sports. Now they’re saying he doesn’t like New Zealand,” said Dan Hooker.

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He also stated that if his coaches and team let him, he may make up his mind and move to the United States. However, Adesanya has made his move official, and Dan Hooker is here to support him.

WATCH THIS STORY: Event Recap: Best Fights From UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega

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Pranit Punjabi

70 articles

Pranit Punjabi is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. A third-year psychology major, this Khabib Nurmagomedov fan merged his interest in psychology with his deep passion for MMA and was intrigued by this new angle to help him get closer to the action. Pranit aims to look through the violence and chaos, into what makes MMA truly beautiful, the deep and rich psychological aspect to the game.

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