Ode Osbourne: The New "Ace"

Rich Franklin had one of the most famous outside the cage jobs in history. Looking every bit the part, “Ace” taught high school math in Cincinnati prior to moving to MMA full-time. Franklin went on to become UFC middleweight champion and then Vice President of ONE Championship. 

It’s been some time since that story was first told, but now we have a second telling in the making. After winning his way into the UFC via Dana White’s Contender Series back in July, Ode Osbourne has a very similar job when he’s outside of the cage. 

“I’m an assistant teacher, so when I’m not fighting I’m in the school. I’m working with 5th and 6th graders,” Osbourne said of his position, which requires him to primarily work with students in math. “It’s shared leadership, so I pretty much do everything the teacher does... I help out with the class, I take the kids to their other classes, help them where they need it.” 

*Ful Interview at 11:30*

Some might think that Mr. Osbourne would work to keep things a secret. After all, you can imagine how a bunch of 10 or 11 year olds would react to knowing their teacher punches people in the mouth for a living. However, as he puts it, keeping things secret is simply not possible. 

“Oh most definitely, they know,” he said. “A lot of these kids have access to social media, they Instagram me. They’re super smart too; I can’t get anything past them. They go home, they look stuff up. They look me up. They watch videos. They’re not sheltered to anything. They have access to everything.”

Although that might be a nightmare for some people, Osbourne says he welcomes the interaction with his students on social media. 

“They all know what I’m doing. They all follow me on Instagram and all kinds of stuff,” he said. “Somebody asked me if I let me kids follow me on social media. I say ‘I’d way rather they follow me because some of the stuff I see them following on social media - I’d way rather their looking at me as an example.”

But while Osbourne is willing to be a role model in and out of the classroom for his students, his students are actually not that big of fans of his second career. Because he’s been around them for as long as he has, they really couldn’t care less. 

“I’ve been in the school now for 4 years, so they all know me pretty well. And I’ve built a relationship with literally every single kid there,” Osbourne said. “So when It comes to UFC and fighting and stuff like that, they don’t really bug me about it because we’re on a completely different level. They’re not fanboy about it. They’re too busy giving me a hard time and making fun of me and stuff like that.”

Once in awhile, Osbourne does get the ego boost from a new kid, but his regular students don’t let that last long. 

“This year we had a couple of new kids and they were the ones like ‘oh, man, you’re in the UFC’. My other students were like ‘ughh, he’s new,” he said with a laugh. 

Even though his students may not be all that excited, many MMA pundits are excited for Osbourne’s UFC debut, which comes later this month. He fights Brian Kelleher on the preliminary card of UFC 246 on January 18th. 

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