AEW’s Jake Hager announces retirement from MMA: “Bellator was jerking me off, so I retired”

By Josh Evanoff - September 20, 2023

Bellator heavyweight contender Jake Hager has announced his retirement from MMA.

Jake Hager

The former WWE champion famously signed with Bellator in November 2017. Now, a star for AEW, Jake Hager was previously a pretty great collegiate wrestler. He was an All-American at the University of Oklahoma and felt confident enough in his wrestling skills that he could step into the cage.

In his debut in January 2019, he easily submitted J.W. Kizer in the first round. He later followed that up with another first-round submission win over T.J. Jones at Bellator 221 that May. While a no-contest would blemish Jake Hager’s perfect record, he later earned a decision win over Brandon Calton in November 2020.

Since that victory at Bellator 250, Jake Hager has been out of action. While he’s been busy wrestling over in AEW, he did call out Fedor Emelianenko on several occasions. The wrestler called to fight ‘The Last Emperor’ in his final fight, but that nod instead went to Ryan Bader. Since then, the AEW star has been quiet.

Well, that was until today. In a recent WrestleFest Q&A, Jake Hager announced his retirement from MMA. Furthermore, the heavyweight stated that Bellator was a part of the reason for it.


Jake Hager

“Officially, I’m retired from MMA.” Jake Hager stated to fans during the Q&A. “I trained hard last year. But, Bellator was jerking me off. So, I retired and I’m focusing on wrestling now.”

While Jake Hager’s retirement is sad news for some, it comes at a time when Bellator’s own existence is in danger. Over the last few months, the company has reportedly been in talks with the PFL over a potential sale. As recently as this week, Patricio Pitbull confirmed that talks were ongoing between the two companies.

What do you make of this news from Jake Hager? Are you disappointed by his MMA retirement?


Bellator Jake Hager