While speaking on The MMA Hour, Bruce said, “I don’t feel ill effects right now. I feel good and I think my lungs are 100 percent. I’m ready to roar.”
The 72-year-old announcer was replaced by Joe Martinez at Abu Dhabi after testing positive.
While talking about his experience, Buffer said he felt very bad for about four days. He also believes that his Johnson & Johnson vaccine helped his situation from being worse. He also was able to secure “an IV bag” of the antibody cocktail produced by Regeneron, he said, along with as a regimen of “vitamins and minerals and vitamins packs.”
Considering how he makes his living, the long-term damage many people suffer in their lungs post-COVID was one of his biggest concerns as the severity of his illness lessened. “That’s one of the biggest fright factors I had,” Buffer admitted. “I started feeling it in my lungs and I started coughing and coughing up stuff, like, ‘Oh man, is this going to go where I think it’s going to go?’”
“I don’t want to say it was painful. It’s just that I love being in the octagon,” Buffer said. “I work every night, I go out there to prove to myself, to the powers that be — like Dana, you, and the fans, and the fighters — that I deserve this job. Every night’s my first night when I step in there. It’s been that way for 25 years. So it was like missing the birthday party. It was missing the New Year’s Eve party. It was missing the party. “And Joe [Martinez] does a very fine job. I’m glad that he represents the UFC the way he does. [But] that’s my office, man. And I wasn’t at work and it wasn’t fun.”
Buffer said that he knows he’s lucky considering the many alternative ways his sickness could’ve played out. Frustratingly, he still doesn’t even know how he contracted COVID-19 in the first place. Buffer said he has been an ardent believer in mask-wearing and following proper COVID-19 precautions since the pandemic began. Multiple people who have been with him in recent weeks also ultimately contracted the virus, including Las Vegas-based magician Criss Angel, while several others didn’t, Buffer said.
“All I can tell everybody is that this is not over,” Buffer said. “If I get it, anybody can get it. You hear of people coming down [with it], Bon Jovi, on and on and on. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a celebrity — I’m not particularly a fan of that word, we’re people, we’re all equal in my mind — so anybody can get it. So just play it safe. And it’s no joke. That’s all I can tell you. I’m in really good shape. You know that. I take care of myself. I eat right, I train right, I’ve been an athlete my entire life. Yes, I’m 64. I don’t know what this would’ve been had I not had the [vaccine]. For me, I took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, right?
“The vaccine is not armor to avoid getting it, but it’s armor to avoid going into the hospital.
“My gardener died from [COVID-19],” Buffer continued. “I have six degrees of separation from at least a half-dozen people who have died from it, numerous people in respirators in the hospital. … It’s no joke. That’s all I can tell you. I haven’t had the flu since my 20s, so it was like the worst flu you could have. The body aches, the headaches, all that goes with it. And then after, I think a lot of people probably suffer a little PTSD afterwards.
“It’s like, ‘Oh, yes, I’m clean. But is it OK to go around somebody?’ Now it’s like the fear of getting it again, because I know people who are getting it twice.”
In the end, Buffer is just happy to be able to be back to work on Saturday, where he’ll be introducing UFC 268’s stacked card inside the world’s most famous arena.
His absence at UFC 267 may have marked the end to a iron man run, but he’s perfectly content to kick-start a new streak that’ll hopefully last another 25 years after UFC 268. “Yeah, my Cal Ripken streak is over, in respect to numbered pay-per-views, even though it wasn’t a pay-per-view here in America,” Buffer said. “But you know what? Streaks are meant to be made and streaks are meant to be broken — and I’d like to somebody try and beat that 25-year streak. Good luck to you, my friends. Good luck.”
Are you looking forward to the Buff’s return to the Octagon at UFC 268?
If you want to watch UFC 268: Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington 2, in Nigeria, read this guide.