Rich Franklin, one of the key building blocks of the UFC organization when it first got on Spike TV, announced his retirement today on Twitter.
Franklin, 40, had not fought for nearly three years, since a knockout loss to Cung Le on November 10, 2012 in Macau, China.
During that period he had talked about wanting to do a retirement fight. He had one fight left on his UFC contract and Dana White, who had maintained good relations with him, had said he would be able to have it.
But he had not asked for that fight. He is the current Vice President of One Championship, an Asian-based MMA company.
Franklin won the UFC middleweight title on June 4, 2005, from the late Evan Tanner. UFC had just gotten on Spike TV. As a former math teacher, Franklin broke the fighter stereotype and UFC pushed him as one of its key players in the early years, including a coaching stint on the second season of Ultimate Fighter. He retained the title with wins over Nate Quarry and David Loiseau, before losing on October 14, 2006, to Anderson Silva. He remained a headliner on major shows until his last UFC fight more than six years later.
Franklin will be addressing his retirement on the MMA Hour at 3:25 p.m. Eastern time. Dave Meltzer will be on the same show at 1 PM EST.