American professional mixed martial arts ring announcer Bruce Buffer, also known as 'the veteran voice of the octagon', will celebrate his 25th anniversary of working with the UFC in February.
Buffer is best-known to fight fans for his famous catchphrase "It's time!" he says while announcing the main event for all UFC events. His voice indeed sends chills down the spine of fans eagerly awaiting to see the fighters throwing caution to the wind inside the octagon. Buffer has the unique ability to fire up the crowd and the competitors in a way very few announcers can.
However, people know very little about Bruce Buffer outside the octagon. The man himself recently had a chat with Lucha Libre Online’s Michael Morales Torres and talked about he ended up in the UFC in the first place. Buffer said that he got rejected by the promotion numerous times before finally landing the job. Buffer further revealed that he was called by the promotion to announce UFC 10, but following the event, the promotion hired someone else instead.
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“What happened was that on February 16th, 1996... This February 16 is going to be my 25th year anniversary in the octagon. And back then when I wanted to get into the octagon, I basically went there with my brother, Michael (Buffer). I tried to convince him to put me in the octagon and it didn't work. They didn't say yes. So I managed a fighter named Scott ‘The Pitbull’ Perazzo for UFC 8, because as his manager, you go down there with your fighter and you participate in the whole bit and I did. I got called back to announce UFC 10 and it's the whole show. I did it. I thought they'd hire me. They hired somebody else after that."
Bruce Buffer then explained how he got asked to feature in the famous TV show Friends as himself and how that led to his hiring in the UFC as the official announcer for the promotion.
"Now a year and a half goes by. I get asked to be a co-star on the famous TV show Friends as myself when I was on the set. I met with the owner, Robert Myer, and I said: ‘Look, I feel like a girl waiting to be asked to the prom and nobody's asked me to the prom. I'm going to ask you one more time. I want to be the announcer the octagon announcer. I will help you build this business and go on to greatness with everything I can give you, with my own sort media contacts’. That was the best poker hand I ever played. I said: ‘If I'm on this show, and I'm co-starring as the announcer, you're on the biggest show on TV. They're going to take care of your announcer. Let's stop screwing around. Make a decision. That happened. I announce every single UFC show from that point forward”.
Not many people know that Bruce Buffer was into fighting since he was a kid. He is a black belt in Tang Soo Do and fought as a kickboxer before being forced to quit the sport after suffering his second concussion at the age of 32.
Bruce Buffer explains how his father introduced him to martial arts
In the conversation with Michael Morales Torres, Bruce Buffer spoke about how his love for martial arts began at a very young age thanks to his father, who was an ex-marine. Buffer also revealed why he finally quit the sport of kickboxing.
“You know, it basically started when I was young man. My dad was very much into boxing and he was he taught hand-to-hand combat in the Marines. He was in the Marines for 13 years. He taught me the dirty tricks before I even went to school for the first grade. He knows what he's talking about. I got into a fight and got beat up when I was about 12 years old and it’s the only fight I actually ever lost. But it made me think twice about myself and I went into Judo and I achieved a green belt in Judo. Then we moved from Philadelphia out here to California, to Malibu of all places. I met Chuck Norris's students and fighting partners and I started training in Tang Soo Do, which was his style. I've trained in other styles like Wing Chun and many different styles. But kickboxing was something I loved because whether I had a regular fight on the beach or in the street, or I was doing point fighting in the dojo."
Buffer said that he liked kickboxing because it gave him a sense of satisfaction. He said that he wanted to hit or get hit for real and used to train at least five times a week when he was a kickboxer. However, before he could turn pro, Bruce Buffer's doctors advised him against fighting any further and the veteran voice of the octagon reluctantly agreed.
"The point finding was not giving me the satisfaction that I needed. I wanted to hit for real and get hit for real. Knock somebody out or get knocked out. And so I kick box heavily. Training five times a week. Sparring every week. Smokers, you name it, but I was never a pro. I was going for one pro fight. I was going to have one and just say I did it and I got concussed twice during my training period. The doctor said: ‘At 32 that's how you make money or no?’ I make plenty of money doing this. He said: ‘Don't do no more punches to the head’. Or you'll be talking like you're talking now when you're 45 and it won't go away. So I stopped that. Still continue to train, but I proved myself that I know what I can do and I'm done. It's all good."