Business Lessons From The Octagon With Bruce Buffer - Eventual Millionaire :Eventual Millionaire
May 12, Bruce Buffer is the greatest announcer in MMA, and his brother Michael Buffer is the greatest announcer in boxing, or anywhere. How Bruce followed his brother into the UFC octagon, where Michael had announced a couple of fight cards. Bruce Buffer’s book It’s Time!: My Jul 10, Michael Buffer will NOT be ready to rumble at the MayMac fight -- but his Of course, Bruce Buffer is the UFC ring announcer -- "IT'S TIIIIIIME!". May 20, Fans of combat sports are probably already aware that announcers Michael Buffer and Bruce Buffer are half brothers. before boxing matches while Bruce tees up UFC matches with his "It's Time!" As Michael became famous working some of boxing's biggest events, Bruce began to notice.
He held various jobs including a car salesman, then began a modeling career at age 32 before becoming a ring announcer at age Byhe was announcing all boxing matches promoted by Bob Arum 's Top Rank on ESPNwhich gave him a national identity at a time when ring announcers were strictly locally hired talent. He began the process of obtaining a federal trademark for the phrase in the s, acquiring it in Trump said of Buffer, "He's great, he's the choice, he has a unique ability I told my people, 'We got to have him.
Sugar Ray Leonard once said, "When [Buffer] introduces a fighter, it makes him want to fight. However, when WCW ceased to exist, and Time Warner had no more affiliation with professional wrestling, Buffer was enabled to announce in other wrestling promotions.
On the August 18, edition of Saturday Night's Main Eventfor the first time in more than six years, Buffer returned to pro-wrestling ring announcing duties at Madison Square Garden in a boxing match between pro boxer Evander Holyfield who was substituting for Montel Vontavious Porter and pro wrestler Matt Hardy. Buffer appears in the Royal Rumble commercial, in which he begins to say "Let's get ready to rumble! As well as being in the commercial for the event, he was the guest ring announcer during the Royal Rumble match itself.
On July 19,he announced the Affliction: Banned mixed martial arts show. On November 10,Buffer started the heads-up action between the two remaining players, Peter Eastgate and Ivan Demidov at the World Series of Poker final table with a modified version of his trademark statement, "Let's get ready to shuffle up and deal".
Buffer appeared at the University of Kentucky's men's basketball teams' legendary "Big Blue Madness" on October 14, Instead of his traditional "Let's get ready to rumble! He kept up this tradition on Saturday, January 28 when he announced his new rendition again at the perennial Blue Blood rivalry between the men's basketball teams of the University of Kentucky and the University of Kansas.
Thanks so much for listening! Welcome to Eventual Millionaire. You guys know I do this all the time. I never get nervous, but I am so excited.
Bruce does the announcing for UFC. You can check him out at BruceBuffer. He also has an amazing book called It's Time. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. No, sincerely, Jaime, I really appreciate it. You have no idea like I've been tweeting about this and putting it on Facebook because I'm wearing my UFC shirt today.
People know I'm a little bit crazy obsessed. Can you tell me a little bit about — because you've been doing it for 20 years, which is insane. Did you know that UFC would be as huge as it is right now? Yeah, I can honestly say that in my nature in business that I've had the pleasure of picking three things that were gonna be big.
One was of course, as I write about in my book, my relationship with my brother I never knew I had, my half-brother, the famous announcer Michael Buffer, and the brand Let's Get Ready to Rumble. When I started with that, which I'm sure we'll touch on, and then being a martial artist since I was 12 and training in martial arts and having a lot of fights and understanding the fighting mode and knowing what it's like to be hit because you never know who you are till you get punched in the face.
It's a simple adage I always believe. When the UFC came on the scene, I was captivated by it, but it was more of a spectacle back then, and it was a spectacle in the old Bloodsport Jean-Claude Van Damme movie where what style's the best style. The term mixed martial arts did not actually become formed until about seven or eight years into the life of the sport, which started in with the first UFC.
So I actually got my brother involved in it, and then I only had him three shows, and then I wanted to do it, and I went after him. I was allowed to go down there with my fighter, so I called the owner, and this is the thing about business. If you want something, if you want the sale, if you want the job, it's really very simple.
You have to ask for it. Don't wait for people to come to you. People are like cattle. They need to be prodded, okay, whether you're the CEO of a company or you're working down in a shipping room packing boxes, okay. It's just the nature of the beast, so ask for the job. So I did, and he let me announce the prelims, and I thought, "Oh, great. You need me in there. I've got the media contacts. I wanna make this sport big. I do believe in, to your question, Jaime, this is gonna one of the biggest things ever in sports, but there's a lot of refinement needed here, and I wanna be part of that.
So now it's six months go by, and they call me, and they say, "Well, listen, we need you to Birmingham, Alabama, or Dothan, Alabama, in two days.
You can announce all of UFC The other announcer can't make it. I'm in the hospital with my mom, and she just had a major operation, and if you ever see the Rocky movies where his wife, Adrian, she doesn't want him to fight, and she's pregnant. She's in the hospital. She's in a coma. Well, I got the phone call in the room while my mother's recuperating, and she overheard me talking and how they're asking me to come down.
I say, "I gotta talk to my mom. The most important thing to me is my family. She looked at me, and she said, "What was that? She goes like this. It was like Adrian.
You gotta go, right? Boom, I'm outta there. I do the job. I think, "Oh, you're gonna hire me now. They hired somebody else. It was a friend, from what I understand, of the producer. You know that goes, okay, Jaime? Well, he was nervous in the service when I saw him on TV and had a good voice, but he didn't have the other — I could see where I could get at this, right.
So I flew to New York on a business trip. I went to their offices. I pitched them again. I'm doing everything I can. Then they call me, and they say, "We're filming the TV show Friends," which was a huge and is one of the biggest TV shows ever. So I said, "Robert, I feel like the girl waiting for a date to the prom. It's been a year and a half. If I don't get asked out today, I'm never gonna ask again, okay. Let's make a deal. I wanna help you build this fort, build this franchise to be the biggest thing ever in sports, and now you're on the biggest comedy show on TV, and I'm co-starring as myself as the announcer.
They're gonna think I'm the announcer. Announced every show for the next 18 years and probably missed about 15 shows in the last year. Would you have called it quits on asking him if you didn't? I told myself because whenever you set out in business, you need to have the clarification of a goal, and I think time goals are very important because one thing we learn in economics is the opportunity costs of time involved in doing whatever endeavor you're pursuing, much less even a relationship with a boyfriend or a girlfriend, okay.
Do you want this to go on, or is somebody gonna say something now? Get off the stick and marry me, right. So that's basically what I was saying to Robert Meyer. Let's build this thing in a business way, and we'll make it happen, and it was incredible. Then I got a call about six years later where he said, "I've got some good news and some bad news. Yay, okay, so then it was a whole new venture at that point because even though I thought it was gonna get big, it was the fastest-growing pay-per-view to the point ofor more buys, and then John McCain came out with this campaign against us calling it human cockfighting.
As a result, and this is part of the thing in business. You're gonna get knocked down to the canvas, but when you get knocked down to the canvas, if you're not passionate about your business, if you don't believe in your product, you're not gonna get up and do what it takes to win that game again. So now we got knocked down, and DirectTV and the Internet kept us alive.
We went from being available in million homes down to 14, 15 million homes, which drastically reduces the amount of pay-per-view and exposure, right? Yeah, definitely [inaudible] [ These offices used to have 30, 40 people in them.
I would go there in the end, and there was maybe a skeleton crew of five, so the writing was on the wall. That's why it was a good time to sell it. Then we had this incredible finale to the first series and one of the greatest fights ever, and I think at a peak 12 million people tuned in on Spike. So suddenly now we're the hit. Spike makes us, a relationship made in heaven until we get sold to Fox, but that was a matter of money. I think I'm on TV daily on almost a billion TV sets around the world now, which is phenomenal, but I'm upset about one thing.
You know what that is? It's so much fun to open that little check. They can repeat the fights all the time, and no residual fee for any repeat, and literally I'm repeated on TV every day.
I just got back from the gym, and at the gym I'm doing cardio, and I'm watching. God, SAG, where are you? That's insane and really annoying, not that I'm sure you don't get paid a ridiculous amount, so you're happy with that for sure.
I tried to get him on the show. He said, "Anything for you, darling" and then ignored me, which is not good, but anyway, so I heard his whole story, which is so interesting. So you were right there as he was going up and down. Were your emotions going up and down with this, too, because you seemed you were so all in? I'm all in because my job is — the show's not about me. The show's about for me the job that I'm humbled and honored to be able to do, and I've gotta go out there every night, and what I do is I take a mindset, and this is very key when you're in business.
One of the things that happened years ago is that I've owned member companies, my first corporation, when I was 19, okay. When I met my brother Michael, which is my long lost half-brother that I only found out was my brother at 28, I owned two very successful companies: That's a part that I enjoy, but I wasn't passionate, and I think passion's a very big thing. For people in business, when you do get knocked down the way Dana's been knocked down and the Fertittas knocked down, it's not just about the big pocketbook because at one point, that pocketbook closes.
People can only be deep pockets for so long, and they'll stop putting the money in the well. As a business owner and entrepreneur, you need to know not just from a time standpoint when it's gonna work and when it's not, you also have to know from a financial standpoint.
I've been victim of this, too, in the past, because you really need to fail before you really can pleasurably enjoy what success is all about. In this business world today, you can surround yourself with successful people to help you build a business without even having an office to house them in. This is an automated society today, and I like to surround myself with people that are positive and people that are passionate about what they do.
I have a three-foot theory about life that I try to make everybody happy, and I try to make everybody money around me, okay. And enjoy it because if it happens around me in the karmic way that I love to live my life, it will all come back to me in spades.
So I'm interested about making the people around me successful. So when I walk in that Octagon, it's my first night every night, and I go out there with passion. I throw it on the floor. I let it fly. I blow my ACL in the Octagon. I rip my back open. I've done all of that. But you know what, I'm not fighting. Big deal, the announcer hurt his knee. It's like these guys are putting their blood, sweat and tears on the line.
Show must always go on, the oldest adage in Hollywood. Show can always go on no matter how I am. How did you know that this is your thing? So especially when you were 19, business was apparently your thing, but how do you find out that announcing is a huge strength of yours?
My brother Michael, who's the legendary Let's Get Ready to Rumble announcer, one of the greatest announcers of all time, the greatest announcer of all time in my opinion, and somebody just acquainted a phrase. Somebody said once that he's like a fine bottle of Bordeaux, and I'm like a shot of Jack Daniels, and I actually love that comparison.
Oh, my gosh, that's awesome. Yeah, so my dad was a Marine Corps drill instructor, and he was in the Marines for 13 years. I remember when I was a kid, I would walk in a room and go, "Hi, Dad. Let them know you're in the room. Walk in like you own it," right? I used to get this all the time, and he'd say that to me. He said, "Look, when I was a Marine instructor, and I had all these recruits out, and half these guys could just kick my butt and wipe the floor with me, the whole process of intimidation I had was my voice, and that's your key, too, in life.
Your voice is what a business table, when you're sitting in the boardroom, that's what they're gonna notice first. They're gonna notice how you present yourself. It's the same as when the secretary or the receptionist answers the phone and says your company name. That's the first thing people hear. You need to make that impression, son.
Let me hear you say who you are," and it stuck with me. Guy dresses in the finest tux, good-looking guy, looks like James Bond, probably meets amazing-looking women, travels the world, sees the best fights.
Man, what a job," and I found myself actually starting to announce some of the things in the fighters' names and stuff, and I really liked it. Then when I found out that he was my brother after a long story cut short because they put a name Buffer on the screen, and I'm like I've seen every phonebook in the United States. I've never seen my name. Why is this guy named Buffer?
What's going on here?Bruce Buffer reveals how he met his brother Michael Buffer, talks their relationship
I'm driving with my dad, and people are asking me daily, "Is that your brother, that guy that goes, 'Let's get ready to rumble'? He goes like this, "I think that's your brother," right? My dad never told me during World War II he was married for nine months like 20 years old, and when he went overseas and came back, a son was born.
The mother died when the son was 6. He was raised by foster parents under a different name of Huber, but he was never formally adopted, and my dad had lost track of each other. When he went into the Army, they said, "Your birth certificate says you're Michael Buffer. You're not Michael Huber. I woke up every day hating going to work, and I was making incredible money. But I sat in an arena and watched everybody go nuts over him doing his thing, and when he did the rumble, Jack Nicholson and Hulk Hogan would go, "Yeah.
The passion is grabbing you when your mind starts uncontrollably focusing on a business scenario or a product, and you have to ask yourself, "Why am I thinking about this so much," right? Then you start doing your research, okay.
So I sat, and I wrote three pages of notes like put them in the basketball court, put them on the football field, trademark this phrase properly and make it part of American culture on the tip of everybody's tongue. What does the rumble mean? I thought, "Hmm, oh, I know, it's like [sings trumpet call] declaring a call to the pure integrity of the competitive spirit.
I'm making this over here and bla bla bla, but I'm willing to sell those companies and quit with the money I have in the bank. I'm gonna trademark this phrase, and we're gonna make toys and video games and talking key chains, movies, TV, bla bla bla bla. I'm the man behind the man, behind the Rumble. I'm the sheriff, and legally we're ripped off from major companies and corporations because when you're in business, you need to protect the business that you have. In our case it's called IP, which is intellectual property, which Michael is, and I am his brands, but our phrases are considered trademarks and copyrights, and that's the kinda thing that you need to do when you can.
Oh, they sold all that money. I'll just make another phrase and put it on a t-shirt. It's gotta have that kismet. It's gotta have that thing. In this case it had a man behind it. In Herbalife in the old days was a named Mark Hughes. It's on and on and on, and Michael is so associated with the Rumble, nobody else can do that, nor as a matter do I allow anybody to do it. Nice, which is the part that's so important.
So tell me this, though. Well, because a if you ever allow the company to use it, you allow them to use it through a license. You're the trademark owner, but they can use it through a license. Now with the "Let's get ready to rumble," even though he's announced the big boxing fights and other events including WWE and all that, I'm not allotted except one time to be used in a commercial promoting an event.
After that they had to pay a license fee and money. You either get paid for your appearance fees, your spokesperson fees. In the case of a trademark, it's a license fee. When I make a video game like Ready to Rumble, we sold about 3. In order to do that, and here's another thing, and I learned this — can I segue for a second? On the video game thing, I'll tell you a real cool story.
As an entrepreneur, I find this to be a very cool story because I am an entrepreneur. I'm working on a new product right now not even anything to do with the UFC that I'm gonna make an announcement about in three months, completely different. It's completely different, but it's what I do. I run different businesses, but with the Midway video game, I was approached by EA, and they were doing what became Fight Night, and they wanted Michael to be in the game.
They wanna do the Rumble. Well, once you're in the game, you can't do another game. He's already doing the Rumble in that EA fighting game, boxing game. So I said, "Okay, I want this much, but we wanna own part of the game if you're gonna do the Rumble, and you need to license the right to use it. So I held back. We wound up not doing the deal, and I had previously gone to Midway that created Mortal Kombat, and I pitched them on the idea of an arcade-style, over-the-top — Jaime: I love — I'm a video gamer, sorry.
The new one's coming out, or it's already out, yeah. I know, I heard. Okay, yeah, just keep going. I played it last week. Yeah, that was before. It was really cool. So anyway, I said don't do real fighters. Do over-the-top arcade-style caricatures, and that way they won't die. We'll put Michael in it with the Rumble, and we'll keep it alive as a live thing because he does every big fight. Well, it fell on deaf ears, but after I cut the deal with EA, my phone rang, and it was Midway. Now in Hollywood there's a saying, "If it's not their idea, it's not gonna happen," right, so you gotta let go of your ego and play that game.
So they called up, and they said, "Listen, we're creating this game. It's got these crazy arcade-style, over-the-top fighters, and it's gonna be a great party game, and we wanna call it Ready to Rumble, and we want Michael in the game.
I'm saying in my head, "That's the idea that I pitched you guys about six to nine months ago. He's so smart, geez. So we made the game, and I talked them into being an owner of the game, and I also got Michael a great, crazy payday, and together as partners we did quite well on it.
It was very, very exciting. That's called holding out, and I learned that from a story about Sylvester Stallone, which really sat on my mind.
He couldn't even afford to eat, right, but he stood his ground, and they came back, and he became a star in the movie, and it won Best Picture, and he got nominated for Best Actor, didn't win, and on and on and on, and we all know where that success went.
In business you gotta believe in yourself, and you gotta hold out for what you believe in, and you can't hold out for something unless you're passionate about it. What can give for advice, though, for the people that are in that I-can't-eat mode, and even if they have opportunities or don't have opportunities and have the passion but don't have any success, where can they go right then, you know what I mean? You have any advice?
A big example of that would be somebody who's trying to be an actor, which I wanted to be as a kid, too, and then I lacked the passion to pound the pavement to go to the auditions and to go deal with the rejection.
Luckily the position I'm in now, I've made 12 movies and co-starred on different shows, and I'm fulfilling that little void that I had, so I'm very lucky that I got to do that thing. But what I have to recommend them is you have to believe in yourself, but I get back to it again. Set a time goal for yourself, and you also have to survive, and you've gotta take a job that will allow you to pursue that endeavor.
If you're trying to pursue developing a product, then sit down, and again, the opportunity costs, everything in life is very simple. What people make the mistake of doing is they complicate it by thinking they've gotta create originality again. I mean in Hollywood there's 15 plots and ways to tell each story barring any historical reference. In business what changes business?
Well, the Internet changed business.
UFC ring announcer chronicles working on torn ACL, other stories in new book
Fax machines are obsolete. You adapt in business. You adapt to change, but business is still the same. All business is the same. It's just the products that are different. That's all it is. Your theory of marketing should remain the same combined with the other elements of passion and believing in your product and doing your research and surrounding yourself with the best people to work with. So the first thing I would tell you, in answer to your question, is analyze what you need to live and be happy and survive.
Then get a job that you need to do that will fit that mold. Now if you need your days free, you work at nights. If you need your nights free, you work during the day. There's many positions now that you can work out of your house and make money.
There's a lot of things out there that you can pursue.
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In my day telemarketing was a big source of income for people that were not doing it for a career but were doing it to subsidize while they're going to school or they're being actors or while they're building their businesses. Find out something that can provide you with the income so you don't have the pressure of worrying about where your next meal and house payment or rent payment's gonna come from. At least realize that area, and then ask yourself how can I build from here. Now if you have money in the bank, and you wanna roll the dice like I did, fine, but you know what else I did in the first year that I had Michael?
Because I was in big demand in the telemarketing industry for the products I sold. I never was the Wolf of Wall Street where I cheated people like he did. I didn't do all that. They tried to hire me many times, but I didn't wanna go there. I'm not into that kinda sales. I sold products, and you just gotta find the product that works for you, and I found it during that first year.
So I found what worked for me to help me subsidize while I was building the business, and that's the same advice I'm giving out to the young entrepreneurs that may be watching right now. All right, can you give me some tips, especially with you and your brother both have insane voices.
You probably have practiced a thousand times over. I have friends of so many podcasters. I lose my voice constantly. I don't know how to project. Can you give us sort of a top five or three tips that we can do to help our voices and to project? What did your dad tell you, right? How do I have some of that? Well, the first thing you wanna do is be healthy and not abuse yourself. Don't abuse your voice.
If you're a smoker or whatever, you're gonna see different things that happen. That's kind of an obvious thing. When you're doing your podcast, keep a little jar of honey down on the side, and if you find that or maybe in a little sipper, and then if your throat ever gets sore, just take the honey that rolled down your throat. It's a great lubricant for the vocal chords. Also the Santa thing like Halls mentholyptus or Riccola. I'll pop one after a couple of announcements and just enjoy it.
Let it coat my throat. The other thing is that if you have access to a gym, when I'm on the road, I hit a steam bath if there's a gym in the hotel or even a sauna can dry you out, but a steam bath is really good.
Those are little tips. As far as projection, try not to force your talk. First off, you have a lovely voice, okay. You have a very nice voice, so you don't need to overly project, and try to bring it up from here.
Try to talk from your chest, from your diaphragm here, right. That's what singers do. I found when I used to announce, I would always be argh, argh [spoken from throat], and then after the show, I'd be hoarse.
Now I'll do another one. You wanna pay me? I'll do another one. And you said you don't even practice. How do you come up with all that stuff because you're amazing?
Business Lessons From The Octagon With Bruce Buffer
Oh, thanks, that's really sweet. That's probably why I maybe do that so different than everybody else because I wanna do it organically. When I walk out, what I do in the morning of a show, my routine is I like to get a workout in. I like to get what I call a power breakfast: Then as far as an exercise, I don't sit there and announce.
I don't sit in the shower and go, "Chuck Lidell. I go out and feel the energy of the crowd, and that's what gets me going. If you notice, because I'll announce 12 or 13 fights a night, and I'll start off, and then I'll get a little crazier and a little more amped, and then it crescendos into the co- and the main event.
So it's a build-up. When I'm doing my turns in the beginning for the prelims on Fight Pass or on Fox, I'll just kinda go like this, and then all of a sudden that first show of the pay-per-view card will cap, and then boom.
Then I'll pick it up, and then it just starts going, and then I start going with it. If you look at me in between fights like the co- and main event, I'm stretching, and I'm kinda shaking out my legs, and I'm moving around, and I'm just getting into it because I'm getting into a zone. See, there's announcers, and I know I'm an announcer, but I consider myself a performer, and the reason I like to perform while I'm announcing is because it makes it fun for me.
When you travel the world doing 38 shows like I did last year, everywhere from Tokyo to Korea to Brazil to Europe, you name it, and again, I kid. It's like being James Bond without having to kill anybody. It's like I get the call. You're going to Korea. You're going to Brisbane. So I need to enjoy what I do, and I'm having fun. The moment that passion wanes, then you're gonna hear that I'm gonna retire.
I can't fake that. I love the paycheck. I'll be the first one to the bank on Monday cashing that paycheck, but I'm not about the paycheck.
I'm about experience and everything, and that's why I just still treat it like an year-old kid. How has it been that way for 20 years, though? Because usually you hear people, especially doing the same thing, no offense, you're doing the same thing every time.
I totally understand you get the energy of the crowd, but any performer over 20 years usually is kinda like, "Okay, done. I might be doing the same thing, but I'm doing a different show every night, different fights, different fighters, different cities, different arenas, different personalities, different everything experiencing amazing, one-of-a-kind things.