Rich Franklin on Training Injury Epidemic: 'There's No Consistency'

(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Zuffa, LLC via Getty Images)

While the onslaught of training injuries which have caused a slew of fight fallouts over the past year have become a hot topic in the MMA world, for Rich Franklin, the notion is nothing new.

The former middleweight champion has been on all ends of the injury-replacement equation during the course of his UFC career.

Back at UFC 72 in 2007, his main event opponent, Martin Kampmann, had to pull out and was replaced by Yushin Okami.

Three years later, Tito Ortiz withdrew from his "Ultimate Fighter" coaches fight with Chuck Liddell, and Franklin took the UFC 115 main event on two weeks' notice. Franklin won that fight with a memorable knockout in the closing seconds of the first round.

Last summer, Franklin was scheduled to fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, but when a shoulder injury forced "Li'l Nog" out of the fight, Franklin was removed from the card.

And of course, there's his latest situation, in which he was moved from a planned UFC 148 bout with Cung Le to Saturday's UFC 147 main event rematch with Wanderlei Silva in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, due to Vitor Belfort's broken hand.

So the Cincinnati native knows better than most what it's like to prepare for one foe, only to have to plans change. The way he sees it, it's by and large a product of the sport itself.

"One of the problems we have in MMA that's different than any other sport ... there's no consistency with the camps," Franklin said at Thursday's UFC 147 press conference. "If you play American football for a team, you're surrounded by a team of professionals. But what I do in my camp is different than what Wanderlei does in his camp is different than what Mike [Russow] does in his camp."

With no central authority guiding the nation's major fight camps, Franklin says it's up to individual fighters and coaches to use intelligence as they prepare for the fights.

"The UFC doesn't have control over these things and what each individual fighter does in their training," he said. "It takes the maturity of each fighter and you have to be surrounded with good coaches to make sure that you're not going to get hurt. But like they said, still, accidents happen."

Franklin may as well be the model for smart training. At the age of 37, he has a nine-year UFC legacy that includes his middleweight title reign, 13 wins in 18 UFC fights, and the flexibility to headline at multiple weight classes.

While others of Franklin's age and experience have fallen from the top of the cards, he's still going strong, and he's willing able to take bouts like Saturday's main event on short notice.

"It's a great opportunity being here in Brazil, we're here to put on a great show," Franklin said at Wednesday's open workouts. "Most of the time, when you buy one of my fights, it's an exciting fight to watch. My first fight with Wanderlei was very exciting, and I don't see this as being anything short of that. This is going to be a very fun fight."

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