James Haskell will make his MMA debut at Bellator London in May at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
As reported by the Evening Standard, the former England rugby international, who announced his intention to transition into MMA under the Bellator banner in August of last year, will fight on a card headlined by Irish MMA star James Gallagher.
Gallagher is set to face Cal Ellenor on May, 16 in London after a proposed bout between the pair fell through ahead of this weekend’s Bellator event in Dublin.
Haskell announced his decision to transition into MMA and compete under the Bellator banner last August shortly after calling time on a 17-year rugby career that saw him win 77 caps for England.
The former Wasps and Northampton Saints back-rower has been training out of London-based MMA gym Shootfighters which houses once of Bellator’s most recognisable stars in Michael ‘Venom’ Page. The 34-year-old reportedly started training in MMA almost a decade ago to help improve areas of his rugby game, however, he has since started giving the sport his full attention since retiring in 2019.
Having represented Wasps, Northampton Saints, Stade Francais, Ricoh Black Rams in Japan and Super Rugby’s Highlanders during a glittering rugby career, Haskell will now attempt to make his mark on the Bellator heavyweight division which is currently ruled by Ryan Bader, a dual-weight world champion who also holds the light-heavyweight title.
As of yet, Haskell’s opponent has not been named but it is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.