5 Things You Might Not Know About Jake Hager

By: Mark Raymundo
Oct 30, 2019

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Jake Hager’s first two fights were against people who had almost the same level of experience as him. T.J. Jones had only two fights while J.W. Kiser had one. Both were Bellator MMA debutants and Hager defeated them by arm triangle. More recently, the accomplished collegiate wrestling standout from Perry, Oklahoma, faced his most experienced opponent yet, the 4-2 Anthony Garrett, who was also making his Bellator debut.

In an anticlimactic turn of events, the fight didn’t even last two minutes. Hager was absorbing the highest volume of punches in his young MMA career before landing a low-blow knee on Garrett. He landed yet another groin shot after that, and so the fight was stopped and ruled a No Contest by referee Dan Miragliotta. As Hager reflects on how the fight played out, here are five things you might not know about him.

1. He is an accomplished school athlete.

Hager is quite an athlete. Most people are aware of his amateur wrestling background, but he really wasn’t your average high school or collegiate wrestler. In fact, in 1999, he was ranked fifth in his division by USA Wrestling. He captured the Oklahoma State title as a junior and later joined the Junior National USA team. Hager also played football. Representing Perry High School, he tallied 45 tackles and six sacks in just three games as a junior.

2. He has a win over Cain Velasquez.

Long before Velasquez and Hager dominated their respective fields as professionals, the two wrestlers met twice in NCAA competition and split victories. The match won by Hager lasted more than 20 minutes, with multiple overtimes, in what was one of the longest matches in the collegiate wrestling organization’s history. In the end, Hager got his hand raised.

3. He has a degree in Finance.

Hager graduated in 2006 with a degree in Finance. Even before his graduation march, Hager was already noticed by Jim Ross, then the Head of Talent Relations for the WWE. Ross encouraged him to finish college and just give him a call once he graduated. And that’s exactly what he did. On the day he was about to sign a contract with a finance firm, he also received the WWE contract in the mail. As we all know, Hager followed his heart.

4. He once appeared as a security guard in a WWE event.

Before doing his own thing in the WWE, Hager appeared on a RAW event as a security guard for the match between John Cena and Umaga. He officially made his debut in Deep South Wrestling, a developmental organization that worked in tandem with the WWE for a period of time. He would go on to claim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by beating Chris Jericho and the United States Championship by defeating Zack Ryder.

5. He is married to a fellow pro wrestler.

Hager is married to Catalina White, also known as Saylor James, of the WWE's developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. But that was before she even met Hager. White was a model who has been featured in FHM, Maxim and Complex. They married in Dec. 2010 and now have two kids, Knox Stribling and Presley Pearl.

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