Reports ran last month about the 39-year-old American being in talks with Asia’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization regarding a job offer.
There was not much to talk about really, as it was not difficult to get him on board.
“The offer was definitely something that appealed to me and I like the people at ONE FC, so it was a no-brainer decision. There is no convincing needed for me to join the team. I’m a ONE FC member and I’m here this week to discuss how I can optimise my expertise and experience.
“I am here to learn the culture of the organisation; how it operates, how it functions. They have an aggressive growth plan over the next couple of years and it will be about me learning how that growth plan is going to execute,” he said in an exclusvie interview today.
ONE FC chief executive officer Victor Cui is proud to have Franklin on the team. He said, “Every aspect of ONE FC is about bringing together the best people in the industry from around the world, such as Jason Chambers and Matt Hume, as well as top fighter Ben Askren. That’s what I’m always looking for when I built this company and why we had so much success the past couple of years.
“Rich Franklin is another perfect example – he is an icon in this industry. Everybody loves him, he is well-respected, and he will a fantastic addition to the team in terms of experience and helping the sport grow in Asia from ground up awareness.”
In his role as Vice President, Franklin will be doing extensive work in media (broadcast and television) when moving into new territories for example, and also in fighter development in the future.
Cui added, “We will continue to define his role but to me now what’s most important is finding the best people. I am aggressively hiring in all positions and looking to add another 200 staff in the near future as we grow. At the moment, we are a young company still and Rich will do a lot of different things for us, from talent management to fighter recruitment and giving seminars.”
Franklin will not be moving out to Singapore or Asia, and will still be based in the United States.
The arrangement for now is for him to work remotely from home and fly out to Asia for a week or a few months whenever needed.
“I have the flexibility to travel so I can move around. I’m a never-say-never guy though; maybe one day in the future I might move out to Asia. All these will take better shape once I get more involved with the company,” he explained.
“MMA in Asia right now is at the tip of the iceberg. If you were to rewind the clock, it’s like MMA in the States back in 2003. I think MMA is going to take off like wild fire here in Asia and I will be part of it.”