The Real OC is a real Renaissance man.
Sean O'Connell is most known by UFC fans for having two straight wins by knockout in the Octagon and his entertaining post-fight interviews. But the light heavyweight fighter is so much more than that.
In O'Connell's day job, he's a sports talk radio host for the ESPN Radio affiliate in Salt Lake City. He currently has a sci-fi novel out on Amazon and has spent time in Africa on missions to help abused teenage girls.
While the 31-year-old loves to fight, he knows he'll have plenty to fall back on when it's over, he told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"That's the plan for me," said O'Connell, who is an eight-year veteran of pro MMA. "There are a lot of things I want to do with my life that fall outside of the MMA realm. This is the premier organization in the world. This is the mountaintop, so to speak. I'm kind of on the side of the mountain right now, if we're being honest. Being a champion is the mountaintop."
O'Connell (17-6) does one day want to be the UFC champion, but he's 2-2 in the organization. Even after knocking out Anthony Perosh at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Miocic, he understands he isn't in the title picture. O'Connell believes in his ability, but he's not going to be screaming for a title shot with so little experience in the UFC.
"That just sounds stupid to me," he said. "I don't know what it sounds like to you. That's not realistic. And that's false bravado and that's something in this sport that just makes you look like an idiot, in my opinion."
When it's over, O'Connell will have his radio show and he wants to do more writing. He's hoping to write five more books and turn them into a major motion picture product. This weekend, he'll also be flying to Zambia, where he spent most of 2009 helping build a school and orphanage for abused girls.
What he would really want to do when he retires is get a gig as a broadcast with the UFC or FOX Sports.
"I want Joe Rogan's job," O'Connell said. ... "Whenever the UFC decides that I'm not exciting anymore or they don't like me anymore or they don't think I can win anymore, I think -- and that's what the plan is -- that I will accept that my run in this sport has probably come to an end and I'll move on to the next thing."
O'Connell plans on being back at his gym around June 6 and ready to fight again in August. He believes he has plenty of room to grow in the sport. Overall, "The Real OC" has won eight of his last 10 fights and one of those losses was a controversial split decision against Gian Villante last June.
He's an entertaining fighter now and likely a multi-dimensional media person post-retirement. In between, O'Connell hoping for a title run in there somewhere. Just don't expect him to be calling for it at this stage.
"We've seen all that talk and then people fall flat on their face," O'Connell said. "I just consider myself a little more realistic than that. For now, my role in the UFC is to be an exciting fighter, hopefully a main card guy, but maybe not yet a main event guy. That's up to them to decide."