Franco Rulloda is the man behind the Coach Franco Says podcast. He is a certified Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Coach by the International MMA Federation, a licensed MMA referee by the Games and Amusements Board, and holds a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu under Alvin Aguilar of Ribeiro International Philippines.
According to the host, the podcast is a platform for conversations. The show’s format started with a guest list of mostly accomplished martial artists and how their journeys affect the way they think, approach life, and how their lifestyles influence their daily lives. As the show progressed, it started to feature other artists (whether they practice martial arts or not) that have interesting stories and unique perspectives worth sharing. As one goes through each of the podcast’s episodes, one could see how Franco now invites more than just the usual MMA athletes as he started featuring guests from the fields of writing, singing, and photography to name a few. In some of his episodes, Franco also voices out his opinions on some boxing and UFC matches.
Franco likes to say that despite the running theme of MMA, each episode is unique. “Everyone has their own story to tell,” he says. “Each guest brings their own flavor into each episode.” He highlights the fact that with each episode he gets a new takeaway, learning lessons from each of his guest’s stories.
Coach Franco Says is held in a casual, conversational style, which makes him distinct from the more formal nature of most podcasts. His goal is to really get more out of the narratives of his interviewees with the hopes of connecting with his audience. Franco’s unfiltered language adds to the personality of the podcast, heightening the conversational experience as he mixes in some humor and expression from time to time. As a matter of fact, he says that “Most of the feedback I get from my audience is they like the raw and unfiltered nature of the podcast.”
To talk about Franco’s podcast would not be complete if we’re not to discuss what Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is—one of many other martial arts like Muay Thai, Karate, Taekwondo, Sambo, etc.
Franco summarizes it as the applied art of leverage, since it involves *subduing the opponent through by means of human manipulation that leads to control, strangulation and/or joint breakage. From a scientific perspective, Franco cites four aspects involved in the sport. First, one goal is to negate the opponent’s ability to stand. Second is to counteract your opponent’s ability to push you back. Afterwards, control is key as you maintain your strength while restraining your opponent. All of this leads to the ultimate goal of having your opponent submit to your force. The sport does not involve much striking. Rather, it emphasizes on one’s expertise with grappling. Opponents yield by tapping, and if they fail to do so they risk physical injury or even loss of consciousness due to moves like joint locks and chokes. Jiu-jitsu is both an offensive and defensive discipline.
Within the sport, there are five belt levels: white, blue, purple, brown, then black. The criteria for promotion may depend on the practitioner’s standards, which is fundamentally focused on the execution and refining of techniques. On the other hand, some gyms base their promotions on competition wins.
Jiu-jitsu and Franco
When asked about his beginnings in the MMA world, Franco said that it is a journey he is still living in, having started out when he was just seven years old.
Franco had the honor to arrange an episode with Saulo Ribeiro, founder of the Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Association. Ribeiro is a 5th degree black belt holder, a six time winner of World Jiu-Jitsu Champion in 5 different weight classes, and is an IBJJF Hall of Fame Member, among others. It was a raw episode recorded in public covering questions pertaining to the discipline of jiu-jitsu and how to maintain the habit. When Franco asked Ribeiro how he started his school—University of Jiu-jitsu—Ribeiro does not refer to it as such, but rather he describes it as a place where everyone attracts the same energy; a place where everyone shares the same passion, and help each other cultivate their passions by putting it into practice while acting as mentors along the way. In his journey of establishing the jiu-jitsu institution, Ribeiro shared that one has to focus on their accomplishments amidst the abundance of negativity one faces almost daily, and to confront adversity with love and passion in order to overcome their shortcomings. The best part is that the sport of jiu-jitsu serves as an avenue for this as Ribeiro had mentioned.
Just like Ribeiro, Franco shares the same philosophy not just in his commitment to MMA, but also in life.
What does Coach Franco Say?
Throughout his career, Franco thought numerous accolades and awards would bring him fulfillment, but in our exchange over email he expressed that it was seeing his students and teammates win their awards, accomplish their goals, and become better individuals that brought him joy.
The fitness and life guru is convinced that what sets him apart from other similar podcasts is the authenticity brought by his intimate and in-depth conversations with each of his guests, and another thing his audience is fond of is given with how they see the podcast as different from the usual Q&A format. When referring to his guests, “They make the podcast shine and their stories inspire and motivate me to do more.“ His audience really gets to know Franco’s guests as if they were part of the hosting.
Throughout Franco’s hosting of more than two years, he’s amazed with the amount of knowledge, wisdom, and perspective he has gained. He even admits that he never thought his podcast would turn out the way it is now.
Visual by: Chloe Gaw