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UFC translator recalls ‘hilarious moment’ after Conor McGregor’s broken leg, predicts Charles Oliveira’s post-UFC 289 speech

MMA: MAY 07 UFC 274
Fabiano Buskei, Charles Oliveira and Joe Rogan
Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Winning is not enough in today’s MMA. For Charles Oliveira, it’s important not only to vanquish Beneil Dariush at UFC 289, but to secure a rematch with Islam Makhachev.

That’s where Fabiano Buskei comes in.

Fluent in four languages and the translator for Brazilian fighters in the UFC, he’s the bridge between athletes and fans. When Oliveira angles for the Makhachev rematch in his post-fight interview, it’s up to Buskei to deliver the exact message.

A Las Vegas resident, Buskei was called by the promotion to translate for events during the COVID-19 pandemic. UFC execs liked what they saw and kept him around for more UFC APEX cards. When the promotion finally hit the arenas for shows again, he joined the team.

One of those nights was at UFC 264 on July 2021, when Buskei was inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to translate for fighters. The event was already underway when a member of the production crew asked him to go backstage and translate for “do Bronx.” The UFC lightweight champion was expected to defend his title against the winner of the main event clash between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, and Oliveira was set to go live afterward on ESPN to weigh in on the future fight. Then Poirier won after McGregor fractured his leg.

“My interaction with [Oliveira] lasted minutes, but you have to understand the background here,” Buskei said this week on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. “I’m from Curitiba and had a privileged life. You think of a fighter, you know where he came from, and this guy’s aura. … First, he smiles, and the world opens for him. He has a way of speaking, to express himself clearly, looking people right in their eyes. I thought, ‘This guy has something.’ It was a pleasure to meet him.

“And to add insult to injury, the icing on the cage was McGregor on a stretcher screaming obscenities to everybody,” he said with a laugh. “He was talking so much crap. It was a hilarious moment, and I was trying to focus. I even asked Megan [Olivi] live, ‘Sorry, I didn’t hear what you said.’ She was extremely gracious to me. There was no way I could hear.”

Oliveira burst into the MMA bubble and became a major star in Brazil even before capturing the UFC lightweight gold in 2021. Then he drew millions upon millions of followers on social media and sponsorship deals with his wins over Michael Chandler, Poirier, and Justin Gaethje.

Buskei is amazed by the person “do Bronx” has become.

“He can say whatever he wants, man,” Buskei said. “He came back and dropped [opponents] and won, and the atmosphere was very interesting. Charles is loved by people. I had the privilege to connect him to a little bit because now they know what he says. That really is a big responsibility, because it’s a person, it’s a brand, and I want fighters to profit from it. It’s about paying bills, and they don’t have 25 year long careers.”

On Saturday, Buskei will translate at UFC 289 in Vancouver, and he has an idea of what the former champ will say on the mic if he gets the win over Beneil Dariush.

“‘What happened in Abu Dhabi doesn’t define me,’” Buskei predicted as Oliveira. “‘Any person can have a bad day. But you know who I am. I’m a lion and I’m going all-in. I’m going to take what is mine.’

“That’s what I see. We did just a human simulation of what AI would say is going to be Charles’ speech. ChatGPT just said what he’s say. I assume, based on what I see from him and from what I’ve witnessed alongside him, that the general idea is like, ‘A loss doesn’t define me. I’m always here. That [belt] is mine.’ When you’re a lion, you look at that belt and it says it’s yours.

“The sports wins with that because it’s a rivalry [with Makhachev], a rivalry of cultures and styles, and there’s the Khabib [Nurmagomedov] factor. We know Charles’ trajectory and where he came from. It’s not just two or three fights we had the privilege to see up close, it’s much more than that. And it’s colliding with another story, too. [Dariush is] always respectful, and I absolutely doubt [Oliveira] won’t be extremely respectful with Beneil.”

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