Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin is close to his official retirement from fighting in order to take up a position as ONE FC Vice President. The 39 year old posted the following message on Facebook earlier today in response to rapidly circulating rumors about his new role.
Franklin has previously appeared as a speaker at the 2013 ONE Asia Summit which was organized by ONE FC and has close relations with CEO Victor Cui, and Vice President of Operations and Strategy, Matt Hume, who was his longtime trainer during his fighting career.
Franklin will retire from MMA with a competitive record of 29-7-0-1. Toward the tail end of his career "Ace" alternated between wins and losses and is coming off a TKO defeat at the hands of Cung Le at UFC on Fuel TV 6 in November, 2012.
Muhammad Saul recently left a senior position at Bloomberg to become the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at ONE FC and earlier this year, the Singapore-based promotion brought in Patrick Murphy, who is best known for dramatically increasing the revenue of the UEFA Champion's League, in order to expand its TV footprint.
To date, ONE FC has held 14 event in four different countries with two more booked for the month of May and has signed big name fighters like Bibiano Fernandes, Shinya Aoki and most recently, Ben Askren. It is clear that Cui is also intent on acquiring talent outside of the cage by adding experienced industry insiders to his team.
Franklin's new position is expected to be confirmed at an upcoming press conference in Singapore with further details about ONE FC's 2014 schedule also likely to be announced in the next few weeks.