Jake Hager may have made the transition to MMA from professional wrestling, but he’s still got some of that old Swagger in him.
On Saturday night at Bellator 221, Hager picked up his second professional MMA win, submitting T.J. Jones with a first-round arm-triangle choke. The bout went about as expected for the former NCAA D-I All-American taking down the meat packing plant worker with ease and roughing him up on the ground before locking in the fight ending choke 2:36 seconds into the first round. That’s where things got hairy though.
After locking in the arm-triangle choke and eliciting the tap from Jones, Hager continued to hold onto the choke, even after referee Mike Beltran intervened. Beltran had to pry Hager off of Jones and gave a stern talking to the former WWE champion, who looked nonplussed to be dressed down as such.
After the bout, Hager revealed that he held onto the choke because he didn’t realize Beltran was the one trying to stop the bout. He also added some color commentary about just how happy he was with the win, despite the fact that the crowd had turned against him and was booing him heavily.
“I thought the ref was him,” Hager said. “That’s okay, y’all can boo me all you want because you’re not in here right now. After the last fight, the guy was wrapping around punches on me still when I had it. So I didn’t know. It felt like him, it happened so fast. But you know what, I’m rock hard right now with emotion. I got a boner.”
The post-fight interview had shades of another WWE superstar turned MMA heavyweight Brock Lesnar who, after knocking out Frank Mir in their rematch at UFC 100, announced he was going to “get on top of his wife”.
Unlike with Lesnar, Hager’s post-fight interview did not seem to endear him to fans who continued to boo him as he exited the cage. It didn’t appear to both Hager though, who was laughing all the way.
Hager improved to 2-0 in his professional MMA career and looks to be a marketable commodity for Bellator going forward.