Chris Van Vliet passed along the following.
I wanted to pass along the interview I did with Jack Swagger (Jake Hager) last night at USA Pro Wrestling in Orlando, FL. He covered a number of topics including the advice that Vince McMahon gave him before his MMA debut, why he chose Bellator over UFC, the length of his Bellator contract, the fact that he wants to fight under the name Jack Swagger, his thoughts on AEW and a lot more.
The advice Vince McMahon gave him before his MMA debut:
“He sent me a text message and told me not to lose kind of as a ‘ha ha’. But I think it was really cool we had R Truth doing the entrance and he went to Vince and Vince said yeah go do it man, go out there and support this guy. I think it was like everyone else, they came in and supported me and wanted to help me and I’m very humbled and honored.”
Pro wrestling was the main reason he chose Bellator over UFC:
“We talked with UFC briefly but it was really Bellator the whole time. and I’m very glad to be there… they’ve been great. One of the reasons I went with Bellator is they realized how popular wrestling is, especially independent pro wrestling. They were like ‘You’re a big name, go continue being a big name. Make yourself a bigger name. We like that.’ You would think most companies would like you to go and make yourself a bigger name but we won’t get into that.”
The details of his contract with Bellator:
“It’s 6 fights or 3 years.”
He thinks CM Punk came out on top despite losing in UFC:
“We both crossed over to MMA and tried to make the jump right at the professional level. Some of us did that successfully. You have to measure the W though because of how much money he made. He made $2 million per fight, that’s a W in some books absolutely.”
He wants to fight under the name Jack Swagger:
“Technically right now WWE owns the intellectual property for it but it’s not trademarked so I’m working to own that. I’m hoping to fight as Jack Swagger… I think today you need to really consider yourself an athlete that considers himself a brand. It is a business. We are all here to make money, a lot of money. So we have to brand ourselves accordingly and Jack Swagger is a cool last name.”
His thoughts on AEW:
“Very excited about it. When they signed Chris Jericho, they immediately changed the landscape of pro wrestling which is very cool. Hats off to Cody, to The Bucks to everybody involved in AEW. It truly is incredible because it’s definitely changing the landscape of pro wrestling.”