Kiwi fighter's photo shows heartbreaking reality of virus rule

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Dan Hooker's young daughter can't come within two metres of him. Image: Dan Hooker/Instagram

Kiwi UFC fighter Dan Hooker has shared a heartbreaking photo of his daughter standing behind a metal fence, unable to get any closer to him.

Hooker fought against Dustin Poirier at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas on Saturday, narrowly losing in what many labelled the fight of the year.

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And Hooker’s pain was only compounded by the fact he now has to spend 14 days in quarantine after returning home.

Under New Zealand’s strict coronavirus measures, Hooker must now spend two weeks in a hotel in quarantine where he can’t come into contact with his family.

As he showed on Instagram on Tuesday, he can see his family and speak to them but they must stay behind a metal fence two metres away.

“So close yet so far”, Hooker wrote alongside a photo of his young daughter clutching onto the metal barricade as he looks on.

Poirier even got wind of his vanquished rival’s post, sending his condolences.

“Sorry you are going through this man, stay strong,” he wrote on Instagram.

A number of MMA journalists were also struck by the heartbreaking photo.

Jacinda Ardern under fire over virus restrictions

New Zealand’s coronavirus restrictions have caused controversy recently, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern coming under fire for a number of blunders.

As of Monday, there were 20 active cases in New Zealand, with one in a stable condition in hospital.

However, earlier this month health department director-general Ashley Bloomfield declared New Zealand virus free.

Last week it was revealed most people allowed to leave COVID-19 quarantine in June did so without being tested first.

Of the 55 Kiwis granted compassionate exemptions to leave isolation between June 9 and 16, all but four did so without a test.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a post cabinet press conference in Wellington. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Ms Ardern was grilled about the issue on Newstalk ZB radio on Monday.

After introducing the PM, host Mike Hosking said quarantine facilities haven’t “been up to scratch”.

“You forgot that (the system) was also doing what it needed to do there, Mike,” Ms Ardern said.

“Apart from the time that it wasn’t doing what it was needing to do,” Mr Hosking told the PM, prompting her to reply that it “has been addressed, Mike”.

He then asked her if she accepted her “failings”.

“Mike, I’m going to take one quick step back here for a little bit of global context,” Ms Ardern said.

“There is no rule book on any of what we are doing. In fact New Zealand, by the mere fact that we have quarantine, puts us amongst only a handful of countries in the world.

“The fact that we mandate testing in those facilities makes us the most stringent, in the world, when it comes to our border.”

Pourier beats Hooker in ‘fight of the year’

Poirier absorbed several heavy blows but delivered a few more of his own, ultimately outlasting Hooker for a unanimous decision victory.

Poirier (26-6) and Hooker (20-9) boxed at an incredible pace throughout the first two rounds, both remaining standing despite being rocked multiple times.

Hooker nearly ended it late in Round 2, after both fighters had already been bloodied, but Poirier slowly took control down the stretch.

He showed his conditioning in an impressive final round to claim scores of 48-47 from two judges and 48-46 from the third.

Dustin Poirier celebrates after his victory over Dan Hooker at UFC Fight Night. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

It was Poirier's first bout since he lost via rear-naked choke to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight championship bout in September of 2019, the longest time between fights in his career.

In October, he had hip surgery that kept him from bearing weight on his leg for eight weeks.

But the 31-year-old proved he had the stamina to go the distance, saying afterward that he "had a few more rounds left in me."

“It was a tough one man,” Poirier said. “Dan came to fight. He's a tough guy on the rise.”

with Yahoo News staff and Reuters