‘Being bad is cool’: Go behind the scenes with Jake Hager at Bellator 221

Former WWE star Jake Hager returned to action at Bellator 221 in May, and the promotion’s cameras followed him every step of the way through his second fight-night experience as a professional mixed martial artist.

The heavyweight known to pro wrestling fans across the world as “Jack Swagger” was captured on camera from the moment he arrived at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., near Chicago.

Despite only competing in his second pro fight, Hager (2-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) looked completely nerveless as he interacted with fellow fighters in the locker room, warmed up on the mats then made his way to the cage.

He even had time to soak in the atmosphere at the top of the ramp before letting out the tension with a bellowed rendition of his WWE character’s old catchphrase: “We the people!”

We also caught the in-cage audio from defeated opponent T.J. Jones after Hager held on to his fight-winning arm-triangle choke a little too long at the end of the contest. Interestingly given how happy he was to talk before and after the contest, Hager had nothing to say at that point.

By the end of the night, Hager had turned from an in intriguing crossover story to a full-on pro-wrestling heel character as he lapped up the boos from the Rosemont crowd.

And he returned to type in the locker room when he and cut a mini-promo of sorts to the cameras that had followed him around for the entire day.

“We went out there and made a statement,” he said. “You can boo me all you want. Like I told you before, I’ve been getting booed since I was in grade school, cause I was better than everyone. “Keep booing me. I’m never gonna stop, alright. Boo me, boo me, boo me. That only makes me stronger.

“You know what? Being bad is cool.”

Then he told the editors to “cut that part.” They didn’t.

For complete coverage of Bellator 221, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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