Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin confirmed Saturday that he is in talks about taking a job as Vice President of the Singapore-based ONE Fighting Championship promotion.
"I have been in talks with ONE FC about taking a job with them," Franklin wrote on his Facebook page Saturday morning. "They offered me a position as VP. I will be heading to ONE FC headquarters in the next few weeks to work out the details. I met with Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) at the end of last year and they gave me their blessing. I will keep you posted."
Franklin, 39, was one of the building block stars of the UFC as middleweight champion when the promotion first got on Spike TV. The former high school math teacher headlined the first nationally-televised live UFC fight card on April 9, 2005, scoring a first round stoppage of Ken Shamrock in 2:42, on a show far better remembered for the semifinal where Forrest Griffin beat Stephan Bonnar in one of UFC's all-time most famous fights.
In his next fight, on June 4, 2005, in Atlantic City, he stopped Evan Tanner in the fourth round to win the UFC middleweight title. He also coached the second season of The Ultimate Fighter, against Matt Hughes, which made him among the company's most popular fighters for the next several years. He made two successful title defenses before losing on October 14, 2006, in Las Vegas, to Anderson Silva.
Franklin, who has a 29-7 record with one no contest, hasn't fought since being knocked out by Cung Le on November 10, 2012. Over the last year, he had talked about doing one last fight as a retirement bout.
ONE FC, based in Kallang, Singapore, is the most successful major arena promotion outside of the UFC. The group has television deals with ESPN Star Sports in Asia, as well as television deals in Indonesia, Singapore, The Philippines, Cambodia and Malaysia.
The promotion ran seven live events last year, in Malaysia, Singapore and The Philippines, all at major arenas, including twice drawing crowds of approximately 16,000 fans at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines.
The promotion has a number of notable stars under contract including Ben Askren, Shinya Aoki and Bibiano Fernandes.