Dan Hooker goes nose-to-nose with Paul Felder with traditional Maori greeting at UFC Auckland


New Zealander Dan Hooker welcomed fellow UFC on ESPN+ 26 main eventer Paul Felder to his home country with a traditional greeting. No, he didn’t get all up in Felder’s grill and promise to tear him apart when they step into the Octagon.

Hooker greeted Felder in the traditional Maori greeting, which involves two people pressing their noses, and often foreheads, together. 

The Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. They have been there for hundreds of years. This particular custom is used as a formal greeting, frequently ahead of important ceremonies and functions.

Though UFC fighters often go nose-to-nose ahead of their fights, it’s usually during the weigh-ins when they square off for the cameras and it isn’t often a show of respect. In this case, Hooker wasn’t about to cross the line and dishonor the Maori people.


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“The Maori’s is a place of peace. You can’t bring any tension like that to a Maori. It would have been incredibly disrespectful of me to push him or shove him or disrespect him and deny the hongi, so I am a man of respect,” Hooker said following the greeting.

“I had to give the hongi because I respect the Maori culture so much, and I respect the people, and this is their land. This is the culture, so you have to abide by that. I have too much respect for the Maori culture to do anything silly or disrespectful.”

Felder was also greeted in the same manner by several of Hooker’s teammates, include UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya.

(Courtesy of EMG Access)