Dana White “Happy” for Rich Franklin and His Opportunity to Become a ONE FC Vice President

April 22, 2014
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Rich Franklin vs Chuck LiddellSeveral big-name fighters have left the UFC in the past to take various positions with other fight promotions, only to do it in a manner that hasn’t exactly left them in the good graces of their former employer.

Randy Couture, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Tito Ortiz all come immediately to mind.

One man that appears to be leaving to further his career is Rich Franklin. Only, Franklin is doing so with the blessing of his former boss, UFC president Dana White.

Having recently started an organic juicing bar called Ze/Lin, Franklin has also been offered a position as a vice president for ONE FC, the premier mixed martial arts organization in Asia. Before taking the position with ONE FC, however, Franklin approached White and company CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, and they apparently backed Franklin if he wanted to accept a position with the Singapore-based fight promotion.

“We have a good relationship with Rich,” said White. “Rich got offered a really good opportunity to go work with (ONE FC), and I’m happy for him.”

So why didn’t Franklin, a former UFC middleweight champion, receive the backlash that guys like Couture did? Precisely because he approached White and Fertitta about the offer and sought their counsel.

“There’s nothing wrong if you come and ask,” White continued. “How can you be upset with a guy for trying to better his life or taking a great opportunity somewhere? You can’t. It’s the sneaky guys that lie to your face and all that stuff.

“Rich is out there making some moves. He started a business. He’s got this (juice) business that he’s running, and he’s putting all his time, effort, and money into it, but he needs a source of income for more money to come in. These guys gave him a huge opportunity.”

Franklin hasn’t publicly stated that he has fully decided to accept the position, but MMAWeekly.com sources in Asia said that it is all but a done deal, which Franklin backed in a recent post on his Facebook page.

“I have been in talks with ONE FC about taking a job with them. They offered me a position as VP,” he wrote. “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.”

Franklin still has a fight left on his current UFC contract. Some months ago, he had still intended to fulfill that obligation, but with his juice bar in full swing and the executive opportunity with ONE FC, it’s likely that his UFC contract may lead to retirement instead of one last hurrah in the Octagon.

Not that the door to the Octagon closes just because he may be working for ONE FC.

“I don’t know,” White said. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, if he takes this job, that’s it. We’ll never let him fight in the UFC again.’ If he came back and wanted to fight, he’s still under contract with us, and he hasn’t officially retired.”

That would appear unlikely, but with the way that Franklin handles his business, the opportunity is still there. Diving head first into the next phase of his life, however, don’t expect to see Franklin back in the Octagon again, unless, perhaps, he is one day celebrating a Hall of Fame induction.

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  • justin

    It’s ridiculous that they think it should be required that people come and ask them if they can take another job. He said it’s ok because he asked. What a jerk. Like he runs decisions by his fighters when he is doing things that affect, or even destroy their career. They are in charge and can do what they want, but when someone gets a better offer, that’s it. You just lost your position of power over that person. Try not to cry about it.

    • Advance*

      Great job using your hatred for Dana to try and spin this one. Rich Franklin is still under contract with the UFC and has been with them for 10 years. Naturally you should run it by your current employer when you’re thinking about going to work for a rival company. If anything this shows that Dana was telling the truth when he was mad about how Randy handled it and not just because he left the UFC.

      • Lawdog1521

        Then explain him treating Big John like **** when he left. He was never under UFC contract when he left to to do broadcasting and Dana threw a fit anyway.

        I have no issue with Dana but to say he’s not vindictive is naive.

        • DamianCross

          There’s a difference here. Rich has a standing agreement with the UFC for fights / image use, stuff like that. If he goes to another org the details get muddy and it might be like hes using UFC licensed property (his image) to make a buck. Big John isn’t employed by the UFC at all so basically Dana was a dick in that case.

      • claudale

        and you are a constant dana defender.

        He last fought for the UFC 1.5 years ago. So he’s under contract (as a fighter) and probably hasn’t received a dime from them since 2012.

        Dana likes to have people stuck under contract, you know that, right? That way they control what they do and are can’t run off and use their name to headline another fight event.

        Dana’s the biggest hypocrite out there, I’m surprised anyone still jumps to his defense.

    • Liam O’Keefe

      I think it was more Franklin knowing it’s better to not burn that bridge down behind you. Let them have their egos caressed. If anything happens, he will have valuable experience running an organization and could come back to work for the UFC in an executive position.

  • Truthcore

    Don’t know who else would be left for Rich to fight.

    Maybe farewell fight w/ Bisping?

  • Johhny

    One of the best fighters of all time. Rich “ACE” Franklin. He would fight anyone the UFC asked.

  • Seth

    How long before he joins UFC HoF? Talking about guys that are down to fight anyone, anytime, anyplace – when I think about that kind of a fighter, “Ace” is first one that comes to my mind. Wish him best, hope it will work out and he will live comfortable life without getting punched or kicked 🙂

    • Milkman

      100% agree. How can anyone not like or respect this guy. He’ll fight anyone any time, well spoken, doesn’t trash talk, former champion, beaten legends and is tough as hell. I’ve seen him break bones where it appears to not even phase him.

      • Seth

        You may dislike him, there is no person on this planet that will be liked by 100% of population – but he’s one of the guys that 100% of population should respect 🙂

  • BobGyro

    He deserves HOF just for making an ass out of Shamrock. Rich I’m sure will fulfill his contract after Zuffa buys ONE FC and he is a ufc employee again