© 2022 88.9 KETR
ketr-org-header-image-2021.png
Public Radio for Northeast Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Former Lions Football Star Takes on MMA (Slideshow)

Jason Osei walked into a local taco shop smiling and bragging about his beloved Philadelphia Eagles, who were playing on the TV screens. He assured me they’d mount a comeback against New Orleans. His swollen eye had gone down considerably since the day before. The former Texas A&M-Commerce all-conference offensive lineman fought and won his first amateur Mixed Martial Arts Heavyweight fight the previous evening. XKO, the top MMA and Muay Thai promotion in Texas, hosted the event. When asked about his immediate reaction after hearing his name declared as the winner, Osei simply said, “I can go eat now.” The following morning his Instagram read, “My body feels like an elephant, Boeing 747 and Mars decided to have an agreement to drop the people’s elbow on me...MUM! WHAT DO I DO?!”

 

xkoa_fight_4_-_jason_yaw_osei__canon_-7.jpg
Credit Sean A. Malone
/

 

After sixteen weeks of training, Osei won by unanimous decision against an undefeated, 6’9” Deshai Finzen. He used agility and discipline to outwork his opponent. He’s relieved to have his first fight under his belt, especially with a win. New fans stayed afterward to congratulate him and express how bright his future in the sport could be. Friends and family of Osei attended and posted across their social media in support of the fan favorite.

 

“It’s a humbling, telling experience. It reveals I can’t take people for granted. I felt bad, I’ve had so much to do I put people on the backburner due to time,” Osei said. “Seeing those people show me love in that moment made me happy. It showed me that people are really there in your corner and I need to be in theirs too.”

 

Osei’s cousin inspired him to start MMA fighting but also to become a better athlete.

 

“If I wanted to be successful I needed to do it at a high level," said Osei. "Even with the decision to come to America to play football, his inspiration is tutelage."

 

Osei is noticeably slimmer from his gridiron days, down to 253 lbs. and only twelve percent body fat. He reflects on his time as a football player and its impact as an MMA fighter.

 

“Football prepared me by taking the element of the crowd away, it can be intimidating and you don’t want to lose in that environment.”

xkoa_fight_4_-_jason_yaw_osei__canon_-18.jpg
Credit Sean A. Malone
/

  

 

“The Londoner” has been busy since graduating with his bachelor's degree in 2016. His American friends often joke about the resemblance to fellow British actor Idris Elba. So it was only fitting when he made his acting debut in 2017 for A&M-Commerce’s “Grit to Greatness” campaign. His commercial and image were featured on Dallas-area billboards, television ads, web ads and at Love Field Airport. In 2018, he was invited to try out for World Wrestling Entertainment and the new Alliance of American Football league. This May, he’s scheduled to finish his master's degree in English with a graduate certificate in computational linguistics and natural language processing. Osei is optimistic about his future given his time in Commerce.

 

"It would be premature to predict what's next for me because I guarantee in two or three months time it's going to change in some way, shape, or form," said Osei. "Every time I turn around, there's a new opportunity for me, and one thing I've learned is take it day by day."

 

Osei’s next fight in April will be held at the brand new Texas Live! arena in Arlington.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtUKRyAGVhs

Lifelong sports fan, Jasmine Baker, has been covering sports for KETR 88.9 since 2016, under the tutelage of Mark Haslett. She's co-hosted the award-winning student produced program 'Lions After Dark' and produced online content covering Lion Athletics. As an undergraduate she began her journalism career writing for student-run campus newspaper The East Texan. Jasmine has covered high school basketball playoffs, college and professional sports in the Dallas Metroplex. Her experience has allowed her to be a guest on various sports talk shows, including guest play-by-play with Charlie Chitwood. In the 2018 WNBA season she covered the Dallas Wings for High Post Hoops.