As noted, former WWE Superstar Jack Swagger (Jake Hager) announced that he has signed with, and will be fighting for, Bellator MMA.
The new Bellator Heavyweight contender recently spoke with Raj Giri of WrestlingInc.com about the situation. Below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On getting offered a deal by Bellator MMA: "I have a Manager named Dan Rubenstein. I was fortunate enough to wrestle with him at Oklahoma, so we have known each other for a while. As you know, rise in popularity; kind of been discussing it for five years now, ever since we went to a fight together in Tampa, FL. So, it was looking for the right time and making the move. It started when we approached Bellator this summer and they were very receptive and we got the deal done a couple of months later."
On the differences in pay between MMA and pro wrestling: "It is very difficult to plan financially with the WWE because every week the salary was different. Every month the salary was different. It's based on the house shows and the attendance, and any extra stuff that goes in there. It makes it difficult to be consistent with your budget because it fluctuates. It is a couple of thousand each month, but sometimes and a lot of times it is lower and that makes it tough. Once you make it up to a certain income level and you acquire and buy certain things and have a certain way of life, it is really tough on your family to go back below that income level because you have certain things set as far as private schools and things like that."
On how the WWE Network affected the pay of WWE Superstars: "We were always told that the Network was going to be the future of the WWE so anything you can do for that it would be in your best interest. I never really got an explanation as far as how you got paid from the Network or anything like that. At first it started off as them not knowing how they were going to make money off of it and they passed it on to us like that, which doesn't make any sense how Vince [McMahon] doesn't know how he is going to make money off of this huge investment he made so I honestly saw a little bit of an increase from the Network pay per views as much as talking trash of not knowing how it worked."
On his plans for his first opponent in Bellator MMA and wanting to fight twice in 2018: "Honestly, that is above my paygrade. I put that into the hands of my camp and trust their judgement with it. Really, all I am worried about is the date and am ready to fight, so I'm not going to be picky. If they want this guy then let's do it. I would like to fight twice in 2018 barring any setbacks. Maybe, end of first quarter, beginning of second for the first one and everything will play off of that."
Check out more from the interview with Jack Swagger (Jake Hager) at WrestlingInc.com.