|This is a thumbs up move for ONE FC. Rich "Ace" Franklin is the new VP.|
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Rich Franklin is ONE FC’s new Vice President
by rick olivares
To paraphrase an old quote by General Douglas MacArthur, “old fighters don’t fade away; they just find a way to stay in the game.”
One-time UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin is joining the ONE FC a Vice President. After 15 bloody, exciting, heart-breaking, and incredible years of fighting and a 29-7-1 record, the man they call “Ace’ (because of a similarity to actor and comedian Jim Carrey) is taking his skills up the corporate ladder.
In Singapore to cement the deal as well as to be in town for ONE FC Honor and Glory on May 30, Franklin will join Asia’s largest Mixed Martial Arts organization with the title of Vice President. “MMA has been a huge and large part of my life and for so long that I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to be joining ONE FC,” said the 6’1” Ohioan of this new stage of his career. “When MMA was growing in the United States, my job as a fighter was to help Americans understand the sport. At this stage of my career and an exciting development for me if I may say, Asia is the birthplace of martial arts yet MMA is not quite understood yet. So a part of my duties is to grow the sport by working with fighters, the media, promoters, and the fans.”
Franklin quickly doused water on any notion that he is fighting for ONE FC. “I have a live contract with UFC,” he underscored. “I have one more fight for them and if I do go back into the octagon, that last fight will be my retirement fight. With ONE FC it’s a wholly different thing. If I enter the cage it’s to shake fighters’ hands and shake hands with them but not as a fighter.”
“The corporate side is a different creature. I’m not up against the Dan Hendersons, Anderson Silvas, Ken Shamrocks, Yushin Okamis, and Chuck Liddells but it doesn’t make it no less tough. It could possibly be an even tougher battle because now instead of focusing on one foe, you have to care about an organization. And that means there are people – not just the fighters but those who work for ONE FC – who are also dependent on what you bring to the table.”
He is far removed from those days when he taught mathematics at Oak Hills High School in his hometown of Cincinnati. “In a huge class, I had a few who really got math,” Rich recounted in his trip down memory lane. “Most didn’t. But it’s really a boring subject, right? I had to make it appeal to them. So in a way, this is like going full circle – teaching MMA in my career.”
There reasons for moving to ONE FC were manifold. Aside from the business decision with the largest MMA organization in Asia (that will be hosting its 16th fight promotion this weekend), one was a familiar face in Matt Hume.
Hume, a former fighter who helped train Franklin after his second loss to Anderson Silva. Hume, who is Vice President for Operations of ONE FC owns and is the head trainer at AMC Pankration in Seattle, Washington that is home to current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and ONE FC Bantamweight Bibiano Fernandes among many others.
“Matt Hume helped see this deal through,” said Franklin. “He told me that ONE FC is a very good organization and I could help it grow. Seeing it first-hand how they do their business; how they treat their fighters and their fans only tells me I am doing the right thing.”
Despite the title and new job, Franklin isn’t packing his bags for Singapore. “I am not moving to Asia” cleared Rich. “There’s a certain amount of time that ONE FC will be needing me to stay here in Asia for fights and promotions or even other duties. That could be for a few days, maybe even a month. But there’s no big permanent move to Asia. At least not yet.”
Over dinner of chicken wings, pasta, fries, and burgers at Burger vs. Wings at Orchard Central with media from Cambodia, Singapore, and the Philippines, Franklin talked at great length about his career and working with the ONE FC.
A feet away sat ONE FC’s Loren Mack, Director for Public Relations, “Rich,” he enunciated. “is going to be big for us and the sport.”