UFC announcer Bruce Buffer recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about catchphrases, nicknames, and his Oscar pick for Best Picture.
Entertainment Weekly: You are referred to as “The Veteran Voice of the Octagon.” When did you actually get started announcing shows?
Bruce Buffer: I started in 1996, that was my first show—UFC 8. Then I did UFC 10. Then I guest starred on Friends, and right after that they asked me back for UFC 13. On the set of Friends, the then-owner of UFC and I had the discussion where I said, “Look, I’ve been waiting like a girl waiting on a date to the prom. I’m happy to do the shows, but I want to do every show because I want to do more than just be your announcer. I want to help build the sport with my media contacts. I love it, I believe in it, and let’s make a deal.” That was the best poker hand I ever played. I basically announced every show from UFC 13 on. I’ve missed three shows in the last 17 years...
Personalities have really taken over in the UFC, because there are so many interesting characters. That has helped build the popularity of the sport. The other key factor is that all these athletes are very approachable. That’s very key. You can’t easily walk up to LeBron James, as great a player as he is, and get his autograph in a hotel lobby. But Jon Jones will sign every autograph. And I’m not putting down the NBA or any other sports, but there is an amazing approachability and congeniality amongst the fighters. That gives the fans a better experience.
EW: What should people be looking for this Saturday night?
BB: The main event between Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson definitively stands on its own. It’s going to be a great fight. Josh has been in MMA for a while, and he’s had a real resurgence. He’s better than ever and his confidence level is so high. Benson is one of the coolest cats and champions I’ve ever met. I can’t see a hole in his game at all. You’re going to see two warriors, one an extreme veteran and another great former champion. You can’t pick these fights. Anybody can win on any given night. I’m really looking forward to this fight.
EW: One last competition I’d like to ask you about: As a film buff, do you have a pick for the Oscar for Best Picture?
BB: Those are all really fine films. Captain Phillips was amazing. American Hustle was a tour de force for the actors involved. But I think for the overall scope, I would say 12 Years a Slave has a really good shot at being the best picture of the year. It’s a hard subject, but it’s a subject that all of us should be aware of. A very powerful film with powerful performances.
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