Former England flanker James Haskell signs for Bellator

Thursday 22 August 2019 15:58, UK

Former England international James Haskell has signed for Bellator 0:41
James Haskell has signed for Bellator after retiring from rugby at the end of last season

Former England flanker James Haskell has signed for Bellator, the mixed martial arts organisation announced on Thursday.

The 34-year-old will compete in the Bellator heavyweight division and is expected to make his professional MMA debut for the global promotion in 2020.

James Haskell - Bellator MMA

Haskell has shown a keen interest in the sport of MMA for a number of years, working as an MMA TV pundit and training alongside British MMA star Michael "Venom" Page at London Shootfighters gym.

While a date has not been set for his professional MMA debut, Haskell is expected to continue training for the remainder of 2019, with his first fight expected to take place during the first half of 2020.

0:38
England head coach Eddie Jones reacts to the news that former player James Haskell is to take up MMA.

He will compete in the heavyweight division along with the likes of current champion Ryan Bader, challenger Cheik Kongo, MMA veteran Josh Barnett and Fedor Emelianenko.

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The 6ft 4ins former loose forward represented England in rugby union 77 times, making his debut against Wales during the 2007 Six Nations, and went to two World Cups as well as touring with the British and Irish Lions in 2017 before announcing his retirement in May.