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Married to the Sport

Beth Franklin reveals what it's like to be the wife of an MMA fighter

If you're an MMA fan you probably know Rich Franklin, at the tender age of 35, has already led an incredibly successful life. The Cincinnati native was a high school math teacher, earned a master's degree in education, and is a former UFC middleweight champ. As if that weren't enough, he even teamed up with Tiffani Thiessen as a super warrior in the 2008 film Cyborg Soldier. But his greatest achievement to date? That's easy, it's marrying his stunningly beautiful wife, Beth.

MF was fortunate enough to sit down with the gorgeous former high school English teacher to find out what it's like to be married to a guy who kicks butt for a living.

You and Rich have been married for several years now. Where did you two meet?
We went to high school together, but didn't start dating until we were getting our Master's degrees. Rich only weighed 155 lbs as a senior in high school but by the time he entered college he looked a lot different.

Up until a few years ago you were a high school teacher. How did the kids react to you being married to Rich Franklin?
My students loved hearing about Rich, so sometimes I even brought in his fights for them to watch during their free time. When he would stop in to visit me, there would be a line outside my door of kids wanting autographs. They were very excited about the fact that their teacher was married to someone "famous".

Is it ever hard to deal with Rich's fans, especially when you're trying to spend quiet time away from the world of fighting?
It does get hard. There are times where I just want to spend time with Rich, my husband—not Rich, the celebrity. When we are with family or trying to enjoy a night as a couple, the interruptions can sometimes be discouraging, but I am always reminded that the fans are the reason Rich is popular—and to them, getting to meet him might just be the highlight of their day, so I can't really complain.

You obviously put an emphasis on fitness and nutrition. What has MMA training taught you about your health regimen?
I have learned that even with great metabolism and going to the gym now and then, you still need a good diet. I used to eat whatever I wanted everyday, but for the last few years I have tried to eat clean during the week and then I relax a bit on the weekends.

When it comes to working out, what do you do to stay in shape?
I took kickboxing classes for five years until our class was canceled. Now, I work out at Powerstation Gym with my personal trainer, Amy Sibcy. I see her two days a week and she does a great job keeping me in shape.

How much of your day is planned around Rich's training and fight schedule?
All of our plans revolve around what time Rich has to be at the gym each day. His training is always the first priority. I am a very independent person, so I keep myself busy while he trains. The closer it gets to fight time, the more hectic his schedule becomes, and the more I rely on my girlfriends to help occupy my time.

When is Rich's next fight? What, if anything, will you do to help get him ready?
Rich doesn't plan to fight again until maybe April or May. The only thing I can really do to help him get ready is to be understanding and patient with his training schedule. I can't possibly understand the stress he is under during his fight prep, but I know there is a lot. I try to put my needs aside as much as I can and I just pray that I will get more time once the fight is over.

Being the wife of an MMA fighter has to be stressful, but what are the some of the positive aspects of being so closely connected to the sport?
The best part about being an MMA wife is getting to travel to new places. We have flown to Vegas more times than I can count, and have also visited cool places like Germany, Ireland, Maui and Alaska.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
In 10 years I would love to have a family. I just have to get Rich on the same page as me on that one! Hopefully we are just traveling the world together and getting to relax a lot more than we can right now.

What's it like watching your husband enter the Octagon?
When Rich is fighting, it's hard for me to breathe. I stay pretty relaxed until he walks out to the Octagon. Then my entire body starts shaking as I try taking pictures. I just worry about him getting hurt. I know he prepares fully for each fight, which is comforting, but it is still really hard watching the person you love getting hit. After the fight, win or lose, I feel a sense of relief and can breathe again.

What's the hardest part about being married to someone who makes a living as a fighter?
This has to be the busiest career anyone can have. From training, to traveling, to appearances, seminars, movie roles, autograph signings—it's never ending. Everyday there are highs and lows. The hardest part is that everyone wants time with my husband, and to me, time is the most important thing we have.

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