Paul Buentello, Ricco Rodriguez, Guy Mezger, Dean Lister and about four hours’ worth of pouring rain produced one of the most bizarre fight cards in MMA history.
King of the Cage 7’s 13-fight card in 2001 had a handful of relevant names in the MMA world, and with a heavyweight bout tying the February night together, it was the kind of card that can take a growing promotion to the next level. While it was a memorable night for the promotion, the legend of KOTC 7: Wet and Wild set a new standard for Murphy’s Law.
Doing his best to tie together the disastrous night was “The Voice of the Octagon”, Bruce Buffer.
“It was the first-time experience for sure,” Buffer said. “I’m out there in an overcoat, it’s raining, we got to the point where it got so slippery in there that fighters were slipping in the rain similar to a scene from a film I was in, called ‘Here Comes the Boom.’”
Unfortunately for most on the card, this movie-quality disaster that was KOTC 7 was worst case scenario. While the night did see one bout that has been subject to numerous fixed fight allegations when Rafiel Torre defeated Ioka Tianuu by way of kneebar, the card was full of up and coming talent looking for their big break. Commentator Eddie Bravo explained before every fight each fighter’s experience and specialty making it very clear they had all trained for every type of circumstance… for an indoor fight.
With only one KO on the card, there was virtually no standup game. If you came from a striking dominant camp you were out of luck. Southern California or not, mother nature shows no mercy. Not even for the pioneers trying to pave the way for one of the fastest growing sports of all-time.
“It’s just an example of the early days of mixed martial arts and the sport as we all grew. It showed the danger of having shows outside when we don’t always know what the weather’s going to be like,” Buffer recalled. “It just shows the beauty of the indoor arenas, of course.”
Buffer recalls that unpleasant night clearly and remembers it differently than most people in attendance. While it was one of the most uncomfortable nights of his career, he was repeatedly comforted knowing he wasn’t a fighter.
“It was definitely an experience,” Buffer said. “Not just for me as an announcer but also for the fighters fighting. I would not have wanted to have been a fighter fighting that night trying to get a foothold on the slippery floor.”
When you revisit any regional event and see and hear Bruce Buffer, you’re likely to get an immediate feeling of, “what hasn’t he done?”
The question is quite justified. Nearly every iconic moment in combat sports has featured the presence of a Buffer. In 2020, Bruce Buffer is arguably more famous than many of the fighters he has announced throughout his career and he has no plans of leaving mixed martial arts any time soon. For every “Bruce Buffer was there for that too?” moment a fight fan will stumble upon, there will be three more in its place in the future.
Thankfully, with the years of experience, Buffer now has the brand and financial cushion to refuse outdoor events in February thunderstorms, right?
Buffer assures that, to date, if he signs on the dotted line, you get the full Bruce Buffer experience, rain or shine.
“My job is not to reason why,” Buffer explained. “It’s like Rudyard Kipling said, ‘My job is to do or die.’ Or what I like to say is I’m a media mercenary when I work for the UFC or, in that case, the King of the Cage that night. People I work for point and I shoot. That’s my job. The show must always go on. I don’t complain, I go get the job done.”
It’s this mentality that has gotten “Buff” well over a decade’s worth of work to cement his place in combat sports’ history. It’s this mentality, work ethic and professionalism that has given Buffer a career so extensive that a stormy, cold February night that is tucked away in the archives of early MMA is also simply a stormy, cold February night that is tucked away in the archives of his career.
For more behind the life and career of Bruce Buffer, check out the newest episode of UFC Fightlore!
King of the Cage 7: Wet and Wild here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/40964