From modest beginnings to building a multimillion-dollar business, Franco Richard wanted to play for a living. See how he turned his life saving into millions betting on combat sports and built one of the largest companies in combat sports.
Franco, a French-speaking Quebecer, was born and raised in Saint-Alexandre-de-Kamouraska, Quebec, a rural French Canadian town of about 1,500 people located on the southern slope of the St. Lawrence River 200 km northeast of Québec City, the youngest of four children of France St-Pierre and Robert Richard. His father was a papermaker and maple syrup producer, and his mother was a stay home mother and librarian. Franco describes his parents as being very involved in his upbringing and being exposed to a variety of interests: he recalls being pulled out of school to go to science museums or to listen to a specific author read at a bookstore.
As a child, Franco had a difficult childhood attending preschool with problems with concentration and discipline caused by ADHD. After his parents had been advised by a doctor to give him some Ritalin pills, they decided to enroll him in martial arts hoping to direct his excess energy and assertiveness in a positive manner. As he grew up he watched fanatically old Kung Fu films by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li, which was his inspiration to learn martial arts. Franco was so inspired by them that while he was playing with friends, he would imitate the martial arts moves that he had seen, practicing everywhere he can. In addition to his studies and martial arts, Franco also took private piano lessons every week under the rules of his mother who must have known from an early age that Franco had a streak for the arts and showmanship.