Before departing WWE, Swagger, who is now a professional MMA fighter (Jake Hager), pitched an MMA inspired idea to WWE CEO Vince McMahon, “I knew I was gonna do MMA. Before I left, Vince caught me in the hallway and he told me that they were wasting me. I said, ‘Man, that’s awesome to hear. Thank you for saying that. I’ll be in your office next week with ideas. I pitched to him an idea about leaving and having to go fight MMA, and then come back, but have a little controversy between us or something. He didn’t really want to do anything about it.”
Then communication broke down between Swagger and the WWE, “After that – not with him – but with everyone else, communication sort of broke down, so I was like, ‘OK, it’s time to go.’ It was on my mind. I wanted to do it [pursue MMA] then.”
Swagger knew who to reach out to, “One of the first people I called once I got my release was Josh Rafferty, who trained so many of the boys, but is also 20 years plus in the MMA fight game.” Rafferty trained Swagger for his Bellator 214 debut.
The former Jack Swagger handily defeated JW Kiser in his MMA debut and now has no plans of slowing down, “Being an MMA fighter makes me a better pro wrestler. Being a pro wrestler makes me a better MMA fighter. I want to continue to do both.”
Swagger’s next MMA fight (which he expects to occur sometime this May) will likely be officially announced soon. Swagger doesn’t know if he will get a lot of professional wrestling in between now and then, but does plan on wrestling this summer.
Through it all Swagger is thankful for the support he’s received from the wrestling community, “It really made this thing, I don’t know, it really put a special feeling on the whole thing. It was really pretty cool. I knew that the wrestling fans were gonna stand up for me. Thank you guys for that. I knew you guys had my back. In MMA or wherever, you guys believed in me. I did not expect all my friends that I had worked with over the last 10-12 years to respond that way….gosh, man that’s one thing I let slip through the cracks…how amazing it felt to have that. It’s really special.”
(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone)
Jack Swagger Reveals Rejected Idea He Pitched To Vince McMahon