Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin has been out of action since his cringe-worthy knockout at the hands of Cung Le in November 2012. Taking time off from the sport to open ZeLin juice bar and café in Los Angeles, Franklin has teased a return to MMA but hasn’t been booked in anything concrete.
Today, it looks like his layoff is going to become officially more permanent, as Franklin posted to his Facebook page that he is in talks to become upstart Asian MMA promotion ONE FC’s new Vice President:
“I have been in talks with ONE FC about taking a job with them. They offered me a position as VP. I will be heading to ONE FC headquarters in the next few weeks to work out the details. I met with Dana and Lorenzo at the end of last year and they gave me their blessing. I will keep you posted.”
As an ambassador of sorts for UFC, Franklin was always regarded and ne of the classier fighters out there, and obviously others around the MMA world gave him credit for that as well. ONE FC Vice President sounds like a very promising title for “Ace,” who is now all but done fighting in the cage.
He had a successful title run from 2005-2006, ushering in a new era of UFC middleweights that began when he relinquished his belt to Anderson Silva in “The Spider’s” coming out party.
Despite fighting the best in the world for the majority of his UFC tenure, Franklin exhibited a marked degree of inconsistency during the later years of his career, trading wins and losses over his last right fights. Despite recently saying he still felt he could beat Anderson Silva or Jon Jones, he reportedly turned down a UFC Fight Night bout with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to focus on his other ventures.
He still holds the record for second most UFC middleweight title defenses, and there’s no need for him to prove anything more inside a cage. It’s good to see him have some other opportunities in the sport open up. Will “Ace” take ONE FC to new heights in the coming years?