Jake Hager announced his retirement from Mixed Martial Arts after dealings with Bellator rubbed him the wrong way. Fear not professional wrestling aficionados, Hager is still rock hard for the world of sports entertainment.
“Officially, I’m retired from MMA. I trained hard last year, but Bellator was jerking me off. I retired and I am now just focusing on wrestling.”
Hager’s career ends with an undefeated record of three victories and one no-contest. Hager steamrolled through his debut against J.W. Kiser inside the Bellator cage on January 26, 2019. Hager earned victory via arm-triangle choke. His second win came courtesy of the same submission against T.J. Jones. Hager’s third fight involved controversy of the low-blow nature. Anthony Garrett could not continue after an accidental knee to the groin from Hager. The official result was a no-contest. Hager was taken to the limit in his fourth bout for a split decision ruling when beating Brandon Calton on October 29, 2020. That contest appears to be his last in sanctioned MMA for the time being.
AEW leaned into Hager’s combat prowess for an unsanctioned MMA Rules Cage Fight against Wardlow. Hager won that bout as well with an arm-triangle choke.
Hager’s official MMA career will go down in glorious infamy for his tendency to hit low blows and delivering the line, “I’m rock hard right now with emotion. I got a foner.”
Never say never when it comes to retirement comebacks for professional fighters. It has been reported that Bellator is currently in negotiations to be purchased by the Professional Fighters League, thanks to financing from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund. New management might be able to persuade Hager to return, if both parties are interested.
With creative combat endeavors, such as bare knuckle boxing and pillow fighting, gaining an audience, maybe Hager can find an avenue to compete for the foner championship of the world.