ORLANDO – Former middleweight champion Rich Franklin still has one fight left on his UFC contract, but whether he fights again or not remains to be seen. Especially now since he announced that he's currently entertaining a position with the Singapore-based promotion ONE FC as its Vice President.
"I have been in talks with ONE FC about taking a job with them," he posted on his Facebook page. "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."
At Saturday night's UFC on FOX 11 post-fight scrum, Dana White was asked if Franklin bolting the UFC to become the face of another organization means that he's not going to fight anymore.
"He's still under contract to fight, if he ever wanted to fight," White said. "You know, we have a good relationship with Rich. Rich got offered a really good opportunity to go work with those guys and I'm happy for him.
"There's nothing wrong if you come and ask and say...hey listen, how can be upset with a guy for trying to better his life or taking a great opportunity somewhere? You can't. It's the sneaky guys that lie to your face and all that stuff."
Franklin, who has been jokingly called a "company man" for his agreeable attitude in helping the UFC when needed, last appeared in the Octagon in November 2012 against Cung Le in Macau. He was knocked out in the first round of that bout, and has yet to return. Since the loss, Franklin has launched an organic juice bar business called Ze/Lin, which he has says consumes most of his time and prevents him from training properly. At this point, the 39-year old former champion may be segueing out of active fighting, though he hasn't officially announced his retirement.
Asked if Franklin would still be able to compete in the UFC if/when he takes the post with ONE FC, White said he didn't see why not.
"I don't know, it's not like if he takes this job that's it, we'll never have him fight in the UFC again," he said. "If he came back and wanted to fight he's still under contract with us, and he hasn't officially retired. Rich is out there making some moves. He started a business, he's got this business that he's running and he's putting all his time, effort and money into it, but he needs another source of income for more money to come in. So these guys gave him a huge opportunity and he's going to take it."