I had the chance to interview former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin before his previously-scheduled fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. As we all know, Nogueira injured himself and was forced to withdraw from the bout. The UFC was unable to find a replacement (although they offered Alexander Gustaffson, a fight Franklin did not take), so the entire bout was removed from the UFC 133 fight card.
Still, Franklin is a thoughtful character and shed some insight of a predicament more and more fighters are facing: what is the opportune time to fill in on short notice for a fight in the UFC? More specifically, as a technically define "independent contractor", does the fighter have an obligation to help the UFC?
Franklin's short answer is that where self-interest with reasonably minor consequences dovetails with the UFC ask, the fighter should accept the bout. And that's really the correct response. Fighters often bristle, quite correctly, they don't have an obligation to the UFC, only to their career. But the reality is the UFC will specifically target fighters in key moments where helping the organization is concurrently beneficial to their career. Rejecting the UFC's offer can be a stunt that attempts to demonstrate strength, but is all too often an act where the fighter cuts off his nose to spite his face.
This interview took place on MMA Nation on 106.7 The Fan: