Jake Hager has announced his retirement from MMA after a four-fight run in Bellator.
Hager, 41, hadn’t fought in the Bellator cage since October 2020, when he won a split decision over Brandon Calton at Bellator 250.
“Officially, I’m retired from MMA,” he said on a K&S Wrestlefest autograph signing streamed live on Meta. “I trained hard last year, but Bellator was jerking me off, so I retired, and I’m just focusing on wrestling.”
A Bellator official confirmed to MMA Fighting that Hager’s contract with the promotion expired several weeks ago. The official added, “We are on great terms with Jake.”
Hager made an immediate splash in the MMA cage as the latest pro wrestler to try out MMA. The former WWE champ, once known as Jack Swagger, debuted in Bellator in January 2019. He picked up two straight wins before his third bout ended in a no-contest due to his repeated accidental groin kicks to his opponent.
Hager endured a brutal contest with Calton, a former Pittsburgh Steeler, over three rounds, nearly getting knocked out in the second round before battling back to win on points. His gutsy performance earned nods of respect from pro-wrestling colleague Chris Jericho and AEW, where he migrated following his WWE exit.
Several reports have indicated Bellator could be acquired by rival MMA promoter PFL, though nothing has officially been announced. Bellator featherweight champ Patricio Pitbull recently told MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz that the promotion’s sale could open his move to the UFC.