12:52PM, Thursday 22 August 2019
Former Windsor and Maidenhead rugby colt James Haskell has been signed up to compete in the Bellator MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) heavyweight division.
The ex-England flanker is expected to make his professional MMA debut for the promotion in 2020.
Haskell, 34, announced his retirement from professional rugby in May this year, having achieved major honours for both club and country.
At Wasps – based at High Wycombe’s Adams Park at the time – he played a huge role in their English Premiership and European Cup winning seasons in 2007 and 2008. He was also capped 77 times for England and gained selection for their 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup squads.
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 star Michael ‘Venom’ Page at London Shootfighters gym.
Standing at 6ft4ins and weighing in at around 260lbs, Haskell will compete in Bellator’s heavyweight division alongside the likes of current champion Ryan Bader, main challenger Cheik Kong and MMA veterans Josh Barnett and Fedor Emelianenko.
Haskell is expected to continue training throughout the rest of 2019 with his first fight expected to take place during the first half of 2020.
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