EXCLUSIVE | Rich Franklin on Fighting Le, China, Movies, and More
Rich Franklin takes on Cung Le on November 10th in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 6 also known as UFC MACAO. This event will be the UFC’s first event in greater China and is set to take place at the CotaiArena. The fight was in question for a time. Rumors of a Cung Le injury surfaced and at one point when I texted Rich and said congratulations that the fight was on, he told me I was the one breaking the news to him. With the uncertainty behind him now it’s full speed ahead.
“The fight is still on”, said Rich. “That was at a time that the UFC hadn’t called me and talked about it so nothing was confirmed. We actually went about a month ago and did some P.R. in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taipei. Those are the places I went. Cung went to a few other places, but we did like a week and a half of public relations while we were there. At this point and time the UFC would have invested a lot of money in to making this fight happen”.
China is a hotbed of traditional martial arts, but the question that remains is how they will receive the UFC’s brand of mixed martial arts. Rich was positive that things would go well.
“It was good. The reception was really good, Franklin said. “They played a lot off of that area being sort of the birthplace of martial arts and all of that kind of stuff. The society as a whole, the people there, they understand martial arts. They may not understand mixed martial arts, but they do understand martial arts. They understand a lot about Olympic combatives like boxing, wrestling, and judo. Taekwondo especially in that area. We related MMA to Chinese boxing and martial arts that people understand. It’s just a matter of them basically understanding the concept that the fight is standing and it can go to the ground. We just continued to go from there and I think the sport will be received very well. I would anticipate a sold out crowd. The venue there is about the same size as the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas”.
Always known for being a nice guy this time proved no different.
“When we did the P.R. for the UFC like I said I did Hong Kong, Macau, and Taipei. I know that Cung had gone to places of his own. This fight with Cung, as usual I don’t have to be fighting someone I don’t like to put on a good show. It doesn’t stop me from doing that kind of stuff”, stated Rich.
Rich took it even further.
“Cung and I spent a week together in Hong Kong and Macao. Pretty much he’s being trained by a guy that trained with me. Most days we had breakfast together and we were running around the whole week together. Hanging out the nights we were doing the P.R. stuff. It’s kind of funny because this whole week in Hong Kong chumming around like buddies”.
Some have stated that the event is being held in an area where support for Le would far outweigh what Franklin will receive. Rich disagrees.
“I don’t think Cung has a home field advantage like some would think”, Franklin said. “He’s not Chinese first of all, he’s Vietnamese and this is in Macao, a district of China. I’ll leave for Singapore here in a few weeks and we’re all on the same time zone. Realistically, the destination of the fight is somewhat arbitrary. Even if he did have an advantage that stuff doesn’t seem to bother me if my last fight wasn’t a good judge of that. I don’t know what else would be a good indicator”.
Before Rich stepped in to face Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147 when Vitor Belfort was injured during training, he was preparing to fight Cung Le in Singapore. With the Le fight being rock solid he will again take the same route in preparations.
“This time I will do it in reverse order. I will spend the bulk of my camp here”, Rich said. “I’ll spend two weeks in Singapore and then a week in Macao. Then my wife Beth and I will hop on a plane with some of my corner men and see the great wall and I’ll be gone about a month. Spend two weeks in Macau and finish up there. We’ll be following pretty much the same game plan that we followed last time. I’ll be taking Neal my kickboxing coach with me down to Macao. Unfortunately Rob Radford has been in and out of town for a camp. He was in Bautista’s corner. We’ll go down there and work on kind of what we started working on at home. We’ll let Evolve put their spin on things. I’ll work with the same guys I worked with last time and kind of mix things up a little bit”.
Fighting has never been the only outlet for Franklin. He continues to appear in films when his schedule permits.
“I shot a film recently. I was basically on set for a day. It’s a small budget comedy called “Mantervention”, stated Franklin. “It’s about a guy who broke up with his girlfriend and basically he needs an intervention with his guy friends so it’s a “mantervention”. I play an MMA coach in the movie. Apparently the main character at one point in time, well not apparently I read the script, apparently he trained in an MMA gym and quit coming because of his girl. They broke up and his buddy brings him back to the gym and it’s a funny little scene. I shot this several weeks before I actually started this training camp”.
Something that is no secret to MMA fans is Rich’s passion for nutrition. He has even gone as far as to create a now popular website to be a public resource for health and nutrition information.
“Ace’s Way is one of my passions, Rich said. “In my free time I have been putting a lot of time in to this nutritional website. It’s Acesway.com and basically the proper mindset is losing weight. A lot of the articles are not geared for the athlete per say. I think it helps the average person looking to lose a little weight or a significant amount, too. I have gotten great reception on my Twitter (@RichFranklin). People tell me that they have been reading the articles and people have honestly been losing weight because of what they are reading and the advice I have been given. I’m having a lot of good success with this website”.
At the end of the day Rich’s fight with Cung Le is just that, a fight. Friendship aside they will engage in combat, but Franklin knows the eventual outcome already.
“Of course come November 10th we’re going to be throwing punches at each other’s faces, Franklin said. “Before the night’s over he and I are probably going to go grab some Krispy Kreme or something like that if we can find them in the casino”.