This interview was originally conducted by me for FanIQ.com
“Ladies and Gentleman, We are live!” These are all words you have heard before if you are a fan of the UFC and mixed martial arts. Bruce Buffer is widely known as the “veteran voice of the octagon,” but he is also a very successful business man and entrepreneur.
An avid fan of the sport, Bruce has a unique insight and he took the time to answer a few questions regarding the UFC, World Series of Beer Pong, and many more topics. Enjoy!
Josh Sanchez: How did you first get the gig as an announcer for the UFC?
Bruce Buffer: I managed a fighter into UFC 8 in Puerto Rico and before I left for the trip I called and convinced the owner to let me announce the preliminary fights and told him I was packing my tuxedo and would be ready to go, to which he agreed... then I didn't get called back until UFC 10.
I didn't hear from the UFC until I was asked to play myself on the TV show FRIENDS as the UFC announcer and it was there on the set while filming that I convinced the owner that I should be the announcer for all the UFC's and he agreed.
Sanchez: What has been the biggest change in the UFC since you’ve been around?
Buffer: The biggest change is that it has gone from "Spectacle to Sport" and it is now mainstream with people beating the doors down to do business with the UFC due to it being the fastest growing sporting brand and event in the world.
Hearing the fighter’s names becoming household names is amazing. It has been a true evolutionary process for all of us and it is not over yet.
Sanchez: Any fights that you were present for that absolutely stand out?
Buffer: I've forgotten more than I can remember as I've pretty much seen them all...I need to write my book so I can remember all the great experiences I've had over the years, not just in the UFC but many other adventures elsewhere also.
Sanchez: What fight are you most interested in seeing in the future, and what do you think the fans want?
Buffer: I would enjoy seeing GSP [Georges St. Pierre] fight Anderson Silva, and I am really excited about Silva vs. Forrest in August. Many fans would like to see Fedor in the Octagon, as I would too, but I don't feel his entering the Octagon will add significant increased commercial success to the UFC beyond what it has.
I think it is much better for Fedor to be in the Octagon to help make him a household name to the UFC fans.
Sanchez: How did you get the habit of quickly turning to each fighter before announcing their name?
Buffer: It's blows me away how much attention there is to the way I move in the Octagon when announcing as I've been moving this way for years.
I hate to stand still and announce like everyone else...this is the UFC, the greatest event in sports and deserves the most excitement that can be generated when announcing these great main events that happen in the Octagon.
One night a few years back I was looking at the red corner when I was announcing the blue corner and my immediate reaction was to spin 180 degrees to face the fighter I was announcing... that was the birth of the 180. For me, it's not what I say; it's how I say it as I'm not phrase driven.
Sanchez: I hear that it’s possible we could be seeing a “Buffer 360” for the main event at UFC 100. Is that true?
Buffer: Anything is possible, but that will be decided at that exact millisecond that I do it or not, because it cannot be rehearsed. I have to feel it and I feed off the energy of the fans and the event at hand at every event... although UFC 100 would be the perfect time and if done once, you probably will never see a 360 again.
Sanchez: You’ve got some other organizations you do announcing for whether it’s the K-1 events, Abu Dhabi Combat Club, but the one that sticks out…you’re the official announcer of the World Series of Beer Pong. What goes on there and how would you rate your pong skills?
Buffer: I have never played Beer Pong as after one or two beers I'm usually done... I got a call and a nice financial offer to fly into Vegas and announce their main event only between the two finalists.
But it was exciting due to the fact that the ballroom was full of beer drinking fraternity brothers and others from universities around the country and when I walked in the room they went ballistic, which shows how popular the UFC is to college students, so I gave them my all and it was a blast.
Sanchez: Speaking of World Series events, you played on the final table of the World Poker Tour for the season three invitational and placed sixth. When did you get into poker and how often would you say you play?
Buffer: My father taught me poker at a very young age and I've been playing for money since I was 14 years old. No Limit Hold Em has been my game for the last five years and I play most every day, whether on the computer or live.
Like most, I dream of winning a World Series of Poker bracelet among other poker events like the WPT. I play at http://www.RumblePoker.com and Full TIlt on the Internet. Poker is a great game and feeds my need for competition a lot.
Sanchez: You are a very successful business man and CEO of your company Buffer Enterprises, Inc. Can you give the readers a little insight on what the company does?
Buffer: My company is involved in various areas of sports and entertainment marketing and also management of my career ad my brother Michael Buffer's career. I've been Michael's manager for close to 20 years and also oversee all product, event and promotional licensing and development surrounding his famous "Ready to Rumble" trademark phrase, such as our recent video game released on the Nintendo Wii in March.
I like working because I love what I do, which I wish everyone could say when talking about their avenues of work.
Sanchez: Outside of MMA, what other sports are you a big fan of and who are some of your favorite franchises or players?
Buffer: I don't bet on sports anymore like football so I only watch the NFL during the playoffs and Super Bowl and really don't watch other sports except for surfing, which is my personal favorite sport of any I have ever done as I grew up in Malibu since I was 15 and surfed most of my life.
I respect and appreciate all sports and enjoy watching anyone compete at their best so when the time calls for it, I'll watch it.
Sanchez: You have a great quote: “I live, eat and breathe in this world of sports and entertainment every day. Some people say show me the money! I say show me the Rumble. In business, you can have a diamond in your hand, but if not marketed correctly, it just becomes another piece of coal.”
Do you have any other advice that you’d like to give before we go?
Buffer: When deciding on the paths one has choices to take in life, if possible always follow your passion. Treat all you meet with respect, be honest, be tough, be focused and believe in yourself.
It doesn't matter if you want to be a fireman, a corporate CEO or the best retail clerk in the store in which you work, just pursue your goals and observe, learn and analyze what it will take to be the best to get there and go for it.
Sanchez: Thanks a lot for your time Bruce, I appreciate it.
Buffer: Thank you Josh, appreciate the interview!