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Bruce Buffer misses first UFC PPV in 25 years after contracting COVID-19 ahead of UFC 267

Gallery Photo: UFC 168 Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A new voice will be heard announcing the fighters at a UFC pay-per-view for the first time in more than 25 years after Bruce Buffer was unable to make the trip to Abu Dhabi for UFC 267.

According to UFC president Dana White, the veteran “Voice of the Octagon” contracted COVID-19, which prevented him from calling the fights on Saturday in Abu Dhabi. He will be replaced by Joe Martinez, who typically serves as the ring announcer whenever Buffer is unavailable to attend an event.

News of Martinez taking over for Buffer on the broadcast team for UFC 267 was first reported by MMA Junkie.

“Buffer got COVID,” White said at the UFC 267 pre-fight press conference. “He didn’t want to make this trip. He’s home relaxing and recovering from COVID.”

Buffer, 64, has been a mainstay at the UFC since 1996 when he announced his first event for the promotion. His incredible streak announcing UFC pay-per-view broadcasts dates all the way back to UFC 11, which is the night Mark Coleman won his second consecutive tournament with the promotion.

Since that time, Buffer has announced every major UFC pay-per-view and numbered event, however that streak will come to an end on Saturday.

Martinez will step in to handle Buffer’s duties with a broadcast team this weekend that includes Jon Anik on play-by-play and former two-division champion Daniel Cormier and Paul Felder handling commentary duties. Jon Gooden will serve as the roving reporter during the UFC 267 broadcast. The event kicks off on Saturday morning with the first fight at 10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT.