UFC legend Rich Franklin hates public speaking, but tore down the house in this TED talk
Rich Franklin isn't a huge fan of public speaking. He's much more comfortable exchanging punches to the head with another man in front of 20,000 people and a few million watching at home than he is getting up and talking before a few hundred onlookers.
Last month, though, the UFC legend found himself in Chicago preparing for a TED talk. Normally, if he has to speak in front of people, he just kind of wings it. This time, his speech had to be between 15 and 18 minutes long. With slides. For the first time, Franklin wasn't talking in front of a bunch of students. This needed serious preparation for an entirely different demographic.
Franklin asked the organizers to at least have a timer on the video screen, so he can see when he should be wrapping things up. They agreed. He was relieved, at least for a few minutes.
"Of course, when I go out there, there's no timer," Franklin told FOX Sports.
The former UFC middleweight champion stole the show anyway. He took a unique idea -- the title of his speech was "How to be a Loser" -- and made it his own April 18 at TEDxUChicago2014. Franklin eloquently spoke about losses in his MMA career, including the two against Anderson Silva, and how he was able to come back from them.
Franklin, 39, knew going in that TED talks are basically motivational speeches for the intellectual set. So, he wanted to turn that on its ear, talking about losing instead of winning.
"The spin is that losing in life is inevitable," Franklin said. "At some point it's going to happen to you. You need to have the tools necessary to come back from that. … The speech isn't necessarily about losing as it is about getting on the winning side of things after you lose."
If you know anything about TED talks, they are typically given by CEOs, politicians and leaders in their field. Franklin has seen several of them online. His favorites were given by Benjamin Zander, the conductor and music director of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and author Simon Sinek.
Franklin, who is in a state of semi-retirement, got the gig through his public-relations liaison, Daphne Ortiz. Other than talking at schools and giving a speech at the ONE FC One Asia Summit last year, the Cincinnati native hasn't had much experience as a speaker, but he's pretty darn good at it. See for yourself by watching the video above.
"I almost can't even bring myself to say these words, but I'm probably going to be doing more of these in the future," said Franklin, who is also busy running a juice business, Zelin, in Los Angeles and also considering an executive position at ONE FC.
Franklin doing more public speaking is good news for MMA. He's one of the best ambassadors for the sport out there right now.