Jake Hager, the artist formerly known as Jack Swagger in the WWE, has signed a deal with Bellator MMA. The news was revealed by Hager himself live on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani today.
The former World Heavyweight champion will be fighting in Bellator’s heavyweight division and is the latest wrestler to crossover to the world of mixed martial arts.
Hager said that it’s still very surreal but very excited about the opportunity. This opportunity started in the Summer when his team reached out to Bellator to see if they can work a deal. That deal was eventually finalized this past weekend. Hager said that he’s very thankful for WWE but felt he needed to leave as he wasn’t allowed to compete even though he felt he could take down anyone in the locker room.
He was released from WWE in March of this year after he requested to be let go. Counting his time in developmental, he worked for WWE for 11 years, winning the United States title once, the ECW title once, and the World Heavyweight title once following his Money In The Bank win in 2010.
The 35-year-old has not fought professionally in MMA yet. He is training with Ybor City Jiu-Jitsu Club in Tampa, Florida where he lives. He has indicated that he will still wrestle on the independent circuit while he trains for his first MMA fight.