Why Rich Franklin is a PR Goldmine

Posted: June 23, 2010 in PR, UFC

Rich “Ace” Franklin recently defeated – and potentially retired – Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell at UFC 115.  Although he broke his arm in the process, “Ace” once again reminded fans why he was such a dominant force as a former UFC champion and reminded marketers why he is a PR Goldmine for the sport.

For those that are not familiar with Franklin, I recommend the following piece from The Bleacher Report for background.  Franklin is one of the most well-rounded fighters in MMA today.  He has solid striking, good ground skills and is one of the most cerebral fighters of all time.  His game plans are almost as frightening as his knockout power.

When you take this athleticism and then factor in the below list, it won’t surprise you why I think he is one of the most marketable figures in MMA today.

  • The Background – We’ve all heard the story, Franklin is a former school teacher turned MMA star.  It may not be new to you, but it continues to help promote him as a marketable asset.  Intelligent and well-spoken, he proves in interviews that you don’t have to be a brute to be a fighter.
  • The Respect – The man can work the mic like no other.  He rarely speaks out against his opponent and always shows class and respect in victory and defeat.  Anderson Silva destroyed him twice – and he still took the time to tell the crowd to show Silva the respect he deserved as a fighter.
  • The Ladies Man – No, not that type of playboy.  Franklin is a happily married man.  However, the fact that he doesn’t look like Big Nog helps him with a female fanbase.  More importantly, that helps make him marketable for TV and print ads.
  • The Company Man – Franklin is always willing to do what is best for the UFC.  He never makes claims or demands title shots in his interviews.  He always notes he is willing to fight whoever the UFC wants him to.  This is evident in his move to light heavy weight and the number of catch weight fights he has taken on in the last few years to help build out weaker cards.
  • The Drive for Charity work/Military Support –Like many respectable athletes, Franklin is involved in a number of charities and continues to show support with trips overseas to visit the troops.    You can see a number of his activities on his website: http://www.richfranklin.com/photo.php
  • The Man Dressed in Pink – Johnny Cash had black, Franklin has the color pink.  Even his cast is pink.  Although I haven’t been able to figure why he is drawn to the color it speaks volumes to the personality.  In a sport that can be dominated by machismo, he is comfortable enough to wear a color that may not be popular among other fighters.

For the sport to truly take off and expand from its current fanbase (loyal but niche) and expand to the general public it will need more Rich Franklin-like figures.  Who do you think is the next Rich Franklin?

  1. […] Posted on July 15, 2010 by mixedmarketingarts As I said in an earlier post, that Rich Franklin is PR gold.  I’ve been slacking in keeping up with his site, but low and behold on a recent visit I came […]

  2. […] those new to the sport, American Fighter is a clothing brand from former UFC middleweight champion (and PR machine) Rich […]

  3. […] To many she was labeled the “face” of women’s MMA (sorry Cyborg) and to me, she was another Rich Franklin (PR Goldmine).   Let’s look at the numbers and the facts: Photo from […]

  4. […] and Griffin have in establishing fan bases.  Franklin, a former math teacher and all around good guy against the every-man Forrest Griffin.   This fight is also another mirror battle – underrated […]

  5. […] The reality is this is a big step back for women’s MMA. There are very few personalities and dominant figures right now to hold onto fans’ attention and we all know that Dana White is not itching to keep the division alive within Zuffa.  If Carano does not respond, someone needs to step up and give women’s MMA a face and a voice.  Who do you think can be this person? Who can be the women’s Rich Franklin? […]

  6. […] can beat someone else.  Matt Hughes ruled the welterweight world until Georges St Pierre emerged, Rich Franklin is but a memory compared to Anderson Silva’s rule, and up until Jones the light heavyweight title […]

  7. […] are not. A former champion who defended his title twice before the reign of the spider, Franklin is a PR machine for the world of MMA.  He showcases that not all fighters are “dumb brutes”, he always gives […]

  8. […] The beauty of the prime time series is that no matter if it is GSP, Rampage, or Rousey – they will show your human side. This first episode breaks down Rousey.  You’ll see the emotional breakdown when she discusses her Father, but that is not the breakdown I mean.  What drew me in, what got me to say “alright, I like you,” – was the humble side.  When Rousey discusses the respect for Carmouche, shows her training (even while just walking through her apartment) you can tell her head is still on straight.  If you read this blog enough, you know that is what I look for. I may be a huge fight fan, but as a PR guy I’m always looking for “who could you sell.”  And although sports marketing will look to market the brash, cocky vocal fighters (yes, that is what  drew the media to Rousey in the first place…) I always look for the PR Gem.  Yes, the Rich Franklin factor. […]

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