January 2011

January 2011


With all the punching, kicking, elbowing, kneeing, and slamming in MMA, it’s just a matter of time before you get cut. For mixed martial artists, it is very important to close all wounds properly and align all tissues correctly due to the formation of scar tissue, which is not as strong or elastic as healthy skin tissue. Reopening or reinjuring scar tissue is a concern for fighters, and it can often impact the outcome of a fight.


Depending on the type of wound and its complexity, the treatment and care will vary accordingly.




A laceration occurs when the skin develops a torn or jagged wound due to blunt trauma. Lacerations usually involve both layers of the skin and, in some cases, deep tissue. Depending on the size, depth, and location of the laceration,it can be treated by various methods. Skin bandages or steri-strip scan be used for smaller lacerations. Deeper lacerations may need skin glue or suturing.




A gash is a longer and deeper laceration. As with the laceration, the borders are irregular and the wound involves both skin layers, but a gash almost always involves deeper tissue. Bleeding is more substantial and difficult to stop, and it usually requires suturing or surgical stapling. Deeper wounds will require layered suturing to improve the healing process.




An avulsion occurs when the tissue is lacerated and removed from the body. The most common instance in MMA is the facial or scalp avulsion, because skin on the face and scalp is very vascular and thin. Avulsions are the most severe cuts and always require layered closing.




Abrasions are superficial wounds to the outer layer of the skin and are commonly called scrapes. Abrasions are not limited to cuts. Some friction burns—including mator glove burn—are also considered abrasions. Treatments for abrasions include daily cleaning with antibacterial soap and topical antibiotics




Most minor lacerations and abrasions will stop bleeding after a few minutes of direct pressure with a sterile cloth. If the wound doesn’t stop bleeding after direct pressure, it will probably need to be sutured or glued by a physician. It’s important to treat wounds properly and in a timely manner for the quickest recovery, so if you are ever in doubt about the severity of a cut, go see a physician.


In addition, antibiotic ointment and a sterile gauze bandage will help protect the wound from further infection and water loss until a scab forms.


A lot of blood, sweat, and tears go into MMA training, so don’t overlook something as painless as proper nutrition planning to keep you performing at optimal levels. Just as you regularly wash your mouthpiece every night (you do wash your mouthpiece, right?), you need to pack your MMA training fuel, including: pre-training snack, in training hydration, and post-training recovery snack. These nutritional necessities will keep your energy levels maximized and the risk of fatigue and injury minimized.


Go Steel


While plastic water bottles may be convenient, many leach harmful chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) into your water. BPA is an endocrine system disruptor, meaning it mimics hormones such as estrogen, possibly leading to hormone irregularities, as well as myriad other health issues. Stainless steel water bottles are a much safer alternative.


Remember, these recommendations are for quick, convenient, portable snacks. Your regular meals and snacks prepared at home should consist primarily of whole, clean, unprocessed foods with the proper balance of carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fat.




In the 30–60 minutes prior to training, carbs are king. Carbohydrates digest quickly, help maintain blood glucose levels during exercise, and replace much needed muscle glycogen (storage form of the carbohydrate glucose within the muscles). Low-fat and low-protein content of the pre-training snack is necessary to facilitate gastric emptying (the time it takes for food to leave your stomach) and to avoid gastro intestinal distress. Approximately 40–60 grams of carbohydrates should be sufficient. Some athletes have no trouble consuming these carbs from solid foods, such as apples, bananas, or a Power Bar Fruit Smoothie Bars. For fighters that prefer liquids or semi solids,consider items such as Gatorade G1 Prime sports drink, gels from Power Bar and GU, or an all-natural fruit/veggie juice.




If intense training lasts more than an hour, refueling and rehydrating during the workout is key. A sports drink containing 6–8% carbohydrates and electrolytes will give you easily digestible carbs, as well as the water and electrolytes lost from sweating. Ironman Perform and Gatorade G2 Perform are two readily available drinks of this kind, providing 50–70 calories, 14–17 grams of carbs, 110–190 mg sodium, and 10–30 mg potassium per 8 fluid ounces. Many athletes alternate between plain water and sports drinks to get the recommended 30–60 grams of carbs and 16–24 ounces of fluid per hour of exercise. These are general guides, especially for hydration, as sweat rates differ for every athlete. You can find sweat rate calculators online to get your customized hydration recommendation.




Recovery nutrition is vital. Within the first 30 minutes after training, strive to consume 0.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. A 150-pound athlete would need approximately 75 grams of recovery carbs to start to replace glycogen stores. Protein also takes the stage at this point for muscle building and repair, but amounts will vary depending on your training. If you’re hitting the weights hard on a regular basis, you’ll need 20–40 grams of protein post-workout along with the carbs above. If strength training has taken a backseat to more cardio, 15–25 grams is sufficient. Natural peanut butter and jelly on wholegrain bread, Gatorade G3 PRO Recovery, or Muscle Milk, are all portable recovery snacks that give you a carb/protein combo. Keep drinking water too. You’ll need 16–24 fluid ounces per hour of intense workout.


When Bryan “The Beast” Baker stepped into the cage on June 24, 2010, to fight Alexander Shlemenko in the Bellator Fighting Championship Middleweight Tournament Finals, very few people had a clue that the biggest fight of his life was being fought outside of the cage.


Baker, a 24-year-old with a13-1 record, entered the cage that evening battling chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)—a cancer of the white blood cells, and a condition where the average five-year survival rate is approximately 54%. However, nobody outside of Baker’s family and close friends knew it that night, and he preferred to keep it that way.


“I didn’t need anybody giving me any kind of negative reaction or trying to make a decision that would change my life,” says Baker. “My mind was on winning the tournament, and that was that.” It didn’t matter that he was suffering from anemia, fever, and fatigue.


Diagnosed on April 19, 2010, Baker could have pulled out of the tournament and cited the life-threatening disease as the explanation. But the Team Wildman fighter went against his family and doctor’s orders, and he proceeded to enter the tournament with his first fight a mere 10 days later.


“When I set my mind to something, I get it done,” Baker explains. “There are no rules that you can’t fight with leukemia. So there was no reason for me not to fight.”


With only two days of abbreviated training, Baker laid waste to Sean Loeffler at  2:43 in the first round of the highly competitive tournament. It was an amazing feat, considering all that he was going through. However, the Bellator tournament schedule has fighters compete at a grueling pace, and Baker was scheduled to fight again less than a month later in the semifinals against Eric Schambari. Again, Baker struggled through a five-day training camp but scored a resounding submission victory at 2:29 in the first frame.


Despite suffering from a possibly fatal disease, “The Beast” was fighting on a higher level. He was determined to topple the juggernaut of leukemia, but the fight outside of the cage was taking a toll on his body. Baker would goon to lose in the finals against Alexander Shlemenko by first-round TKO, but rather than point at his condition, Baker pointed at himself.


“It was just one of those days where I couldn’t snap to it,” he says. “I just didn’t have the right mindset going into that fight, and I paid for it.”


Baker never uses his condition as an excuse. There are no excuses for Baker, only obstacles to overcome.


Back in February 2010, Baker and his trainer Thomas Denny moved their training camp to Colorado in order to prepare for the upcoming Bellator tournament. It was going to be a grueling camp, but nothing that “The Beast”—nicknamed for his ability to outwork everyone in the gym—couldn’t handle. The thin air and high altitude present problems for all fighters who train in Colorado for the first time. So, being short of breath and a bit weak was nothing out of the ordinary.


“I thought I just needed to get used to the altitude,” Baker recalls. “A few weeks went by and everyone was getting used to the altitude, and I was getting worse. I actually got sick and passed out in the bathroom. My vision was off and my skin was turning green.”


His family and coaches were unsure if it was mononucleosis, a staph infection, or something else. It turned out to be “something else.”


“I had blood work done and sure enough, I had leukemia,” Baker says, exhaling when he cites the date April 19, 2010—the day he was diagnosed. “It happened so fast. In a week, I went from being normal to having cancer.”


While most people with a life threatening condition would take heed to the doctor’s advice to not compete in a fight scheduled 10 days later, Baker is cut from a different cloth. He doesn’t take “no” for an answer.


“I’m a really positive person, so I just looked at battling this disease as another obstacle that God put in front of me that I had to overcome,” Baker says. “Just like in a fight, in life, you have things thrown at you from all different angles, but you can’t let those things stop you from doing what you want to do. They’re just obstacles that you have to overcome.”


In the months since being diagnosed, Baker has made a remarkable recovery thanks to the drug Gleevec. As of press time, the cancer is in remission, and Baker will be back to his beast-like ways that garnered him attention in the first place. That’s a scary thing, considering what he accomplished at 40% strength.


“The longer time goes on, the deeper into remission I’m going to become,” he says. “I’m only getting better and stronger since the last tournament. I just know I’m going to dominate that tournament next time and get my shot at Bellator Champion Hector Lombard.”


With the cancer in remission, Baker fully intends on competing in next year’s middleweight tournament, which kicks off in January. To prove that he’s ready for another shot, Baker qualified for Season 4 by disposing of UFC light heavyweight challenger and MMA veteran Jeremy Horn with a dominant three-round unanimous decision victory.


“I showed that I still want it with my victory over Jeremy Horn. I showed that I am still here. I am getting better and overcoming a lot of things,” Baker says. “I’m an all around fighter that keeps expanding. You are going to have to bring so much to the table to beat me.”


Hanging prominently—but curiously—in the front office of the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York is an enlarged photograph of one of the most seminal victories of Kazushi “The Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba. The photo is from the closing moments of the fight between Sakuraba and Renzo Gracie at Pride 10, won by Sakuraba from a standing kimura with just 17 seconds remaining in the second and final round.


This victory by Sakuraba was his third over a member of the Gracie family, and arguably his most impressive. When he defeated Royler Gracie at Pride 8, Sakuraba had a weight advantage of more than 40 pounds, and the fight was stopped by the referee, which was supposed to have been against the special rules of the bout. When he defeated Royce Gracie in a 90-minute marathon match during the Pride Grand Prix 2000, Royce had fought only once in the previous five years. While the victory over Royce, whose corner threw in the towel, tremendously enhanced Sakuraba’s popularity and reputation, there were still many who questioned his talent.


Renzo Gracie, then 33 years old, entered the fight with a documented record of 9-1-1. He had defeated standouts Maurice Smith, Sanae Kikuta, and Oleg Taktarov, and had only lost a decision to Kiyoshi Tamura in Rings, while getting a draw with Akira Shoji at Pride 1. With both fighters wearing shorts and no shoes, this evenly-matched bout featured an array of back-and-forth striking and grappling, with Renzo holding his own throughout.


As the end of the fight approached, Renzo attempted a takedown and managed to gain standing back control, but Sakuraba trapped Renzo’s left arm. They eventually went to the mat, with Sakuraba turtling up, still holding Renzo’s arm. Then Sakuraba exploded upward, spun to his left, and twisted Renzo’s left arm into a kimura arm lock.As they went back to the mat, Renzo’s arm broke, and the referee stopped the fight.


Why is this photo hanging in the academy of this proud member of the Gracie family? Renzo gave two reasons: “The first reason is because I didn’t tap. So that was a victory of mind over my body,” Renzo says. “The second reason is to remind me that I need to improve every time. So, every time I walk in, I look at that picture and remember the defeat, and I go back to train again and improve myself. It’s a very humbling picture that I keep there to remind me of how human I am.”


Renzo believed he was winning the fight before the stoppage, and admitted, with a laugh, “I was already celebrating the victory, because in my head, I couldn’t lose in the last 30 seconds. And I lost in the last 17!” He also praised Sakuraba’s grappling and called his jiu-jitsu “unbelievable.”


Renzo summed it all up with this message: “Living and learning—that’s the secret to fighting.”


You’re a third-degree black belt in taekwondo. Do you still work those techniques?


I teach taekwondo, so I still review the basics and stuff. I’m working on getting my fourth degree. Eventually, I want to run a taekwondo school. That’s my goal—taekwondo mixed with an MMA gym.


Outside of your camp, what fighters do you look up to?


GSP for sure. When I first started, he was just an up-and-comer, and nobody knew who he was, and now look at him. I definitely look up to him and guys like Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida—traditional martial artists.


Do you consider yourself a traditional martial artist?


I’m definitely a traditional martial artist first and a mixed martial artist second.


Is the nickname “Showtime” hard to live up to?


It’s not a lot to live up to. “Showtime” is because I fight flashy. It’s not like an alternate personality. It just happens to be how I fight. It’s hard to explain to family and friends—it’s not a split personality. It’s a nickname in the cage and that’s it. Out of the cage, I’m still Anthony Pettis.


Do you consider yourself part of the new wave of mixed martial artists like Evan Dunham and Ryan Bader—fighters that have made an immediate impact?


My goal is to become the complete fighter. MMA is still a new sport, but a few of the fighters are fighting everywhere—good jiu jitsu, good grappling, good striking. Honestly, my little brother is the reason why I’m trying to keep up with everything. He’s wrestling in high school, his kickboxing is great, and his jiu-jitsu is good. Soon, I’ll be fighting guys who have been wrestling and striking their whole lives. That’s where it’s headed.


What does family mean to you in regards to your MMA career?


Family means everything. Family comes before any of this. If it ever came down to family and quitting mixed martial arts, I’d always put family first. Family is a big reason why I’m doing this. We grew up in a rough neighborhood. There wasn’t much for us to look up to. We didn’t have a lot of family members graduating college and having good professions. Most are regular workers making hourly wages. MMA is a way we can separate ourselves from that and do something we love doing. My brother looks up to me. I want to be his role model. He’s a big reason that I train as hard as I do and put everything I put into this.


Who beats you up the most in sparring?


Pat Barry.


UFC fighter Erik Koch is your roommate. What’s his worst roommate habit?


I’m not gonna put him on blast, but I’ll give you one. We have this George Foreman grill. I use it for all my chicken and all my food when I diet. He never cleans it after he’s done using it, so every time I go to use it, it’s all crusty and nasty.


What sport would you say you are absolutely terrible at?


Soccer. I suck at soccer. Even in high school, they said, ‘This Hispanic kid should play soccer,’ but I had no coordination in my feet or something—man, I suck at soccer!


When did you realize MMA was something you were good at?


I had my first amateur fight on my 20th birthday, and I finished the fight in 24seconds.


What country would you like to fight in?


It’s not a different country, but I’d like to fight in Puerto Rico. I’m half Puerto Rican and Mexican, so Puerto Rico would be a great place to go. There are a lot of Puerto Rican fans blowing up my Facebook, asking when I’m going to be fighting there.


You Milwaukee boys are known for your Miller Lite. What’s your favorite beer?


I don’t drink a lot of beer, but I like a Blue Moon every now and then.


Tell ya what, I’ll buy you a Blue Moon if you take me to Puerto Rico.




Thanks Anthony. We look forward to the next time it’s Showtime.


If I had it my way,” Rich Franklin mumbles under his breath, “I’d just do the red carpet thing, get the pictures over with, then turn around and go home.”


With just about each day becoming a completely new adventure for the former UFC champ, tonight Franklin finds himself at a red carpet charity event in the Malibu Canyon, at a hilltop mansion that’s part of the Malibu Rocky Oaks Winery, wearing a suit with a purple tie. This ain’t his cup of tea. He’d like nothing better than to take it off.


“Well, take it off,” his American Fighter clothing brand co-owner Jeff Adler says to him. But Franklin doesn’t, because the One Hope Foundation is honoring him with a humanitarian award for his work with soldiers overseas in Iraq, Europe, and Japan, and for visiting dozens of hospitals, including Walter Reed, Bethesda, and the Center for the Intrepid. He is happy to do those things.


He is less happy to be celebrated for it.


Walking around the $65 million premises, Ace doesn’t look as much like Jim Carrey as he might’ve five years ago, but these days he’s being accused of looking like the guy he is slated to fight next, Forrest Griffin. Maybe it’s the serially reconfigured nose or the broad neck or the unsteady way in which he walks. “Forrest always says that they flatter him when they mistake him for me,” Franklin says. “But I think they’re flattering me when I hear it. He has like two inches and 20 pounds on me, they must think I’m massive.”


Franklin’s business manager, a constantly in motion sprocket of a man named J.T. Stewart, is in high clover in this environment. He’s got himself a drink, and his thumbs are in his suspenders. There’s a band playing, fronted by a singer who has cornered the market in boxcar chic. Brooke Hogan (Hulk’s daughter) is having a glass of wine with an equally blonde companion (Hulk’s ex wife, Linda).


And through it all, former NBA player Cedric Ceballos is emceeing the event, with his Isaac Hayes voice prompting people to bid on the silent auction items that range from signed Elvis paraphernalia to Muhammed Ali’s white robe to a framed Bill Clinton mural, with three Time magazine covers and a signed shot of him chipping a golf ball on the green.


Franklin is out of element in a place like this. People who know mixed martial arts come up to him and comment on what a sick fight he has coming up with Griffin or talk about his TKO of Chuck Liddell. The ones who whisper have been informed he’s a fighter of acclaim and come up to say hello, just to meet a well known somebody in an intimate setting. There’s nothing novel in this treatment. Franklin is used to it. He shakes a lot of hands, poses for a lot of pictures, and, when nobody’s paying attention, drifts into the room where the Manny Pacquiao/Antonio Margarito fight is about to start.


For all those who know who Franklin is, there’s at least one who might not. He’s the guy who says he’s going to pause the live fight, just as Pacman is making his way to the ring with Freddie Roach and his faction behind him. “It’s only for a few minutes,” he says. “They are just about to conduct the auction and present the awards. I will turn it back on right after.”


The Hollywood crashers moan a bit.What a buzz kill. Franklin feels like he’s had the rug pulled out from him, too. He’s a fighter. He wants to watch the big fight as it happens. He knows these kinds of big moments. You don’t pause big moments. Not even when they are toasting your philanthropic work.


Franklin starts threatening Stewart and Adler and anyone else near him to stay off of their cell phones. No spoilers. He then looks at the guy about to pause the fight.


“I promise,” the guy says, ushering everyone toward the stage on the terrace, overlooking Malibu and the Pacific. “If I don’t turn it back on right here where we left off, you all can kick my ass.”


Not taking this as a joke, Rich calmly asks for the man’s card.


To the man’s credit, he gives it to him.


It wasn’t all that long ago—right after Franklin lost to Anderson Silva for the second time in his native Cincinnati and was essentially relegated to “Gatekeeper of the Middleweights”—that he began telling everybody that he just wanted to put on exciting shows and to fight the toughest guys.


This, of course, sounded like concession, and the fight press couldn’t help but cue up the string section. Here was former middleweight champion Franklin, now in his mid-30s, heading off into the twilight of his career. He was acting on the side, starring in a movie called Cyborg Soldier with Tiffani Thiessen, where—as a genetically engineered super-soldier named Isaac—he uttered the unintentionally funny line, “All available evidence points to his elimination.”


Same went for his standing at 185 pounds. If he wasn’t charging toward that belt, or fending contenders off of it, then he had lost something in the way of seriousness.


Thing is, it was a little white lie.


“The only reason I left 185 pounds in the first place is because the UFC said they didn’t want me to fight Anderson again,” he says. “Even though I kept saying I just want to fight tough people, I think in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to fight for a belt.”


With no Silva trilogy and really nothing there to resolve from a fan’s perspective, Franklin fought his swansong in the division at UFC 83 in Montreal, overcoming Travis Lutter with strikes in the second round. “I was trying so hard to land that left cross and win Knockout of the Night,” he remembers. “The bonus was like $70,000…but I kept grazing him, couldn’t land it clean.”


Part of the reason Franklin was a celebrated champion is that it’s in his blood to think this way. He has said on numerous occasions that his favorite technique is the one that finishes fights. People in the business of selling pay-per-views like this philosophy. After Lutter, Franklin quietly walked away from the division where he never failed to put on an exciting show. His successor, Anderson Silva, cannot make the same claim.


“Rich drives me crazy,” says his long time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training partner and friend, Jorge Gurgel. “Because, the thing is, he always gets dropped, but then he recuperates and wins. Rich is like the king of…oh shit, he dropped Rich Franklin…oh shit, Rich Franklin recovered…oh shit, Rich Franklin just knocked him out! It’s hard to watch.”


It’s in that teetering-on-the-brink-of disaster-feeling that the one-time math teacher at Oak Hills High School has found his audience. There was the night he won the title in Newark, trading with the late Evan Tanner until the doctors waved him off. There was the knockout of Nate Quarry, that massive left which was so spectacular that the term “Quarry’d” was invented, a synonym of KTFO. There was his war with David Loiseau, which he fought with a broken left hand (as a south paw, no less), when Dana White surprised him by piping in AC/DC’s For Those About to Rock for his walk out.


“That song started up and I began getting cold chills,” says Franklin. He engaged in a five-round war that night, and successfully defended his belt.


And of course, there were those brutal battles with Silva.


The first time he and Silva met in Las Vegas, his Muay Thai coach Neal Rowe says, “They were trying to m
urder each other out there in that first fight—they were just weaving elbows.” Just as he had posterized Quarry a year before, Franklin would end up in a highlight reel—only this time, it was “Ace” being cut down by one of the greatest shows of precision striking on record.


Even when Franklin lost, he at least lost spectacularly.


As much as it hurt to lose the belt, the second loss to Silva was the more heartbreaking. After beating Jason McDonald and Yushin Okami to earn his rematch, Franklin and his camp—his first with Matt Hume—spent four weeks in remote Pinedale, Wyoming, studying, training, and obsessing over Anderson Silva. “We poured our heart and soul into that fight,” says Rowe.


Given the space of three years since that night, somewhat unsurprisingly, Franklin says he wouldn’t change his approach.


“If you look at the Cincinnati fight, I was doing really well in the first round,” Franklin says. “I was landing punches, controlling the punches…I took him down once, even though I wasn’t able to keep him down. I was fighting a good fight, but I just got clipped at the end of the first round. Any time your guys have to come out and basically carry you back to your corner, it’s not a good thing. Especially against a great striker like Anderson Silva, you’re a sitting duck out there. But I wasn’t about abandon what I do well.”


Yet, if he wanted to wear that strap again, he would have to at least abandon the middleweight division. He jumped up to light heavy to fight his friend Matt Hamill at UFC 88 in Atlanta, where he landed a thudding body kick to end it in the second round. A chronically obsessed food moderator, Franklin began using his food scale to make sure he was getting enough food to put on weight—and hold it—en-route to a match with Dan Henderson, where he helped make company headway in Ireland. He appeared on television, on ESPN’s MMA Live, and elsewhere, articulating the sport’s merits to anyone who inquired.


“I was sitting next to an old lady on the plane, and she said ‘UFC, isn’t that fighting where there are no rules?’” he says, sighing. ‘Uh, no, not exactly. There’s a harmony to the chaos.’ That’s what I  always tell people, that’s one of my lines—there is harmony within that chaos.”


Franklin did goodwill tours for the UFC, visiting troops and hospitals. Then he fought a pair of catch weight bouts, first breaking into the Germany market against Wanderlai Silva (decision win), and then a headlining fight against Vitor Belfort (where he was knocked out in the first round).


“After UFC 100, they pretty much didn’t have any headliners, so they needed me,” he says of the latter. “A rematch with Henderson would have motivated me. But it got switched to Vitor, and that played into why I lost that fight. I was burnt out. When you’re six weeks out from the fight and you’re walking into the gym and looking at the clock as soon as you walk in, it’s not good. And I knew that. But what are you going to do? Fake an injury? Pull out? Heck no. I’ve never done that in my life. I’m a company man.”


Even though he is being sarcastic when he says this (sort of), it was around the time of the catch weight bouts that people began using the term “company man” when describing Franklin.


Know what he says to that?


“Without the UFC, this sport wouldn’t be where it is today,” he says. “And you know what you need to get that stuff done? Company men.”


Franklin has made plenty of money for the UFC, and he has made a lot of money with the organization in the six years he’s been punching the clock. In his first fight against Jorge Rivera at UFC 50, he made a few thousand dollars in his submission win. This past June, he cleared $140,000 in his fight against Chuck Liddell (reported), in a bout he took because the UFC needed a replacement for the office reprobate, Tito Ortiz.


“I felt bad that Tito got hurt while on The Ultimate Fighter 11, but they called me in to build a fight between the coaches,” he says. “It’s an example of me being a company man, sure. But I think people were more excited to see a fight between Chuck and I anyway.”


“I was skinny—really skinny in high school,” Franklin says after a meal of sashimi at a Loews hotel in Santa Monica. He says he weighed 155 pounds in his graduation picture, and therefore, no, he didn’t fight much back then, and if you saw him “You’d know why.” People in the atrium are giving him the surreptitious leer, the double-take that always betrays somebody trying to place a familiar face. Franklin smiles at them, says hello, and keeps talking.


“Actually, I’m quite proud of that picture,” he says. “Most people might be embarrassed by something like that, but I look at it as, do you know how difficult it was, coming from that starting point, to be able to do this?”


In the same breath, he lets it be known that he’ll never share that photograph (he’s not that proud), but his larger point comes through: the path to becoming a prize-fighting champion is as improbable as it is gratifying. By the time he was thrashing Ken Shamrock at the first Ultimate Fighter Finale, he’d already beaten the odds and made a case for sticking to the commonly mentioned (but seldom practiced) mantra of following your heart. By the time he beat Tanner for the belt, he was a protagonist in a ridiculous story that began in a unheated/non-air-conditioned 12×15-foot lawnmower shed, just him and his buddy Josh Rafferty training together with a goal of making it to the UFC. By the time he lost the belt, these things came crashing back to him, so as to form a new appreciation for “The next time I win it.”


You might know the rest of his story, but the Cliff Notes start like this—he didn’t come from much. He moved around a lot in Northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati area, idolizing Barry Sanders, the Bengals, and the Reds. Though his family was poor, they instilled their Christian beliefs in him, beliefs he holds to this day. To attend college at the University of Cincinnati, he earned scholarships and relied on grants. “I fell into that nice little niche of being the smart, poor kid,” he says, “which is great, because the government likes to help people like that.” Boom. He became the first Franklin to earn a college degree. It was in mathematics.


While working “a professional job, with retirement, a 401K and all that crap” as a math teacher, he began fighting. He gave up his security, and went for it. “My dad had a little bit of a problem with that,” he says. “But you’ve got to remember that MMA was way more underground than it is today. So when you tell people you’re going to quit teaching to become a professional fighter, well…”


Trying to make himself memorable outside of his performances—he was 14-0 by the time he lost to Lyoto Machida in Japan in 2003—he fought in pastels. Who can forget the lime green trunks he wore against the man of 100-plus fights, Travis Fulton. “We got the material at Michael’s fabric store,” he remembers.


When his name got bigger, he made a clothing brand called American Fighter,and he chose to wear the Neapolitan colors that he has become synonymous with—pink and brown. Why? “Because, take a well-known fighter—let’s say, Sean Sherk—and tell me, what are his fight colors?” He’s used to the silence he gets
when asking that question. “Exactly.”


American Fighter is one of those big small companies, based in his hometown of Cincinnati, with five total employees. As a brand, it is also involved in philanthropic pursuits. It’s part of the reason he’s in Los Angeles. Oh, and he went and attended the premiere of Hamill, the cinematic biopic on his friend and deaf MMA fighter, Matt Hamill. He has a part in it.


“My part was really small, and I was curious to see how it would turn out, because I was on set for such a short amount of time,” he says. “They did a great job at it. And hey, they didn’t edit me out, right? What a waste of film.” He laughs.


He’s also in a Christian-based film, The Genesis Code. And he’s supporting troops and making appearances and coaching The Ultimate Fighter on two day’s notice. And he’s getting ready to fight one of the sport’s biggest names in the former light heavyweight champion, Forrest Griffin. It’s the life of a bona-fide company man with a flair for pointing out the harmony in chaos and dramaturgy.


Cedric Ceballos begins a monologue,working fight metaphors into the greater causes that everyone has gathered for. It’s clear he’s getting ready to call Franklin up to accept his award on behalf of One Hope, the American Red Cross, Hope-North Uganda, and other causes. Right before he does, though, Rich turns to his manager and says, as if ignorant to what’s happening, “Hey, I’ve got to go take a piss, I’ll be right back.”


Stewart’s eyes get big, and he begins to stammer something along the lines of “Are you crazy, he’s talking about you!” But Franklin is already laughing, satisfied to get his business manager’s goat (yet again). That’s what he does.


Ceballos calls Franklin up, he accepts his award, and says a few words—“I feel so inadequate speaking into the microphone after Ced,” he says, using a high pitched voice for effect—and that’s that.Even though a good portion of the crowd knows he’s a prizefighter and a Good Samaritan,when Ceballos uses the word“warrior” to describe Franklin, it goes beyond what just about anyone but a fighter like him can know.


It’s easy to think back several months to his fight with Chuck Liddell. He took the fight dutifully as a company man and spoke with absolute sincerity and reluctance about not wanting to be the one to retire “The Iceman.” Yet, he did what he had to do. In the fight, Franklin took that big kick that broke his left forearm and could feel “the bones scraping again steach other in the arm.”


“I knew it was broken,” he says, “and it really took me out of my game plan, because I kept thinking to myself, what am I going to do next? Instead of fighting to win the fight, I started going into survival mode.”


What he did next was keep fighting. He kept his cool. When he got caught again by another kick late in the round, he landed a short right counter while fading away that dropped Liddell and an entire legacy all at once.


“He thought he had me hurt at the end of the round, and like vintage Chuck, he came forward heavy,” he says. “And so, I remember leaning…and I’d worked on a bunch of stuff with [boxing coach] Rob Radford, and we worked on covering with the shoulder and keeping my shoulder tight. I just remember rolling forward with my body on that right hand and it connecting. It didn’t hit hard, butit just had that feeling of knowing you did some damage. I followed up because, with my arm, I did not want to leave anything to chance.”


That was the latest in a long line of such fights—34 in all—he’s put on in his career. It’s the kind of performance that leads to celebrations in his honor in Malibu Canyon, and makes him one of the most famous fighters of his day. One would think that from time to time, a party is warranted.


“People always say to me, ‘Man, what do you do after the fights? How do you party?’” he says. “I’m like, well, last time I partied at an emergency room in Vancouver. The time before that I think I was partying in an ER in Germany. And I remember one time partying at an ER in Ireland. It’s the story of my life.”


Not the entire story. That remains to be told. “I think the highlight of my career is tomorrow,” he says. “I believe that.”


But that’s not what’s on his mind after the ceremony finishes up. Right now, he’s thinking about Pacquiao. He wants to see the fight. He goes back to the room with the television and is followed by a herd of people, most with glasses of wine in hand. Rich doesn’t drink. But when Pacquiao is picked up making his way to the ring, just where we’d left off as promised, he’s feeling it. He has the cold chills. It’s that For Those About to Rock moment.


As Pacquiao enters the ring, everybody lets up a wild cheer for the champion. It’s such a commotion on that Malibu hillside that, for a split second, it’s sobering to remember that there’s one person in the room who truly knows what that feels like.


And without saying a word, perhaps for the first time all night, Rich Franklin’s voice is heard.


I know that knockouts are the most exciting part of MMA and KO artists quickly rise up the ladder of popularity. But, for my money, submissions are the real thing of beauty. One look at the top fighters in the UFC and Strikeforce and you’ll see that many of the champions and contenders are highly ranked in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


World-class wrestlers with a few years of submission knowledge are the new breed of fighter. These guys can land the take down, stay on top, and score enough damage to win the round. In many ways, the wrestlers are negating the strengths of the grapplers. Additionally, the rules and judging have made it more difficult than ever for grapplers to showcase their skills.




There are five specific changes that can be made to one’s training regime and mindset that can help grapplers become more successful in MMA. One theme that holds true in all five of these keys is: being on top is better than being on bottom.


1. Incorporate More Wrestling


Wrestlers are training in BJJ, so BJJ practitioners need to do the same with wrestling. When it comes to MMA, being on top is always better than being on bottom. However, wrestling has more to offer than just take downs. Wrestling training can add a lot to your scrambles, transitions, and top game control. Starting your grappling training from your feet will give the participants a much better feel for the stand up to ground transitions of MMA.


2. Focus On Sweeps


If you end up on bottom, sweeps are your path back on top. In addition, sweeps are a great way to set up your submissions. A failed sweep often opens up a related submission attack. As an example, hip-bump sweep, guillotine, and kimura all work in unison. A successful sweep in MMA can immediately change the entire fight.


3. Perfect Your Escapes


Training to escape is one of the least enjoyable aspects of BJJ. However, no BJJ practitioner would argue that escapes aren’t an important aspect of grappling. Being on the bottom in an MMA fight—outside of the guard—is a dangerous position. All fighters must learn to stay relaxed on bottom, defend themselves from strikes, and work back to a more suitable position. Training in bad positions and learning to survive is important.


4. Train With Strikes


Carlson Gracie once said, “Punch a jiu-jitsu black belt in the face once and he becomes a brown belt, punch him in the face twice and he becomes a purple belt.” Punches and elbows make top positions more dominant and some bottom positions and techniques downright dangerous. Train grappling for MMA with grappling gloves while allowing strikes.


5. Learn to Get Up


An effective guard offers three constantly chained attacks. I call this the S-3 game.


• Submission (always the ultimate goal of grappling)
• Sweeps (see number 2)
• Standing up out of guard. Pressuring the top man to hold you down can open the other two lines of attack. More importantly, being able to stand up can help negate the advantages a world-class wrestler has. No one has been better at this skill than Chuck Liddell.


Shark Attack


“I am a shark, the ground is my ocean, and most people can’t even swim.”—Rickson Gracie


On November 12, 1993, I watched a skinny Brazilian man beat three larger fighters on the ground in less than five minutes. Even the announcers were confused by the tactics he was using.The birth of MMA and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu invasion took place that night in Denver, Colorado. Some viewers might have seen Royce Gracie’s UFC 1 Tournament victory as a fluke. However, I just knew I had to learn to do what Royce could do.


It took some time before I had the opportunity to train in BJJ, and after 11 years of training, I received my black belt from Roberto Traven in April 2009. Still today, I watch fights like a chess match. My love of grappling has never wavered.


It takes many tough hours to become skilled at BJJ, and those hours can be both painful and frustrating. Even for skilled athletes, it takes upwards of 10 years of constant training to reach a world-class level. To ensure success in the cage, focus on fundamentals, high percentage moves that work under the pressures of MMA, and proper strategies. These five keys can help even the most experienced grapplers make a smooth transition to MMA.


In just 10 short years, Long Island native, Timothy Ferriss, has gone from Princeton grad to author, entrepreneur and angel investor. Ferriss is the bestselling author of The Four-Hour Workweek, which reached the No. 1 status in both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Even though Ferriss has amassed experience in collegiate wrestling, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, among other disciplines, he considers himself a fan more than a practitioner. On the heels of his success with The Four-Hour Workweek, comes his new book, The Four-Hour Body, a compilation Ferriss feels can be very beneficial to the practicing mixed martial artist.


TF: “Most people associate me with professions of time management and productivity while working with companies like Google, Microsoft. The reality is that my obsession with physical tracking pre-dates all of that by about 10 years, so I’ve re corded almost every workout that I’ve done since age 18, and I’ve done thousands of blood tests—my house looks like an ER because it has so much medical equipment, and the reason I waited to write this book, which I’ve always wanted to write more than The Four-Hour Work week, is that the The Four-Hour Work week gave me access to the best scientists, the best doctors, and the best athletes and persons in the world…


I think there’s no audience that this will address more than the mixed martial artist because my athletic background is all based on grappling and striking. So my point of reference for everything was the physical attributes of the mixed martial artist, and that could range from maximal strength development to ultra-endurance to dissipating heat or cutting weight. Almost every one of the 50 topics covered in the book applies to a mixed martial artist.”




Ferriss isn’t one for understatement; here are the titles to some of the sections in the book.


• From Geek to Freak: How to Gain 34 Pounds in 28 Days
• Six Minute Abs: Two Exercises That Actually Work
• Hacking the NFL Combine
• Ultra Endurance
• Engineering the Perfect Night’s Sleep
• Pre-Hab: Injure-Proofing the Body
• Effortless Superhuman
• How To Add 100 Pounds to Your Bench Press
• How to Hold Your Breath Longer Than Houdini
• Living Forever: Vaccines, Bleeding, and Other Fun


You get the drift.




You’re offended by step-by-step illustrated instructions on how to give a 15-minute orgasm.


A common theme that I have gleaned while visiting MMA training centers across the country the past few months is that the majority of gyms are against air conditioning. A close second is that most successful gyms and fight teams are like a family.


Although MMA is considered an individual sport, fighters depend on their teammates, coaches, and training partners to help them prepare for their next bout and lean on them for advice, support, and guidance.


Uriah Faber’s Team Alpha Male is made up of several friends whom he has known since high school, and it could be compared to a college fraternity. American Top Team, led by father figure Ricardo Liborio, has a heavy Brazilian influence that places a high premium on family. Twin brothers Trevor and Todd Lally, who run Arizona Combat Sports, are very familiar with the competitive nature of family and don’t let a few squabbles get in the way of their success.


Like every training center and fight team, all families are unique with their own combination of strengths and weaknesses, but, at the end of the day, you always know that they have your back.


Ultimate Fitness/TeamAlpha Male

Location: Sacramento, CA
Uriah Faber and Matt Fisher


Fighters Who Train at Alpha Male


• Urijah Faber: Former WEC Featherweight Champion
• Danny Castillo: UFC Lightweight
• Joseph Benavidez: UFC Bantamweight
• Chad Mendes: UFC Featherweight
• Kyacey Uscola: Tachi Palace Middleweight
• Justin Buchholz: Former UFC Lightweight
• Lance Palmer: Four-Time D-I All-American Wrestler


What You Don’t Know


• Many Team Alpha Male members have, at some point in their careers, lived on “The Block,” which is comprised of five rental houses that Faber owns and rents out to other fighters in Sacramento.


What Separates Alpha Male From Everyone Else?


Team Alpha Male forms like Voltron, and Urijah is the head. I think we are the best looking team in MMA.”—Danny Castillo


American Top Team

Location: Coconut Creek, FL
Dan Lambert, Ricardo Liborio, Conan Silveira, and Marcelo Silveira


Fighters Who Train at ATT


• Thiago Alves: UFC Welterweight
• Thiago Silva: UFC Light Heavyweight
• Hector Lombard: Bellator Middleweight Champion
• Mike Brown: UFC Featherweight
• Jorge Santiago: SENGOKU Middleweight Champion
• JZ Cavalcante: Strikeforce Lightweight
• Denis Kang: W-1 MMA Middleweight
• Jeff Monson: IFC Heavyweight
• Cole Miller: UFC Lightweight
• Bobby Lashley: Strikeforce Heavyweight


What You Don’t Know


• Although the Coconut Creek, Florida, location is considered American Top Team’s main headquarters, there are 18 other locations in the Sunshine State and training centers in Connecticut, Georgia, Colorado, Oklahoma, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and Illinois.


What Separates ATT From Everyone Else?


“We have many world-class fighters and a lot of great coaches, and they all give you little bits and pieces. My fight game is like a mosaic—you take a little piece from each guy and put it all together, and then you have your painting.”—Mike Brown


Arizona Combat Sports

Location: Tampa, AZ
Trevor and Todd Lally


Fighters Who Train at ACS


• Jamie Varner: UFC Lightweight
• Pat Runez: UWC/PFC Flyweight Champion
• Ryan Diaz: KOTC Bantamweight
• Estevan Payan: Bellator Featherweight
• Jacob McClintock: Bellator Welterweight


What You Don’t Know


• After sharpening their MMA skills at AZ Combat, former ASU wrestlers CB Dollaway, Ryan Bader, and Aaron Simpson left the team in June 2010 to start their own gym. However, the next generation of former Sun Devils is beginning their careers at ACS including John Moraga, Clifford Starks, and Pat Runez.


What Separates ACS From Everyone Else?


“We don’t use wrestling to win. We use wrestling to add to our fighters’ stand-up. Most wrestlers can’t strike, and we try to teach them to use their strengths to build up their weaknesses.”—Trevor Lally


If there’s one thing we love about living in the South, it’s sweet Southern belles like Athens’ own Charlie Brooke. Don’t let the puppy dog eyes fool you, this is one Georgia girl that isn’t afraid to bite.


You’re an Athens girl huh?Is it safe to assume you’re a ‘Dawgs’ fan too?


Oh yeah!


Did you make it to the game last weekend?


No, I was working for AXE that night, but I saw a lot of it on tv.


How long have you lived in Athens?


Well, I was born in Lawrenceville, but I spent most of my life about 10 minutes outside of Athens


Southern girl through and through, excellent. What do you do for fun in Athens?


I like to go to the clubs here and in Atlanta and dance. I love to go camping, and I love to cook. Especially baking, I absolutely love baking. Working out is kind of a hobby of mine too. And I go to a lot of the MMA fights in and around Atlanta.


So you are an outdoorsy girl that likes to party and cook. That’s a pretty formidable combo. Do you have a nerdy side at all?


Oh, definitely, I love playing Wii, and Forza Motorsports on the Xbox, and i’m on my laptop all the time Tweeting & Facebooking. I think that’s pretty nerdy.


Are you a badass at Forza? Could you hang with The Stig?


I’m out of practice but I’m pretty good. I can definitely hold my own. I’m really good at Wii boxing too.


Are you saying you can throw a mean punch?


OH Yeah!


Speaking of punching, how is ring card business going?


Well, I was working for Sin City Fight Club, which became  Sport-FightX, but it recently came under new ownership. I’m not sure if they’ll be using me anymore for their fights.


I think they would be wise to. Maybe after this you can negotiate a new contract.


Yes! Sounds like a plan.


So you’re a fan of the sport though, obviously?


Oh, definitely.


Do you have a favorite fighter?


I totally knew you’d ask that. I’m gonna have to say Urijah Faber.


Faber is a bad mofo. Most girls we ask seem to like GSP.

Yeah, I hear people say that all the time.


Have you been the cause of any bar fights up there lately?


Haha, never! The last thing I need is to get arrested. Last New Year’s Eve, I was working at Flanagan’s though, and we had like three fights that night, it was practically a brawl. I am always the first one there to cheer them on though.


Trouble with a capital “T.”


A troublemaker with her heart in the right place!


That’s great actually. No one wants a boring girlfriend.


Definitely. I’m the bad girl that you can still take home to Mom.


Heard any bad pick up lines lately?


Yeah, “Did it hurt?” “What?” “When you fell from heaven.” I mean, really?


That’s pretty bad but I’ve heard worse. What kind of guys are you attracted to?


I like guys with a playful personality because that’s how I am. And I like guys that are cocky, because they can handle being made fun of. And they have to be strong, mentally and physically.


Sounds like you’re a woman that knows what she wants and how to look out for herself.


Yep. That’s what happens when you have a cop for a dad and two brothers that are in the Marines.


Please remind us to never upset you. What does your dad think about you modeling and generally causing a ruckus?


He’s not happy when I get into trouble, but he still loves me. I am good when I’m at home, I cook and clean and take care of the family.


Want to send a shout out to your brothers?


Yeah. To all the Marines in VMFA-122 and all our troops at home and abroad, thanks for all you do! Come home safe!


Well said Charlie. Ooh-rah!