UFC's Rich Franklin Speaks out
The consummate professional, Rich "Ace" Franklin has experienced both the highs and lows of the mixed martial arts spectrum.
Once coveted as one of the pound-for-pound best, Franklin held the UFC middleweight title when he defeated the late and great Evan Tanner at UFC 53 in June of 2005.
Subsequent title defenses over the likes of The Ultimate Fighter season one veteran Nate Quarry, and perennial contender David "The Crow" Loiseau, anchored Franklin's legacy.
However, his title reign came to a screeching halt when middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva came into the fray, defeating the former math teacher on two separate occasions, ousting Franklin from the division he once ruled.
A move to the light heavyweight division followed, with Franklin having alternated wins and losses since September of 2008, albeit against top flight competition.
In his last outing, the 37-year-old former world champion lost a decision to the towering Forrest Griffin at UFC 126. Franklin was later scheduled for a bout against Pride veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 133 this past August, though a subsequent injury sidelined the Brazilian from the event.
UFC president Dana White went on record stating he offered Franklin several replacements, including budding contender Alexander Gustafsson, though "Ace" declined those bouts in favor for a notable "marquee" fight with a big name opponent.
Franklin has since made it a point to clear his name once and for all, holding nothing back about how he feels about the upper echelon of UFC execs.
"I listened to the interview that you did with Dana, and was a bit disappointed...I'll be honest with you, I was a bit disappointed listening to that, because the tone of the interview between you and Dana almost sounded like that", began Franklin.
"I thought, first of all, I've never ducked any other opponent in my life."
Not only has Franklin's trust been violated, but that sense of camaraderie he once felt with the organization he served under for the past eight years, is now gone.
"That feeling of family, it's dissipated a little bit," said Franklin.
"It's not the same as it used to be when I first starting fighting for the UFC, and I basically told Lorenzo (Fertitta—co-owner of the UFC) that. I said, 'Hey, I feel like sometimes you guys don't really have my back,' and he told me that they'd been really busy with the FOX deal and all that kind of stuff."
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