From scrums to scraps: Rugby ace James Haskell joins Bellator MMA

He packed a punch on the field. Can he do the same inside the Bellator cage?

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James Haskell has spent his career marmalising people on the rugby field. Now he’s getting his chance to do it inside the mixed martial arts cage.

Bellator MMA announced today that former England and British Lions flanker Haskell had signed to join their heavyweight division and is training to make his debut “in the first half of 2020”.

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It came after some teaser pics were sent out by the Bellator PR team showing a monster of a man, in silhouette and announcing a “major international signing” was imminent.

It generated some interest among the MMA fanbase as fans attempted to guess the identity of the mystery man. And it was revealed today that it was Haskell, who tipped the scale at around 260lbs during his playing days.

He hung up his rugby boots earlier this year, and has been working toward a change in sport, training at the London Shootfighters gym alongside the likes of Bellator welterweight superstar Michael “Venom” Page.

NatWest 6 Nations Championship Round 4, Stade de France, Paris, France 10/3/2018
France vs England
England’s James Haskell with Mathieu Bastareaud of France
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

And now you can bet his former teammates at Wasps, Northampton Saints and Stade Francais will be watching closely when Haskell steps through the cage door to throw down with a fellow heavyweight big hitter next year.

And when he does, we hope to be right there at cageside to see how he fares.

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