We were fortunate to catch up with 3-time UFC Champion Rich Franklin last week.  For those of you that do not know Rich, (get out of your cave for one), he is one of the more cerebral and kind men in the UFC.  Rich is a former high school teacher, he has a degree in mathematics and owns a ’67 Camaro and a tractor.  He  also competed in the toughest divisions in mixed martial arts, becoming champion three times, beating many of the toughest fighters in the world.

We are thrilled to sit down with Rich “Ace” Franklin.  Get in there!

TRM:  Hello Rich, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule for us.  We really appreciate it. You typically enter the ring with ACDC.  I heard that the UFC chose that song for you and you didn’t have any input, is that true?  How come you switched it to Guns-N-Roses for UFC 77?

RF:  I never really took the time to choose a music, because I didn’t believe it mattered to me. When I fought David Loiseau, Dana had chosen “For Those About To Rock” and it fired me up, so I stuck with it.  I used “Welcome To The Jungle” when I fought in Cincinnati, because we call Bengal stadium “The Jungle.” My t-shirt that night was Reds colors, and I deviated from my brown and pink to fight in Bengal colored shorts that night. It was a hometown thing.

TRM:  That’s great Rich.  As a three time UFC champion, who was one of your tougher opponents or hardest hitters that we might be surprised by?

RF:   I’m not sure you would be surprised by any of the “hardest hitters” I have fought.  Chuck feels like his hands are cinder blocks, Anderson hits with precision, Wanderlei is like a blender on high speed. I will say that the Jorge Rivera fight was the first time in my career where I felt like I had been through a war!

TRM:  Great answers Rich, that’s what it looks like from our perspective too.  Perfectly described.

Rich Franklin vs. Jorge Rivera UFC

TRM:  Did you learn anything as school teacher that you carried over to your training or MMA Career?

RF:   Patience! I couldn’t expect immediate results from struggling students when I was teaching math. Similarly, I couldn’t expect them from myself when training in my various martial arts. Things do not happen overnight.

TRM:  You have been one of the most traveled UFC Fighter, having fought in four countries in four consecutive fights, including fights in both Northern Island and Dublin.  How did you enjoy the experience in Ireland and what was different about your experience in Dublin vs. Belfast, if anything.

RF:  Fighting overseas, you really do not get to experience the country as if you were there on holiday. I do remember going to the wall that separates Northern from Southern Ireland. It helps you understand the magnitude of the problems there.

TRM:  I also have a mathematics degree and it drives me crazy at times creating weird habits.  Is there any aspect of having a mathematics degree that has helped or impacted your MMA Career?

RF:    My math degree helps me understand angles of the fight game, but more importantly the deductive reasoning skills really help. However, I have a tendency to overthink things.

TRM:  As a native of Cincinnati what are the teams you root for – Bengals?  Reds?  Buckeyes?

RF:    I think my loyalties are pretty clear after explaining the colors and song of my fight night in Cincy!

TRM:  Yes there are, that’s great! The Bengals are certainly off to a good start. Congratulations.

TRM:  What do you think of all this terrible news and odd reactions to domestic violence in the NFL?

RF:    You said it yourself…terrible news.

TRM:  As a practical non-flashy rugged male, we are curious what kind of car(s) you drive?

RF:   My daily driver is a Ford F-150 and I need it to pull my Kubota, but I love classic cars. I have a 67 Camaro and a 72 C-10 step sider pickup.

TRM:  We love classic cars too, just attended a rally last weekend.  What was your first car?

RF:   The first car I ever bought was a 1978 Mustang II.  It was the bastard years of Mustang when they made lousy cars. It was a white 4-cylinder with a baby blue interior.  I was working as a cook at McDonald’s when I bought it from a deaf guy. I went to his home and we had to negotiate by writing on paper.  I bought the car for $153.  It was $153 because he had a case of oil in the trunk that he wanted three bucks for.

TRM:  Great story, thanks for sharing Rich.

Rich-Franklin-UFC-Camaro

TRM:  You do a lot of work with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV.org), how did you get hooked up with them?

RF:   They are a greater Cincinnati based organization. One of the gentlemen working for the DAV grappled at JG MMA where I train. When we got to know each other, it was a good fit.

TRM:  Is there any significance to the color pink you often wear in the ring ?

RF:  I wanted to wear pink because it differentiates me. Nobody else did that, and now I see other fighters do it. I find it flattering.

TRM:  Rickey Henderson, the MLB Hall of Famer always said he was able to play that long because he slept well.  This is something that you coach as part of physical training.  Care to comment on that for our readers?

RF:  People watch the movie Rocky and think fighters live like he did…waking up before the sun and drinking raw eggs. I very rarely wake up to an alarm. I believe in allowing the body to wake up on its own. I sleep 7.5 hours every night, and nap for an hour each day when I am in fight camp. Your hormone levels, particularly those associate with healing and recovery are at their peak levels while sleeping. It is necessary if you want to optimize performance.

Rich-franklin-UFC-Fighter

TRM:  Do you have any pre-fight rituals or certain meals you eat or restaurants leading up to a fight?

RF:  I probably do the least rugged male thing possible. I like to clean my hotel room before I leave for the arena. It is like putting a close to that portion of the week.

TRM:  That could be the math degree in you, I do that shit all the time. Great pre-fight ritual!  Complete one challenge, onto the next!

TRM:  What about favorite places to get dinner in Vegas or Cincinnati?

RF:  I am a sushi junkie. There is a little dive called Sushi Monk in Cincinnati that I frequent, and have become good friend with the owners. It is the best sushi in Cincinnati. I don’t have a favorite place in Vegas, but one of the best meals I have had there was at Cut Steakhouse. Being from the Midwest, I appreciate a good steak.

TRM:  What happened and what did you learn about the opening of your Zelin juice store in Beverly Hills earlier this year?   We look forward to seeing it in grocery stores.

RF:  My business partner and I have an amazing idea on improving shelf life of cold pressed juices without preservatives. When I accepted my job offer for One FC, I did not have the time to oversee the store. My business partner is pursuing the testing we need to go through, so we decided to cut the store from the business plan for bigger things.

TRM:  Makes sense. Let us know when Zelin launches, we would be happy to help spread the good word.

TRM:  You are now transitioning to the business side of MMA, as Vice President of ONE FC in Singapore.  With one more fight left on your contract in UFC, (I believe), will we see you in 2015 in the octagon?

RF:  It is possible, but I am finding that I am having trouble juggling all my responsibilities. Between One FC, ZeLin and miscellaneous business I do. I would need to shuffle things.

TRM:  Well we all think you have a few more fights left in the tank,  but really happy to hear you are preparing for life after fighting. We wish you all the best in those endeavors.

TRM:  Do you have any parting advice for the young men who follow our site about changing careers to pursue something they love and hopefully are good at doing?

RF:    There is an amazing quote by Theodore Roosevelt that I live by. Readers feel free to search “It is not the critic who counts.”  The end reads, “who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

TRM:  Really awesome Rich, thanks for sharing.

TRM:  OK Rich, one last question and its a tough one – Jennifer Marlowe or Bailey Quarters? 

RF:   This is like “Ginger or Mary Ann” but with a Cincinnati twist. I’m usually more attracted to brunettes, and Bailee looks more like the kind of gal who doesn’t mind getting a little muddy. That’s more my type.

TRM:  You are a champion in every sense of the word and a role model for all rugged males.  We really appreciate your time and I know our readers do too.  Keep fighting the good fight Rich!

Rich Franklin

Thanks For Reading!