“It means a lot to me when a fighter comes up to me and expresses to me how I enhanced their moment or they can’t wait for me to announce them,” Buffer said. “That’s a defining moment for me; that means I’m doing my job. It means that everything that I put into this job for 25 years is paying off, and if I can raise that level at that moment for the fighter, it’s the highest compliment I can receive. The other highest compliment I receive is when I’m stopped by a kid for an autograph or a picture.”
Buffer recalls two seminal moments from his childhood that stuck with him. One was when he called out to John Wayne after the premiere of the film, True Grit, “Hey, Duke.”
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“He did a 180, looked at me and said, ‘Hey, little pilgrim.’ My jaw hit the floor.”
The other hit even closer to him given his relationship to combat sports.
“I was five years old, and my brother Brian and I were with my dad in a hotel in Philadelphia,” he recalls. “A tall man walked in who I recognized from TV and my dad said, ‘Go say hi to him.’ We said hi to him and he spent ten minutes with us talking to us. And it had an effect on me for the rest of my life. That man’s name was Muhammad Ali. It wasn’t Muhammad Ali back then, it was Cassius Clay. But that was a defining moment for me. So when a kid stops and wants to talk to me or take my picture, this is a moment to have an effect on somebody. This is why I try to be the best role model I can be, because it’s not just about the fans watching who are 30, 40, 50, 60 years old. We have a duty to be role models to these young people watching us and to be the best we can be. And I truly live like that.”