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Former UFC Champ Rich Franklin Headed for a Position as a ONE FC Vice President
Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin has retired from MMA with immediate effect in order to take up a role as Vice President of ONE FC according to reliable sources in Singapore. MMAWeekly.com confirmed the news following an initial rumor posted on The Fight Nation website on Saturdy.
Franklin later revealed his intent 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 was a keynote speaker at the 2013 ONE FC Summit and his long-time trainer Matt Hume already has a role as Vice President of Operations and Competition at Asia’s biggest MMA organization.
During his prime, Franklin was widely regarded as the best middleweight fighter on the planet and his record currently stands at 29-7-1, but he has not been seen inside the Octagon since a November 2012 loss to Cung Le at UFC on Fuel TV 6 in Macau.
In an exclusive interview with MMAWeekly in Singapore last year, Franklin admitted he was pondering retirement and, as he prepares to take up this new position with ONE FC, it is safe to assume that the 39-year-old won’t be competing as a fighter again.
While ONE FC’s recent acquisition of a spate of fighters – most notably undefeated former Bellator 170-pound beltholder Ben Askren – has made the headlines, the organization has also made a series of significant appointments at a corporate level.
Last month, Muhammad Saul left a senior role at Bloomberg, where he had been employed for 14 years and was in charge of the Asia-Pacific Enterprise business division, to take up a post as ONE FC’s new Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development.
Patrick Murphy was the man responsible for selling the media rights for the UEFA Champion’s League during a 12-year period when annual revenues swelled from €100 million to €1.8 billion. Earlier this year his Catalyst Media Group became the exclusive distributor for ONE FC’s live shows and archive.
A year ago, Victor Chu, who had previously worked for NBA Asia, ESPN Star Sports and IMG, took up a post as ONE FC’s Head of Global Commercial Partnerships.
These executive level appointments might not capture the imagination of fight fans, but they still represent a serious statement of intent by the Singapore headquartered organization.
In terms of newsworthiness though nothing can compare with the acquisition of Franklin who has fought 20 times for the UFC and remains one of the most recognizable and marketable fighters in the sport.
An official announcement about Franklin’s new role is imminent with ONE FC likely to issue a press release in the coming weeks.