(‘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)
Remember that rumor about Rich Franklin fighting Travis Lutter at UFC 82? Well, according to Franklin himself, it ain’t true. From a post on RichFranklin.com:
I am told there are rumors of me fighting multiple people in March. I have not signed for a fight in March. I don’t believe that I am allowed to fight more than once in a night. I hope this clears up any confusion. I have not signed to fight anyone in March, or any other month.
Bummer! It sounds like Franklin isn’t even thinking about his fight career until filming wraps on Weapon. As an expression of our disappointment, here’s Ace getting knocked out by Lyoto Machida, who faces (and will probably be beaten by) Rameau Sokoudjou at UFC 79:
The Fight Network reports that Rich Franklin is looking to make his Octagon return at the UFC’s April 19th event in Montreal. His opponent will be TUF4 middleweight winner Travis Lutter; it was first rumored that Franklin would face Lutter at UFC 82, but recent knee surgery forced Franklin to postpone the match. Both men are coming off of losses to Anderson Silva.
Echoing a previous claim, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has revealed to GracieMag.com that he will also be fighting in Montreal, against a yet-unnamed opponent. The Chute Boxe defector has decided to stay in Curitiba, Brazil, and form a new gym with ex-teammate Andre Dida called Universidade da Luta (Fight University).
A week or so ago, when we noted that nearly every claim made in the official UFC 126 trailer was at least debatable (if not an out-and-out lie), the one fight saved from our incredulity was Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin. Maybe that’s because the best hype the UFC could drum up for this bout was to have its voiceover guy dramatically bellow, “Former champions Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin will battle it out!” Yep, that feels … accurate. But if, like us, you think this meeting between two old warhorses lacks a certain sizzle, you’re not alone. Even the fighters themselves appear to understand this fight needs a little something extra to get people really emotionally invested.
And so Griffin, that mischievous little imp, would like to propose a gentleman’s wager on the outcome of this scrap: Loser gets tattooed. A bemused Franklin – who from the looks of this vid has spent the last seven months since his victory over Chuck Liddell making sure that lifetime membership at the tanning salon pays for itself – seems oddly cool with the idea. He suggests the loser must get inked-up with a picture of the winner, which to us is a truly inspired idea. Unless you guys have any other suggestions.
As much as Anderson Silva used to enjoy kicking the absolute dogshit out of Rich Franklin, it was clear that the Spider respected the hell out of Ace. After his UFC 82 title fight against Dan Henderson, Silva told the Columbus crowd something along the lines of "it feels good to win, but there’s only one true middleweight champion, and that’s Rich Franklin," which struck me as both incredibly humble, and kind of insulting to Dan Henderson, who was standing right next to him at the time. So I guess this recent blurb from the Dayton Daily News shouldn’t be all that surprising:
Behold, a first look at Rich Franklin in the much-anticipated action film Cyborg Soldier. As near as I can figure, the film is about a cyborg soldier who has to help Kelly Kapowski save Zach Morris from the evil Mr. Belding, who is also a cyborg.
Unfortunately, the trailer only shows us brief glimpses of Ace’s acting skillz, but based on those glimpses I think it’s fair to say that he won’t be abandoning the fight game to do Henry V any time soon. It doesn’t help to play opposite Kelly Kapowski, who as we all know is one of the great talents of our time, nor does it help to play a cyborg, which is a tough, tough role. And how does Rich communicate his cyborgness in this film? By keeping his movements stilted and his face expressionless. Acting!
The DVD drops on October 7, and we’ll be the ones sleeping on the loading dock at Wal-Mart so we can be the first to get a copy. Rumor has it that the sequel, coming out in the spring, co-stars Anderson Silva and is entitled “Death of Cyborg Soldier.”
Despite several unsubstantiated reports stating otherwise, a rumored match-up between former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin and former number one UFC middleweight contender Patrick Cote at UFC 113 (May 1st, Montreal) is not happening according to both Franklin’s longtime manager Monte Cox and “The Predator."
Cox told Cage Potato yesterday that Franklin plans to stay at light heavyweight when he returns to action following an estimated 6-8 week recovery from a hernia surgery that the Cincinnati, Ohio native has scheduled for next week, and that they have not been offered a fight on the May 1 card.
Responding to the rumor, which was propagated by a posting on The Fight Network website, Cote said he was as surprised as anyone to hear the fight was a go:
Judging by the announcement on the UFC website, the official justification for this move is that the first fight was so close it “split the mixed martial arts community,” which is true to the extent that it is with any close fight (Akiyama-Belcher, Hardy-Davis, Franklin-Wanderlei) but it’s not as if a passionate mob of fans has been clamoring for a rematch since the first fight went down.
The Vietnamese-born Le came out of his last victory with a “pretty banged up [knee],” which is keeping him out of the gym for four-to-six weeks, but he’s expected to be ready by the November date. No word yet on if the fight would take place at middleweight or at a catchweight; Franklin hasn’t competed at 185 since April 2008.
The promotion now finds itself in the exact position it was in only days ago when an injury to Phil Davis sent them scrambling to find a suitable light heavyweight replacement for their main event bout. It was slim pickings at that time, with Machida attempting to ransom off his services for “Anderson Silva money” and Tito taking the fight after initially turning it down. They now have three weeks to sign a replacement or remove Franklin from the card.
Machida’s reasons for turning down the Evans bout—namely short notice and the need to relocate his entire training camp to the US—have only been exacerbated at this point with even fewer days on the calendar. Of course, maybe he’s willing to suck it up after Dana was vocal about his feelings on the matter. Middleweights Chris Leben and Chael Sonnen had also volunteered their services, but Sonnen now has a dance partner. Could we see “The Crippler” make the jump to 205lbs to take a swing at another legend?
Another fight that has been discussed internally is Chuck Liddell facing Rich Franklin. Dana White has seemingly accepted the idea that Chuck is going to want another fight, and he would much rather have Liddell inside the UFC cage than to have him go and be a huge drawing card for Strikeforce or Affliction.
Right off let’s get one thing straight: I don’t want to see Rich Franklin retire. I like Rich Franklin. His wacky personal views aside, he seems like a good guy and an exciting fighter. I’m not trying to hustle him into retirement, though I see how it might seem that way. Here’s what I wrote in yesterday’s Si.com article:
Franklin, who moves up in weight in an attempt to revitalize his career as a 205-pounder, made the best choice. If he can’t beat Matt Hamill on Saturday, though, that glimmer of hope will also fade, leaving him with a choice between retirement and a steady fall from mediocrity. Neither road is appealing, but at least one is more dignified.
All right, that sounds like I am totally trying to hustle Franklin into retirement. Perhaps I should have phrased it more delicately. Our reactionary Canadian friends at Fightlinker think so, and I see at least part of their point.
For the record, I expect Franklin to beat Hamill. He expects the same thing, or at least that’s what it sounded like when he described Hamill as a good first match-up in the division because he is “not one of the top 10 205-pound fighters.”
If he wins, there’s certainly no reason for him to consider retirement. Even if he gets held down for three rounds, he can still chalk it up to a bad style match-up and make a lateral move in the division for his next bout. But there’s another question at the heart of this. What happens when a fighter goes from great to good? If you aren’t moving up, are you necessarily headed down?
I look at my Twitter and a lot of people talk about (Michael) Bisping. That would be an exciting fight and something the fans would want to see. I’m an exciting fighter, he’s an exciting fighter, and we both like to throw down. Since my ultimate goal is not to go back and capture the 185-pound title, it doesn’t really matter to me if it’s at 185 or a catchweight or 205. Wherever the UFC needed me, I would fight, as long as the fight made sense.
While this matchup does possess some novelty value and the potential to secure an end-of-the-night bonus at the very least (not unlike Franklin’s pairing against Forrest Griffin at UFC 126), it would also represent a significant regression in the title aspirations of Bisping. Considering Franklin has no intentions of fighting for a title in the future, let alone the one controlled by the incubusof his neverending nightmares, agreeing to the fight would in its own way represent a Michael Bisping who has potentially reached the same realization. Which would be kind of sad, because honestly, a humbled Bisping is a boring Bisping.
Then again, if we’ve learned anything in the past few months, it’s that wins are wins regardless of weight class. If Bisping were to accept the fight, he might do so under the belief that a win over a post-prime but still dangerous legend like Franklin would do more for his career than a win over the likes of say, another Alan Belcher. In either case, would you be interested in seeing this fight come to fruition?
Vote in our poll after the jump and make your case in the comments section.
“Lunch or Dinner: $1,000 Invite Rich to join you and your guests for lunch or dinner. You choose the restaurant and you choose what you want to talk about. Ask Rich questions about his career as a professional mixed martial artist. (Up to 2 hours)”
Man, I really want to start a Kickstarter account just so I can take Rich to Arby’s and talk about Anderson Silva‘s career for two hours. Does that make me a terrible person? I don’t know. But if I’m shelling out a friggin’ thousand bucks, I want to make sure my guest of honor is having as bad a time as possible.
(Awww, looks like Cindy got into momma’s makeup drawer!)
When it comes to finding replacements for UFC 133‘s increasingly cursed lineup, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva has clearly reached the “eff this noise, I’ll be at the bar” stage of the process. The latest update is that Rich Franklin has been removed from the card entirely, after his original opponent Antonio Rogerio Nogueira went down with a shoulder injury this weekend. For the record, King Mo twitter-offered to step up against Ace — a compelling possibility in its own weird way — but the UFC ignored his ass. Anyway, it’s a real shame. All those ice baths for nothing.
As a result, Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama is now the co-main event of “Evans vs. Ortiz II”, and Brian Ebersole vs. Dennis Hallman has been promoted to the main PPV card. (Yeah, you still have to pay for this one. Sorry.)
(What has one pinky and one thumb up and wants a title shot? This guy!)
Speaking exclusively with CagePotato.com on Thursday afternoon, Rich Franklin revealed that his days as a middleweight in the UFC are likely numbered and that he is planning on making the best of his new permanent home at light heavyweight by working towards a title shot in his final five fights on his contract.
According to the former UFC middleweight champ, the decision to abandon the weight class he once reigned over in the Octagon was not entirely a personal one.
"The UFC has repeatedly told me that they aren’t interested in seeing me fight at 185 any more. Because of that, I moved up to 205. It all comes down to the fact that they didn’t want to do a Franklin-Silva III," Franklin explains. "I’m a ‘never say never’ type of guy, but the problem is that if the UFC doesn’t want to see me do a title match at 185, ultimately I would be stuck fighting in that weight class without ever being able to fight for a title again, which would make no sense since that is the whole reason we do this and the goal we work towards as fighters."
This weekend, the UFC will be making its first ever trip to China, which totally explains why they decided to stack a garbage ass card with Japanese fighters and put a Vietnamese guy in the main event, because close enough, right kids?
All kidding and racially misguided motivations aside, we will be in for a hell of a fight when Rich Franklin and Cung Le throw down this Saturday. Both men are known for turning in crowd-pleasing performances each and every time they step into the octagon — thanks in part to Rich’s fearless demeanor and Cung’s Cirque du Soleil-esque kicking ability — and both have gone win-loss in their last four fights. It’s not exactly a must win for either of these company men, but with Franklin currently standing at around a -300 favorite heading into fight night, we figured we would take a look at just how well these two match up, Head to Head style. Enjoy.
Franklin lost the fight by unanimous decision, and we quickly forgot about this silly business — except Franklin didn’t. An MMAFighting report came out Friday claiming that Ace had actually visited a tattoo shop to honor the bet that nobody thought was real. Responding to the news, Griffin said:
(I’ll take “Injuries that make me reconsider my line of work” for a thousand, Alex.)
Good morning, Potato Nation. As we’re all still nursing hangovers from this weekend’s festivities and trying to cope with the fact that there will be no more The Walking Dead until next fall, let’s start the day off with a bit of light reading.
What’s that, you say? Rich Franklin is also a movie star and Cung Le could probably teach math? Well, there’s no room for that kind of intolerance around here, especially not this early in the morning, so we suggest you pull your heads out of your collective asses. Besides, Rich Franklin is definitely not a movie star.
This will be Franklin’s first fight at middleweight since April of 2008, when he dispatched TUF 4 winner Travis Lutter via second round TKO back at UFC 83. In fact, it’s been a while since we’ve seen “Ace” in the octagon at all. After dropping a unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin at UFC 126, Franklin was expected to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueria at UFC 133. The bout was cancelled, however, after Nogueria suffered a last minute injury, and a subsequent shoulder injury forced Franklin into surgery in October.
Cung Le appeared to be destined for victory in his UFC debut match against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 139 last November, picking apart the former PRIDE middleweight champ with his patented arsenal of San Shou kicks throughout the first round. But as in his fight with Scott Smith at Strikeforce: Evolution, Le would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, eating one knee too many in the second round and dropping his second career loss to “The Axe Murderer” in the second round of their co-headlining scrap. Also similar to the Smith fight would be the horrific nose injury that Le would walk away with.
(It’s a bad day to be a focus mitt. Photo courtesy of our friends at Fight! Magazine.)
I met Wanderlei Silva for an interview in his new gym in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, and to my surprise he showed up only a half-hour late. He was sporting one hell of a black eye from a recent training session, but despite his busy schedule the always-gregarious Wanderlei was kind enough to give me a little of his time to talk about his upcoming bout with Rich Franklin at UFC 99 on Saturday, his thoughts on the rivalry and proposed bet with former friend Anderson Silva, as well as what he thinks about Dana White threatening to “pull the trigger” on him like he did to Chuck Liddell. Enjoy.
CagePotato.com: Thanks for talking with me Wanderlei. Looks like you have a pretty nice shiner there.
Yes, I was training with one of my partners here the other day and, you know, the fight is never like the training but I try to train like the fight. The last two movements he hit me in each of my eyes. It was the last few seconds even, and now I have this. He got me and time was up before I could get him, but next week…(laughs)
What do you think of Rich Franklin as a fighter?
He’s a very professional guy. Every guy who comes to fight me, they are going to train hard and train more. This is real. Because of this I know I need to train more too. I train every day, two or three times a day. So I will be ready too.
And what do you think of him training with Anderson Silva before his fight with you?