After making his debut with All Elite Wrestling earlier this month, Jake Hager couldn’t think of a better way to finish off his return to Bellator than standing in the cage, celebrating with members of his new faction, Inner Circle. His third professional fight certainly took a different route, though, ending with yet another controversial finish as Hager landed two illegal groin shots against Anthony Garrett, drawing a no-contest in the opening fight at Bellator 231.
Hager took exception to the decision, using the next day to speak out against Garrett, while using video evidence to back his stance. Immediately after the bout, Hager told MMA Fighting, “I didn’t think I kneed him at all.”
“You can watch it back, I saw his leg lift up from the knee. But I can’t control that. It’s something I have to move on from. Like I said, I’m here to fight and I just don’t think he was tonight,” Hager said.
The former WWE world champ proceeded to question Garrett’s intentions, questioning if Garrett really wanted to be in the cage while predicting the fight was coming to an end soon anyways. Hager then took to Instagram in a series of posts where he called his opponent “scared” and later posted a video of other questionable finishes to Garrett’s fights.
In true Inner Circle fashion, stable leader and current AEW world champion Chris Jericho later backed Hager in his Instagram comments, “Brother wanted OUT of the cage. And he was hoping for a b***h boy DQ. He lost on both accounts.”
Hager is currently not scheduled for another Bellator fight, but considering the swift end to his most recent bout, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him back in the cage sooner rather than later.