The words ‘It’s time’ are now synonymous with mixed martial arts thanks to the popularity and diligence of eccentric announcer Bruce Buffer.
As the legendary voice of the UFC, Buffer has seen it all inside the octagon and witnessed some of the biggest moments in the UFC and seen its biggest stars.
Blessed with great taste in suits and a distinctive, booming voice, the 63-year-old is a legend of mixed martial arts.
However, just because he has never participated in a UFC fight does not mean he cannot handle himself.
The legendary story of his fight in a packed lift with UFC middleweight Frank Trigg elevated Buffer to new levels of mystique as rumours of his boxing prowess spread throughout the company.
As part of new original UFC Fight Pass Series show Fightlore, which aired in December, Buffer and Dana White, the promotion’s president gave their first-hand recollections of the wild events in Las Vegas and what really happened.
“We had an Ultimate Fighter TV show and we were staying at the Hard Rock hotel and we had just got done doing the show,” Buffer said.
“I went up to [ex-commentator] Mike Goldberg’s room and Frank was in there and we are friends! We decided we were going to go out, have a little dinner and go to a club.
“When we get to the elevator, the doors open and there is Dana White and his security guard and then Frank walks in.
“I love watches and Dana had this really cool watchband on and I go, ‘Dana, what a cool watch.’
“All of a sudden, I got a wrist hand shot to my neck. I turned around and I said, ‘Frank you hit me, why the f*** did you hit me?’
“He said the wrong thing to me. He said ‘Well what are you going to do about it?’ I just reacted and went ‘pop, pop’ – I punched him twice.
“Frank came back at me, hit me harder and I had to hit him back harder. It was on! 10 floors; what does that take – 15, 20, 25 seconds?
“All 10 floors, we just kept going and going until the point that he threw a knee up and kneed one of my friends! Dana was against the elevator, I don’t remember seeing him. I was too busy focusing on what was going on and the adrenaline was pumping and that was when the doors started to open.
“I just threw my arms in the air and I said, ‘Frank, we’re done!’ I looked down and there was blood up and down my shirt and my thumb is peeled back and you can see the bone in my thumb.”
Buffer learned martial arts as a 13-year-old living in Philadelphia, earning a green belt in Judo before achieving black belt status in Tang Soo Do.
The former kickboxer may have retired prematurely from fighting, but his boss saw his credentials first hand in that lift.
“Frank Trigg, at the time, was a ranked UFC fighter! He just karate chopped him in the throat,” White said.
“And Trigg said, ‘don’t f****** talk while I’m talking.’ I was like, ‘oh s***’.
“Buffer blasted him and it was on. They started throwing punches at each other and I was like, ‘holy s***!’
“I stepped back into the corner of the elevator and I just f****** watched and let it go.
“They stopped fighting as soon as the elevator doors open at the lobby! Buffer’s hand was sliced open from Frank Trigg’s watch.
“Those two shook hands, apologised to each other and Buffer went to the hospital to go get stitches.”
Bruce is also the brother of famous boxing announcer Michael Buffer, with both men sharing a love of fight sports.
Having started for working for the company in 1996, Buffer has watched the UFC grow into a sprawling behemoth of the sporting world to rival any company and he will be sticking around for a while yet, explaining in August his love for the sport is still as strong.
“When that passion starts to fade, which is not my case, then yes that is the time I will probably announce it is my time to retire,” he said. “But, I would say you are stuck with me for at least another 10 years. I’m in great shape and stay in great shape. I’m lucky to do what I do.”
And it seems as though he has more than earned White’s respect to stay on for the foreseeable.
He added: “I guess one of the things I really kind of liked about it is that Dana saw he doesn’t have a wimp announcing his fighters in the octagon!”