Rugby Former England rugby player James Haskell hits hard, likes his jiu-jitsu, and will be ready to fight MMA ‘sooner rather than later,’ according to his Bellator boss

Rugby This is another interesting ingredient!!

  • England’s rugby team competes against South Africa in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final in Japan.
  • The former England player James Haskell will likely be watching with interest in England, taking a break from one of his many jiu-jitsu classes.
  • Haskell is one of Bellator MMA’s biggest signings in recent months and will make his fighting debut early next year.
  • The man responsible for bringing him to combat sports, David Green, told Business Insider that this is no publicity stunt and that the former flanker is a hard puncher.
  • Green had to explain what rugby was to Bellator CEO Scott Coker before the deal could be done, he said. But Coker was eager to get Haskell on board.
  • Haskell will make his Bellator MMA debut in 2020 and may even have his former England rugby teammates watching with interest from cageside.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

DUBLIN — When England’s national rugby team treads onto the turf at the International Stadium Yokohama in Japan to compete against South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday, one of its most reliable players of the last decade, James Haskell, will be watching with interest back in England.

The former Wasps and Stade Français flanker, known for his work in the scrum — which is where the strongest and most powerful athletes battle for territory — has been training jiu-jitsu for years.

Haskell retired from rugby last year, after 77 appearances with the England national team. By 2019, he signed a multi-fight deal to compete for the MMA firm Bellator, having previously worked as an analyst for English fight promotions like BAMMA and CFFC.

The man responsible for bringing him into the world of competitive mixed martial arts, Bellator’s head of Europe David Green, told Business Insider that the 34-year-old would make his debut early next year.

It is not a publicity stunt, Green said, even though he first had to explain to the Seoul-born American promoter and Bellator CEO Scott Coker what rugby was before they could get the deal over the line.

Regardless, Coker trusted Green’s talent identification skills and would have b

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