(‘Whoa, guys, I just had the worst dream. Dan Henderson poked me in the eye and head-butted me and I lost the decision anyway and then…why are you all looking at me like that? Where am I? And why do I suddenly have no depth perception?’)
In addition to the eye-poke injury, Franklin also needed stitches in his head on account of the Hendo head-butt that opened up a nasty cut on his forehead, as well as stitches on his shin to close a cut resulting from one of his many kicks in the fight. Basically, it was a rough night. At least he had his special pink travel pillow to comfort him on the long journey home.
More pics of the damage “Ace” suffered are after the jump. Take a look at those and then ask yourself anew, ‘Do you want to be a f*cking fighter?!’
According to a release from Authentic Sports Management, Eric Eisner’s Double E Pictures has optioned the film rights for former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin’s life story.
Eisner has hired screenwriter David Hollander (The Cleaner; The Guardian) to pen the script and Sean Sorensen from Motion Theory to produce the film that will chronicle Franklin’s journey from math teacher and self-taught mixed martial artist to UFC middleweight champion.
I was talking to the UFC after the second [Anderson] Silva loss and they encouraged me to move up to 205. They told me my position there would be more appealing to them from a business perspective. They weren’t interested in a third match between me and Silva and they didn’t want me fighting contenders because I could eliminate possible title fights, so I was stuck in that I was going to be fighting people on the back end of their losses to Silva and I didn’t care for that gatekeeper position. After the Travis Lutter fight, I said I would try my hand at 205 again…
I think I gotta be quick on my feet [against Matt Hamill]. I’m giving up some weight so he might be giving up some speed. I need to use my footwork to confuse him and stick and move and stick and move and avoid takedowns. Once he does take me down, I can’t let him lay on top of me. I need to stay active on the ground.
“At first when I started training for this fight, I was putting on weight, and everything was fine. But when I started getting down to the nitty-gritty of the fight and hitting all my two-a-days and double sessions as many times a week as I do, it’s difficult to make sure that you’re eating more than you’re burning constantly. My primary concern when I’m fighting at 185 is making weight. I meticulously weigh my food out and now when I weigh my food out, I’m doing it to make sure I’m eating enough food. It’s a completely, completely different process now.
It’s being reported that UFC 82 — which goes down March 2 in Columbus, and will be headlined by a middleweight championship bout between Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson — will also feature the Octagon return of actor/fighter Rich Franklin, who will face off against Ultimate Fighter 4 winner Travis Lutter. Both men are coming off of losses to Anderson Silva, but unlike Franklin, Lutter actually came close to beating him, creaming the champ with unanswered punches from the mount in the first round of their match at UFC 67 before Silva slipped out and locked in a triangle choke in the second. (Franklin, of course, wasn’t able to make it to the second round in either of his fights against the current champ.) A skilled submission artist, Lutter could potentially find a way to beat Ace, who isn’t looking like the most confident fighter in the world lately, and whose budding movie career may be diverting his focus. The fight would be the first in Franklin’s new six-fight contract with the UFC.
MMA Mania is also reporting that UFC veteran Evan Tanner will also fight at UFC 82 against a yet-unnamed opponent. Tanner briefly held the UFC’s middleweight belt before losing it to Rich Franklin at UFC 53; his last fight was a submission victory over Justin Levens in April 2006. Since then, Tanner has struggled with alcoholism, attempted to create a charity training center for troubled fighters that failed, worked to restore a sailboat that eventually sank, and had some possessions stolen from his Land Cruiser. Here’s hoping his future endeavors run a bit more smoothly…
You may have seen the raw footage of this floating around a week or so ago, but here’s the edited, minute-and-change version of Rich Franklin battling Wanderlei Silva in Rock/Paper/Scissors. The contest was a special exhibition bout that opened the 2008 Bud Light/USA Rock Paper Scissors League Championships — think “click-clack” for white hipsters — which went down June 21-22 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. How ’bout Franklin’s bitch-scream at 0:41? In a way, I think this video is very similar to how an actual fight between Franklin and Silva would go: Silva would come out strong in the first round, then Franklin would rally in the second before smashing Wandy’s scissors with a rock.
“Would it have changed the outcome?Maybe not. But this is about fighter safety. This isn’t just about Rich Franklin; it’s about Rich and every other fighter knowing the rules will be enforced, whether the fight is about to be stopped or not. … “There’s been no discussion about it.None. It’s a disappointing [sic]. The commissions, referees, fighters – everyone could have improved the safety of the sport by examining and discussing this situation. But because most people thought the outcome was a foregone conclusion, everyone conveniently ignored it."
That’s one assessment of the situation.The other is that, as illegal blows go, this is a bit of a gray area.
("When you put your focus on one thing, you tend not to focus on the journey. Once you get there, it’s not going to be as big of a deal as you thought it was going to be.")
This Saturday, Rich Franklin will step into the Octagon for the 18th time to face Forrest Griffin in the co-headlining feature of UFC 126. During his 12-year career, Ace has experienced everything from championship glory to bitter defeat, and now stands as one of the sport’s most revered statesmen. “I think that what people will remember me for is that I’m a tough competitor who’s put on entertaining fights for the fans all these years," Franklin tells CagePotato. "And I’m happy with that kind of legacy.”
Rich was generous enough to give us some phone-time recently, and instead of asking him about his gameplan for Forrest, we discussed Franklin’s career as a whole, from the moment he decided to pursue MMA as a full-time job, to the fight that changed his life, to every other notable moment that helped forge the fighter he is today. Let’s begin…
The Early Days, 1993-1999 Rich Franklin: “I started training in traditional martial arts in 1993, then I saw the first couple UFCs and started doing some jiu-jitsu. I was training at a Royce Gracie chapter here in Cincinnati, and the guy who was leading my class was a blue belt. By today’s standards, if the best you had in your area was a blue belt, you’d be way behind the times, but in 1994 it was a big deal to have that kind of a resource. So I was doing jiu-jitsu, working with kickboxing coaches, and of course I’d been watching the UFC, learning off instructional tapes and all those kinds of things.
I started fighting at these little local amateur shows out in Richmond, Indiana, and clearly at that point in time, I was just light-years ahead of the competition that was showing up at the event. The promoter told me, ‘These are amateur events, I don’t really have anybody for you to fight.’ But there was a gentleman there who said, ‘You know what, I run a pro show, and I’ll pay you to fight." And he offered me 200 bucks. I was like, ‘Wow, I can make money fighting? This is great. I’m gonna make 200 bucks." I was bankin’.
RICH FRANKLIN (5-0) vs. AARON BRINK (7-4) — Franklin’s first regional title fight IFC: Warriors Challenge 11, 1/13/01 Result: No contest due to accidental injury, after Brink’s leg slipped through the cage.
(Rich and some of his “fishing buddies” at the Cornhole Throwdown.)
According to his manager Monte Cox, former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin is considering a move back up to light-heavyweight, due to his defeats against Anderson Silva and because beating any remaining contenders in the UFC’s middleweight division would be bad for the league. Franklin competed at light-heavyweight for the first 19 matches of his 27-fight career, suffering only a single loss at 205 to Lyoto Machida in 2003. Said Cox:
“He’s fought almost everybody in the 185-pound division. There are some guys that he could fight, but if he beats them it knocks them out of title contention. And nobody is looking to see Rich and Anderson Silva 3 right now, including me…He’s not helping the 185-pound division right now by beating everybody up in it…We’ve talked about going to 205 and how would he match up with some of those guys, with a Forrest Griffin or a Keith Jardine. I think there’re some really good fights. There’s a whole bunch of 205′s that I think would be interesting.”
Agreed, for the most part. You wouldn’t want to put Franklin up against Michael Bisping, and have Ace knock off the last remaining marketable contender to Silva’s belt. But it would be a tragedy if Franklin left the 185-pound division before taking on Dan Henderson — though with few logical fights out there for Henderson as a middleweight, Hendo may eventually move back up to light-heavy as well, so who knows.
What’s more certain is the financial logic behind such a move. Just before his UFC 77 rematch with Anderson Silva, Franklin signed a six-fight deal that would pay him more than the $45,000 base salary he was previously bringing in, beginning with his next fight. Salary figures from UFC 83 haven’t been released, so we don’t know the exact figure at this point, but if Franklin’s per-fight salary is now approaching the six-figure mark, the UFC would want to put him in high-profile fights to draw more revenue from pay-per-view buys and live gate. Booking Franklin against Travis Lutter probably doesn’t represent the best return on investment, in other words. But with the UFC’s light-heavyweight division packed with stars, there are a lot of big-money matchups to be made at 205. Who wouldn’t want to see Ace take on the loser of Rampage/Forrest?
I just felt like posting a video of Rich Franklin actually winning a fight, so here y’go. Let’s not take anything away from the moment by pointing out that Ken was about eight years past his prime at this point, and couldn’t stay on his feet to save his life. That part at the 4:06 mark where he basically falls into Franklin’s fist? Genius.
(Rich Franklin vs. Ken Shamrock, TUF1 finale, 4/9/05)