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Interview Rich Franklin: “I will miss fighting until the day I die”

September 8th, 2016 | by Lennart Van Arendonk

Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin is een oud Mixed Martial Arts vechter met een schitterende carrière. Met een professioneel record van 29-7-(1) heeft deze Amerikaan bij de gemiddelde vechtsport fanaat geen introductie nodig.

Naast zijn carrière op het canvas heeft Rich buiten de Octagon ook veel bereikt. Zo verzorgde hij de wiskunde lessen op de universiteit van Cincinnati, was hij eigenaar van bedrijven als American Fighter en Ze/Lin en werkt hij momenteel als Vice President bij ONE Championship.

Rich Franklin gaf MMA DNA de mogelijkheid om verschillende vragen te stellen:

It all started in the classroom from the Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. You were a math teacher with a upcoming MMA career. How were you be able to combine this?
I was a man on a mission during college and my teaching career. All of my free time was spent training. If I didn’t have a study group on campus after my classes, I left immediately and went to the gym. There was no time for me to do mundane things like watching television.

Have you ever had a warning from the school principal because you were teaching with black eyes or bruises?
No, actually the administration was very curious about my free time hobby. I remember one weekend I left school Friday, drove for four hours to weigh in that evening, fought Saturday night, and return to school Monday morning with a blackeye stitches and a broken ankle. I think we sat in the principals office at some point and watch that fight on tape.

Your MMA career started with a winning streak of 14 fights. In total you have fought 37 professional MMA fights. What was the most memorable moment of your fighting career?
I left a teaching career to pursue MMA at a time when the sport was banned in 48 of the 50 states. When I told my father about my plan, and being the only child who graduated from college, he was not happy to say the least. Then several years later I was having dinner with my dad in Las Vegas during fight week of my first title defense. I remember him telling me how proud he was of me for pursuing my dreams. No victory in the cage could ever trump that moment!

In April 2014 you started working as the Vice President from One: Championship. How did you came in contact with this organisation?
ONE Championship held its first show in 2011. I will travel to Singapore to teach a seminar at Evolve MMA in 2010. I met some of the senior executives in the company at the time, and there was a mention of a job opportunity with my career was over. Several years later that offer materialized.

Did you move to Singapore? If yes, What do you like the most about the Asian culture?
I didn’t move to Singapore, I just spent a significant amount of time down there. I appreciate how many countries in Asia have been able to preserve their culture through many centuries, despite all the hardships they have had to face.

I feel that One: Championship is not that well known in Europe, while the events are streamed at accessible times. ONE: Championship is Asia’s largest sport media property. Are there plans to expend the live events to countries outside this continent?
ONE Championship definitely has plans to expand globally, but we have our hands full at the moment constantly adding new regions.

In 2015 the name changed from One FC to ONE: Championship. Is this something you have introduced, and why is the name changed?
The name change was not my doing personally. The new branding is straight into the point. I believe ONE Championship relates cross culturally more so than One FC.

A few days ago you were visiting the Shelter Home for Children. It is amazing to see that big names like you are taking the time for those activities. What is the reason behind these visits?
Do not credit me for visiting the Shelter home for children. There is an entire team of people at ONE Championship who work at putting those events together. Our organization feels a strong need to give back to the communities in which we hold events. You will see a CSR outreach in tandem with each event we hold.

Who is your favourite fighter?
I have too many friends in this business to choose just one.

Do you still follow the UFC, and what do you think about the promotion now?
I definitely keep up with the happenings of the UFC, but I am quite busy with my responsibilities at ONE Championship. It will be interesting to see what turns the organization takes now that the sale has happened.

Do you miss fighting when you are training or sparring in the gym?
I’m sure I will miss fighting until the day I die. I will say that I enjoy training much more now that I don’t have to worry about preparing for a fight, and I’m just interested in getting better as a martial artist.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Rich Franklin introduceert realityserie en MMA-competitie ONE Warrior Series MMA DNA

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