Former UFC middleweight champion Rich "Ace" Franklin is currently in talks with Singapore-based MMA promotion One FC in regards to becoming the promotion's vice president. There were conflicting reports Saturday morning regarding whether or not he had actually already put pen to paper, but Franklin took to Facebook to clear the air:
I have been in talks with ONE FC about taking a job with them. They offered me a position as VP. 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.
It's a surprising development for one of the best middleweights of all time. Franklin is still signed with the UFC as a fighter, and he discussed his desire to complete his UFC contract, which has one fight remaining, in February with MMA Junkie. However, he turned down a bout with former Pride light heavyweight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to focus on maintaining his recently opened juice bar in Beverly Hills.
Rich Franklin was recently offered a fight against Lil' Nog, but turned it down due to his growing biz. No word if he will ever fight again.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 19, 2014
Franklin has been nothing but open in regards to his financial situation, and has discussed how his business venture is largely due to his inability to retire, in spite of a lengthy, successful UFC career. Picking up a new, steady paycheck from a budding MMA promotion would obviously help him in that regard.
For One FC, Franklin is a great choice for a high-profile hire, who actually has close ties to Asian MMA. "Ace" has close ties to prominent Singapore gym Evolve MMA and trained there for his bout with Cung Le. He also previously worked alongside the promotion at the One FC Asian MMA Summit in 2013.
This is also the latest big boardroom hire for One FC, which scooped up Azhar Muhammad-Saul, former head of Bloomberg Asia-Pacific Enterprises, and former UEFA Champion's League broadcasting bigwig Patrick Murphy.
While Franklin's spot with the promotion isn't yet official, look for the deal to be sealed in the coming weeks.