Sean O’Connell on the Transition to Play-By-Play Role and the 2019 PFL Championships

Jan 15, 2020

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In sports broadcasting, a former competitor being a color commentator is commonplace, especially in mixed martial arts. However, a former fighter being the play-by-play voice for a major promotion? That is almost unheard of—until now. Professional Fighters League lead announcer Sean O'Connell is breaking new ground in the role which he has been intrigued by since his days competing for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“When I was in the UFC, I was always asking for media opportunities. I wasn’t either talking to the right people, or more likely, I wasn’t making enough noise as a fighter. So, they put famous people on the [broadcast] desk [and] on the analyst roles. I always wanted to do some of that analyst work, but it just wasn’t coming to fruition. I said, ‘You know what? I have media chops that basically no other fighter has, so maybe a better role for me would be play-by-play.’ Obviously, the competition there is not the same and I have no problem with that. The fact that it’s me versus Randy Couture for an analyst role, or Bas Rutten, or Daniel Cormier – I wouldn’t pick me either. So, I was like, let me try this play-by-play stuff. And thankfully, the PFL gave me a shot doing the early fights on the cards last year.”

In this exclusive for Sherdog, the 2018 PFL light heavyweight champion talked more about his transition into play-by-play work and his development in that role. The conversation also included his thoughts on the results from all six league championship fights, his opinion on the league adding Rory MacDonald and re-signing Lance Palmer for season three as well as possible improvements the PFL could make for next year. Advertisement


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