How Bruce Buffer met his brother Michael, at age 30

Bruce Buffer is the greatest announcer in MMA, and his brother Michael Buffer is the greatest announcer in boxing, or anywhere. It is easy to imagine the two of them growing up and practicing with each, like the Gracie family with Jiu-Jitsu.

The truth however, is that the pair did not even meet until younger brother Bruce was 30.

SI’s mighty Jeff Wagenheim has the story.

Bruce and Michael did not grow up together. In fact, it wasn’t until Bruce was 30 and Michael in his 40s that they learned they were half-brothers, both offspring of the father who raised Bruce and whom Michael did not know. The family reunion came about because Bruce, a lifelong boxing fan whose grandfather — and Michael’s, too — was the bantamweight world champion Johnny Buff, got to wondering about the man with his last name who was introducing the fights he liked to watch on TV.

“I used to get butterflies in my stomach every time I saw his name flash on the TV screen,” said Bruce. “It just didn’t make sense to me. I’d seen just about every phone book in the country, from working in telemarketing, and had often looked up my last name. You didn’t see the last name ‘Buffer’ every day. “

Bruce mentioned his curiosity to his father during a car ride, “and it was a good thing he was the one driving, instead of me, when he told me what he told me,” said Buffer. “I had no idea he’d been married before marrying my mom, much less that he’d had a child. I was, like, ‘What are you talking about?’ I mean, I’m not 12, I’m not 8, I’m not 2, I’m 30, and I’ve already got my life going on a path. Where do we go from here?”

Buffer weaves the story of that rerouted path in his new autobiography, It’s Time: My 360 Degree View of the UFC (Crown Publishing). How he tracked down Michael at an arena where he was working a boxing card, and got him on the phone with their dad that very night. How the brothers became friendly, and Michael eventually entrusted Bruce, who’d built lucrative telemarketing companies, with managing his career and helping him trademark his famous catchphrase, “Let’s get ready to rumble.” How Bruce followed his brother into the UFC octagon, where Michael had announced a couple of fight cards. How Bruce has grown with the behemoth mixed martial arts promotion and become an icon himself, a jumping, spinning, in-your-face voice of the octagon.

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Bruce Buffer’s book It’s Time!: My 360-Degree View of the UFC will be released May 14.