Hager: People Won’t Like How Much I’m Paid
Over a week away from his professional MMA debut, former University of Oklahoma wrestler and WWE champion Jake Hager knows he is walking into a hostile environment.
“I understand that a lot of people are not gonna like that I get to be on this card. Even more people are not gonna like what I’m getting paid to be on this card,” Hager said during a media call to promote Bellator 214. “That’s not my problem. I belong here. Enough said.”
Hager signed with Bellator shorly after his release from the WWE two years ago, but the former “Jack Swagger” took his time before making his debut looking to balance training and competing as an independent wrestler.
“It’s been a work in progress. When I left WWE in April 2017, I knew I had a lot of meat on the table to capitalize on as far as the independent wrestling world. At that point it was the main focus,” Hager said. “As we got closer to being ready to step into the cage, the focus shifts more to the MMA aspect. I think it’s been a really cool journey. I think I would’ve been ready sooner if I wasn’t wrestling on the weekends, but unfortunately I have to make my income the way I can and that was a big part of it was to capitalize on my TV exposure and continue on professional wrestling.
“I think it will help me with my MMA career, and so it’s almost like practice a little bit too.”
“When you look at wrestlers entering the cage, they have great takedowns and they use the cage. Their conditioning is usually above par,” Hager said of his collegiate background. “I think what will surprise a lot of people is how hard I hit and how fast I am for a heavyweight.”
“I left a giant company making hundreds of thousands of dollars for a chance to cross over into another industry. Big investment on myself and a huge risk as far as career goes. This is very serious for me — this is life. Nobody loves cash more than I do and I want more of it. I don’t need it all, I just need a lot.”