Franklin (25-4-0) once sat high in the UFC castle. His thrown was admired by most and his reign was a good
one. Since the fighter lost twice
to Anderson Silva, he no longer sits with a spot light. Although no fighter wants to lose, I
think losses like his can humbly recreate their character and skill set. Franklin is scheduled to fight Vitor
Belfort (18-8-0) in September of this year in Dallas. Some are surprised that it will be at 195 pounds.
Franklin's last three years have been ridden with a 33% loss (Winning 6 of his
9 fight in 3 years), Belfort will meet him at UFC 103 having won 5 of his last
7 fight since 2006. So they seem
like they are both in a good place to meet eachother and their skill sets are
comparable. Both fighters have
strong stand up skills and several great knock outs on their highlight
reel. But Franklin at 195 pounds
is a good place for him, considering he walks comfortably during his training
at 205 until it is time to make weight.
Franklin despite his career strains over the last three years, has managed to
stay focused on the big picture as well - Business! As a co-Owner of American Fighter, Rich Franklin sees beyond
the ring . I had a chance to speak
with him about his business and its future.
how your role has changed with American Fighter?
RF: When I
first met Jeff Adler who runs American Fighter, he offered to sponsor me. This was at the very beginning when I
started fighting, before UFC. So
essentially, he would buy al of my supplements and I would wear his shirt. AT that time it was actually called
Damage Wear. Then once my career
was going, we came up with the brand American Fighter and the overall concept. Jeff was the investor along with along
business partner he had. As time
past, I was fighting in the UFC- around 2006; they decided to give me a small
percentage of the business. So I went from being a sponsored fighter
to a minority owner in the company.
As time progressed, the popularity prompted traveling for the
brand. SO I was out there as the
face of American Fighter. Then one
day we sat down and the opportunity to buy Brad 's shares (the other owner)
came thrown out there. So I did,
which increased the percent of the company that I owned dramatically - so now
only two owners of American Fighter - Jeff and myself. As far as the business side of
the company and its day to day, Jeff handles that... I don't know one thing from
next as far as the calls that come in and such. I am involved in conceptualizing and how the company can
grow. So I enjoy being involved in
coming up with ideas for the company, but Jeff handles how they exactly get
taken on new responsibilities lately within the company? RF: We have
re-structured the company to help it grow, but I don't have new
responsibilities that affect me week to week. I am just involved in the meetings and discussions
that effect big decisions to make changes for the company. Before I purchased
Brad's portion of the company, Jeff and I were not seeing the same vision as
Brad. So it was a good thing for
American Fighter, because we were able to
re-structure the goals of the company so match our vision.
RF: Well, JT handles the marketing for the
company and Jeff is the official business manager. American Fighter has its clothing line and it sponsors
various fighters. Since there are so
many other things that fighters can do these days, it is good that JT and Jeff
have the marketing side of the company.
For me, American Fighter is a brand that I continue to promote; I make
appearances and do seminars. The
company handles a lot of these negotiations for my schedule and me. Everything is handled through the
company, except for my fighting contracts and career.
of goals do you have specifically for the company?
RF: I hope
to help make the brand grow and expand. As the face of American Fighter, I want to see the
brand out in stores. SO we have
test lines hopefully going into various department and novelty stores like
Spencer's, MMA Stops, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart - we' will see. But a big goal is to increase wholesale
accounts. This company goal is
what of course will help me out the most after I am fighting.
involved in the sponsorship side of the company - do you choose which fighters
receive American Fighter sponsorship?
RF: No, Jeff and JT handle that. Occasionally they ask me about a fighter, but it has more to
do with whether they are a conflict of interest for me.
feel your ownership of American Fighter is a progression towards creating a
future with more business investments as a business owner, therefore laying the
groundwork for your post fight career?
RF: Yes, even though I am not involved in
the day to day,
I want to
be kept in the loop of what is going on with American Fighter. I enjoy being involved in business, I
just can't be sitting behind a desk 9-5, answering phones, emailing and
stuff. I do great taking on other
responsibilities, like traveling for the brand, attending meetings, marketing. I am open to anything as long as I am not confined. Either way, I would rather work 10
hours and make 1 million, than work 40 hours and make 40 million dollars.