He may not want to call it a retirement, but former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin officially retired from fighting on Monday.
Although one fight remains on his UFC contract, and he had fully intended on fulfilling that obligation, Franklin has finally determined that too much time has gone by and that he’s got too much going on in his life. He’ll instead close the door on that chapter of his life, so that he can focus on other endeavors.
“I decided I didn’t want to announce ‘retirement,’ rather, I am announcing that I have closed one chapter of my life and begun another,” Franklin wrote in an article he penned for ThePlayersTribune.
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Prior to becoming a full-time professional fighter, Franklin was a high school math teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Once he began fighting, however, Franklin quickly found success and didn’t lose a bout until his sixteenth trip to the ring, when he went well above his usual weight to fight Lyoto Machida at 214 pounds in Japan.
He defeated the late Evan Tanner to become the UFC middleweight champion in 2005. Franklin defended the belt twice before losing to Anderson Silva. He eventually earned a rematch, but was never able to recapture championship gold.
Aside from Machida and Silva, Franklin went on to fight a who’s who of the MMA world, facing the likes of Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, and Wanderlei Silva. He hasn’t fought since getting knocked out by Cung Le in November of 2012.
Franklin has been busy outside of the cage, though. While he was still fighting, he started the American Fighter brand, of which Affliction is now the majority owner. Since his last bout, Franklin has started a successful organic juice brand and has taken up a position as a vice president of Singapore-based ONE Championship, the largest mixed martial arts promotion in Asia.
“I am blessed to continue working in an industry I helped build. I will continue to do great things with ONE Championship,” he said.
Franklin, at 40 years of age, finishes his career with an overall record of 29 wins, 7 losses, and 1 no contest.
“Many years ago, I was just a guy chasing his dream. Today, I stand here humbled and appreciative of where that pursuit took me. God bless!”