Sean O'Connell said Monday night in the cage that he was ready to call it quits in the fight game, and Tuesday he made it official.
O’Connell posted a statement to his Twitter account formally announcing his retirement from MMA competition. He said he hopes to stay involved in the sport as a broadcaster.
O’Connell (23-10) went out on the highest note possible – with a third-round TKO of the favored Vinny Magalhaes (18-10) at PFL 11, the promotion’s final first-season event. The win gave O’Connell the light heavyweight belt from the season, and the playoff tournament victory got him a $1 million paycheck. O’Connell entered the playoffs as the No. 6 seed; Magalhaes was No. 1 and had first-round stoppage finishes in his two regular-season PFL fights and two playoff fights.
“I am home again in Salt Lake City and feeling happy and grateful,” O’Connell posted on Twitter. “I feel blessed to have enjoyed a fulfilling career as a pro fighter. Thank you to EVERYONE who has EVER been part of this with me. Friends, Family, coaches, training partners, promoters, opponents, fans, sponsors, and anybody else who gave even a tiny bit of themselves to my years of pretending I belong as a pro athlete. I cannot thank you all properly. I wish I could.
“I hope to stay in the MMA world as a broadcaster, but my fighting days are done. Walking away on a high note is bittersweet. But I need to preserve what is left of my brain for my loved ones. God is great, the future is bright, and I am so grateful. Happy New Year everyone! Love you all.”