Rich “Ace” Franklin (28-5) was the star of this past Saturday’s UFC 115 event that was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Franklin persevered through a broken arm to defeat UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell (21-8) via first round knockout.
According to Rich, he knew almost immediately when the damage was done but do not expect any quit out of Franklin.
“First off all, thank you to my team. Jorge Gurgel, because he organized my whole camp, Rob Radford, Neil Rowe, Dustin Hazelett, Chris Mirzrak, Taylor Ruscin, Rob Nickerson, and Matt Hume. These guys helped me on a continous basis," Franklin then explained the injury and how soon he knew.
“It was one of the kicks and it was about two minutes into the round. I don’t know if I knew right away but I knew within the next ten seconds. I would trade a broken arm for a victory any day and now is a good time for me, I won my fight, I beat a big name fighter, and I have a broken arm but I still have one arm that’s not broken.”
The broken arm is not the first time that Franklin has continued to fight while injured. Against David Loiseau at UFC 58, he sustained a broken hand and continued to fight throughout the duration of the five round title fight.
Franklin went on to dominate all five rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory. When asked if he was in a similar position and mindset in both fights, Rich explained.
“It was basically the same thing but I think this broken arm is worse than a broken hand. With the Loiseau fight I knew I was going to finish the fight but with the broken arm I wasn’t sure. I knew I was going to try to finish it but I didn’t know if I was going to be able too.”
One thing worth noting is that the Franklin is comfortable fighting from both southpaw and conventional. The strike that dropped Liddell was a right hand, which is the lead hand for a southpaw. Listening to Rich tell it, he is comfortable either way.
“I first started out in traditional karate and in traditional karate you’re always switching your stance. At some point in time when I was fighting early in my career I decided that I was much better as a southpaw than I was a conventional fighter so I decided to stick with that.”
The decision has obviously paid off, 53 percent of his victories have come via TKO. His story is one of the best in sports, he had graduated college and began teaching. Being a professional mixed martial artist had not crossed his mind at that point.
An athlete his whole life, Franklin then decided to fill the athletic void that had been left unfilled after no longer playing the sport he loved in high school.
“I played football my whole life and I wanted to go to college to play football but I just didn’t have the god given strength, speed, or size to play college ball that you need. Every boy in this world dreams about being some sort of a professional athlete, no matter what sport their in. I dreamed about being a being a professional football player, I stuck with football all the way through my senior year. After my senior year, I realized that I wasn’t going to be playing ball and I needed to do something to fill that athletic void,” Rich said.
“I got into martial arts and started with traditional karate and it kind of turned into mixed martial arts because the UFC came on the scene at about that point in time. I never in my life set out to be a professional mixed martial artist but I was determined to be a professional athlete and God blessed me with a talent for fighting. I’m not a great boxer, I’m not a great wrestler, but when you mesh them all together I’m really good.”
In addition to being an elite fighter in the sport, he also co-owns apparel brand American Fighter. Since beginning his career Franklin has been the world middleweight champion, defeated legends of the sport (Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell), competed around the world, became a huge name in the sport, and he exemplifies the word American Fighter.
American Fighter was formed between Franklin and friend Jeff Adler. So, you may wonder when was the company formed and how did the two Cincinnati, Ohio residents formulate the name American Fighter.
“I think Jeff (Adler) and I came up with the name collaboratively. When we came up with the name we didn’t realize the impact that the name American Fighter would have. People associate everything to it. From, the single mom that is having trouble raising her kids to the American military personnel that are overseas. Everyday you wake up you’re fighting for something. So, it’s just one of those names that has really taken a whole new meaning since we came up with the name itself.”
A true American Fighter himself, Franklin works with the disabled American vets to help give back to the men and women that are fighting each day so that we can live normal lives.
“I do a lot of hospital visits, been to the center for the intrepid, I was down there and got my butt kicked in some dodgeball when I was down there playing with the vets. I just spend time going place to place meeting people and most of the time I’m trying to bring up their moral. We do a lot of fund-raising and help bring awareness to the disabled American vets,” Franklin continued by saying.
“Military is one of the biggest supporters of MMA in general. I understand that I have a huge fan base with them and because what they do for us I just feel like I should give back. I feel the need to give back to the military personnel that are overseas doing what they do for us. It’s the least that I could do.”
Rich Franklin exemplifies the word American Fighter and is a true champion that anyone would be proud to associate themselves with.