It was not a good day to be Rich Franklin on Tuesday. The former UFC middleweight champion was flying home from Asia after attending to his duties as an executive One Championship, but had quite the experience at LAX trying to get back into the country. It's something he's had to deal with for a while, but according to Franklin, it had never come close to escalating to the point of being arrested before.
But this time, things were different.
Franklin explained the whole deal to Fox Sports:
"Apparently there's a felon -- and I don't know all the details of the story because every time I come back into the country Homeland Security won't give me details -- but there's a felon who has my same name. I'm not sure if he has the same middle name or not, but he has the same first and last name as me and possibly the same date of birth, but either way it's enough details to kind of confuse you.
"I don't have a problem leaving the country, it's just when I come back into the country and this started probably close to 10 years ago now when I was coming back from Canada and I got stopped at the Canadian border by U.S. Border Patrol and they pulled me aside and asked me a few questions and this is where I learned the information that there was this criminal and all this stuff."
Today I'm coming back and they put an 'X' through my receipt, which is normal. When I fly in the country I have TSA pre-check so I don't have to go through the normal checks but when coming back in through Border Patrol for whatever reason I get asked all these questions," Franklin said.
"Today was no different, this female officer asked me a couple questions about how often I travel out of the country and I had just come back through the country from Asia less than two months ago through LAX so the next thing I know she stands up and looks at another guy and says '10:15' and I thought that was odd because it wasn't 10:15 but it was close enough at the time that I thought she was just giving him the time. Long story short, the other patrol officer -- and this is at immigration in front of several hundred people, who have now gotten off the plane -- the other officer gets out of his booth and handcuffs me. Hands behind my back, handcuffs me."
Franklin figured it had to do with the mistaken identity, but said that no one would answer his questions as he was escorted to a cell, where he was held while they figured out exactly who he was. He said the worst part was that he had been asked by fans for autographs on the plane, and the officer escorted him in cuffs right past these very same people, and several hundred others, on the way to the cell.
Eventually after 15 minutes, he was let go and given back all of his stuff, along with a brochure to file a complaint if he wished.
"At that point I was kind of irritated. I was like give me all my stuff back now," Franklin said. "I flew back from Asia because I'm speaking to the military this weekend. That's why I'm here. It's just crazy to me."
I'm sure glad my name isn't Rich Franklin, that's for sure.