Former UFC middleweight champion and current ONE Championship Vice President Rich Franklin was detained at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday after being mistakenly identified as a convicted felon.
Franklin, according to his publicist, Daphne Ortiz, was on his way home to Cincinnati, Ohio, following a trip to Singapore, where he works as a vice president for Asian mixed martial arts promotion ONE Championship and travels to and from every couple of months. He had a one-hour layover in Los Angeles, where he planned to relax, but was instead handcuffed by immigration officials, led through a an estimated crowd of 500 people, and put into a cell without being told why he was being detained.
Officials eventually cleared Franklin – who shares the same name and state of residence as a convicted felon – and sent him back to the pre-check area where he is registered with the airlines.
A quick check of felons registered in Ohio, where Franklin resides, in fact, revealed three individuals that share the same name. Two of them are currently incarcerated, while the third is under Adult Parole Authority supervision.
Ortiz indicated that this case of mistaken identity happens frequently to Franklin when he is traveling, but due to increased security measures in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, this instance was escalated, as he normally isn’t handcuffed and hauled through a crowd to a cell.
While Franklin is understanding of the heightened security measures, Ortiz said that he was embarrassed and upset about being handcuffed and escorted away in front of hundreds of people, many of whom no doubt identified Franklin as a well known former UFC champion and famous athlete.
Although MMAWeekly.com attempted to contact Franklin for comment, he was finally boarding his flight home to Cincinnati and unavailable for comment.