Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 11/9/12
When high school math teacher Rich Franklin had his first professional mixed martial arts fight back in 1999, he knocked out a guy named Michael Martin in 21 seconds with a swift kick to the head. That fight was in front of a West Virginia crowd exponentially smaller than the crowd who'll see him fight this weekend. Since then, Franklin has fought all over the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, plus in Ireland, Brazil, Japan, Germany, Canada. He became one of the most recognizable figures in the exploding sport, winning the middleweight belt and defending it twice before he lost in 2006 to an up-and-coming fighter (and future legend) named Anderson Silva. He watched the sport grow from a fringe sideshow with a barbaric image to a mainstream sport that's one of the fastest growing in the world. He even is in the middle of having a Hollywood movie made about his life. Now he's 38, and he's nearing the end. He'll be fighting 40-year-old kickboxer Cung Le in Macau Saturday on...
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