What is UFC legend Rich Franklin's role in ONE Championship?

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin
Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin
Bhavesh Purohit

Rich Franklin is a former UFC middleweight champion who is currently serving as the vice president of ONE Championship.

The 46-year-old had a decorated career inside the octagon. In 2006, Franklin broke the record for the most consecutive UFC middleweight title defenses (2) with his win over David Loiseau. After hanging up his gloves in 2012, 'Ace' joined ONE Championship as their vice president.

Franklin is also an ambassador for the Singapore-based MMA promotion, and a part of their broadcast team as well.

In November 2017, it was announced that Rich Franklin would host ONE Championship's reality series billed as Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series (OWS). His role in the show was to recruit ambitious mixed martial artists, and possibly land them a place in the promotion.

The 23-year-old Muay Thai kickboxer and mixed martial artist Stamp Fairtex is a product of OWS. He is considered to be one of the brightest prospects in the women's MMA roster at ONE Championship.

Reflecting on how OWS came to exist, Franklin said:

"ONE Championship has tested several methods for recruiting talent, but nothing that became a permanent solution. Jonathan Fong (Director of OWS) and I were sitting with our chairman discussing previous tryouts I had conducted.
"Jonathan suggested we should create our own league to test new talent. Our Chairman (and CEO), Chatri Sityodtong, then conceptualized the OWS travel and search format," said Franklin in an interview with ONE Championship.

Apart from being the vice president and talent recruiter, Rich Franklin is also a podcast host at ONE Championship. The promotion launched the 'Franklin Speaking' video podcast in April 2020, with the former UFC star as its host.

Rich Franklin's UFC career

Rich Franklin made his UFC debut in 2003 as an undefeated prospect at UFC 44. He edged past Edwin Dewees on his promotional debut via a first-round TKO. Franklin achieved immense stardom after securing a win over Ken Shamrock in The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale.

He won the middleweight title in his next outing against Evan Tanner, and defended his belt on two occasions opposite Nate Quarry and David Loiseau.

Franklin's stunning run in the UFC was put to a halt by none other than Anderson Silva. The Brazilian beat him at UFC 64.

Afterward, Franklin registered five wins and four losses in the UFC. He retired from the sport at the age of 38 after losing to Cung Le in 2012.

Edited by Harvey Leonard


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