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A Clever idea? U.S. rugby captain says he'd fight James Haskell in his Bellator debut

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When Bellator announced the signing of former England rugby star James Haskell to its heavyweight ranks, the promotion probably knew that a callout would come sooner than later. But rather than coming directly from a fighter, the callout came from a manager.

MMA manager Danny Rubenstein posted on Twitter to suggest the former England star-turned-Bellator heavyweight should take on former U.S. rugby captain Todd Clever in his Bellator debut.

If he doesn’t fight @ToddsClever in his first Bellator fight, it’ criminal. UK Rugby Captain vs US Rugby Captain. Book it @ScottCoker @rich_chou @JudeSamuel_ https://t.co/Z8T8eZ52Uk

— Daniel Rubenstein (@dannyrube) September 11, 2019

If he doesn’t fight @ToddsClever in his first Bellator fight, it’s criminal,” he offered. “UK rugby captain vs US Rugby Captain. Book it @ScottCoker @rich_chou @JudeSamuel_

OK, the term “UK rugby captain” isn’t really a thing, but that doesn’t really matter – Rubenstein might just be onto something. The thought of two recently retired rugby players, still in peak physical condition, each with solid fanbases, throwing down inside the Bellator cage might not be a terrible suggestion, especially for Haskell’s pro MMA debut.

Of course, it was just a throwaway suggestion, right? Well, another MMA manager, Duello’s Gokhan Yildizli, suggested the idea might be worth exploring. He replied to Rubenstein, suggesting MMA legend Dan Henderson might be willing to help Clever get ready for the fight, then followed up with a with a pic of himself with Clever and Henderson with the caption: “We Are Ready.” Clever then showed that he’s on board with the idea by quote-tweeting Yildizli’s message with a short message of his own: “I’m in!”

I’m in 📝! https://t.co/CvKDwLOSi6

— Todd Clever (@ToddsClever) September 12, 2019

When we asked Bellator’s Head of Europe David Green whether he’d consider finding another “name” opponent to face Haskell in his debut, he suggested that wasn’t the direction they wanted to take. But when an obvious matchup lands in your lap, with a willing opponent seemingly up for the challenge, it’s surely worth consideration at least.

There’s a phrase involving gift horses and mouths that might apply here, but we can’t quite recall it …

The Blue Corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly serious, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.

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