Fresh career move for former Saints flanker Haskell

James Haskell is moving into the world of MMA
James Haskell is moving into the world of MMA

Former Saints flanker James Haskell has announced his next career move - and it will see him remaining in the sporting arena.

Haskell has signed with leading mixed martial arts promotion Bellator MMA and will compete in the Bellator heavyweight division.

He is expected to make his professional MMA debut for the global promotion in 2020.

Haskell announced the end of his 17-year professional rugby career, which saw him achieve major honours for both club and country, in May this year, at the age of 34.

He had moved to Saints last summer following stints with Wasps, Stade Francais, Ricoh Black Rams and the Highlanders.

But having been hit by injury, Haskell was only able to make five competitive appearances for Saints.

He took the decision to hang up his boots during the summer, but he will not be leaving the world of sport just yet.

Haskell has shown a keen interest in 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.

And now the former back row forward will take the plunge as he competes in a heavyweight division which features the likes of current champion Ryan Bader, challenger Cheik Kongo, MMA veteran Josh Barnett and Fedor Emelianenko.

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.