I met Rich Franklin before his fight with Ken Shamrock back in 2005. Since then we have kept in contact and if there was any doubt by anyone as to what kind of human being he is let me assure you he’s even nicer behind the scenes. That means he’s super nice in front of the cameras and super duper nice behind them. Trust me he’s a really nice guy.
Did I say ‘nice’ enough? …Nice.
Rich is currently an executive for the ONE organization and has taken to the role like a fish to water. Even so that doesn’t stop him from being asked if the organization would allow him to step away for a short period for that one last fight – especially now that former foe Vitor Belfort has signed.
The Belfort fight was the first one that Rich told me his heart wasn’t truly in. He was asked to step in and save the event and like a true company man he did. Franklin would lose the catchweight bout in the first round but he kept his head up and focused on moving forward.
Here’s what he told MMAFighting about that potential rematch with Belfort:
The more I entertain this conversation, the more it’s going to start a whole bunch of chatter. But everybody has talked about that with me being an executive with ONE and him being a fighter now in the organization.
If the stars align. anything is possible.
Fair enough BUT he went on to say a rematch with the Brazilian let alone a return to MMA is “not impossible, but improbable.”
He did discuss how a return might go with his persona not necessarily matching the bus attacking, cage leaping, and post-fight brawling era of today.
I would have had to conduct myself in a different manner. I look at times when I could have done quote-unquote trash talk. And there’s a respectful way to create hype around a match. You don’t have to be disrespectful to people. You don’t have to talk about their families or be blatantly rude or whatever, shoving people on stage. There are ways to create hype around a match. I would have to reassess how I would market myself, I guess.
Let me just say to those hoping for a return. Rich doesn’t beat around the bush so if he was thinking about it he would make it clearly known to fans. He will most likely not climb back in to a cage again unless it’s something that doesn’t require taping his hands.