Michael Buffer: Getting Ready to Rumble

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

What five words can make you a £300m fortune and earn you around £100,000 for a big show? That is if you have a distinct baritone voice and can woo boxing fans around the globe with the catchphrase "Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!" the manner Michael Buffer has done for nearly three decades.

The 68-year-old American has gained global recognition for igniting crowds with an electrifying introduction of boxers with his signature, copy written phrase which has earned him celebrity status and fortune and enlistment into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, this year.

Buffer has successfully leveraged his personality as the consummate ring announcer and made a lifetime career out of it with other sporting deals as well as starred on the silver screen. He was the exclusive ring announcer for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) main events featuring Hulk Hogan or other top WCW talent until 2001, when the organisation folded.

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During his career, Buffer has announced the baseball’s World Series, Stanley Cup Finals, NBA Championships, and NFL playoff games. Nonetheless, he sees a deal with America’s most popular match, the Super Bowl, as the icing on his career. “I've still never done a Super Bowl. That's the dream,” he told GQ magazine.

Buffer uses his famous phrase in various licensing deals, including the platinum selling album Jock Jams by Tommy Boy Records, the video games Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast and Game Boy Advance, among others

In addition, he has used variations of the phrase in advertisements, including the popular commercial for Mega Millions in which he says "Let's get ready to Win Big!" and the Kraft Cheese commercial in which he says "Let's get ready to Crumble!"

Ironically, the voice which has earned him global iconic status and massive wealth, almost cost his life four years ago as he battled throat cancer which required life-saving surgery

Life has not been that rosy for sports most famous announcer. Buffer was born and raised in Philadelphia, but his parents divorced when he was 11 months old and was then raised by foster parents. He enlisted in the United States Army during the Vietnam War at age 20 and served until age 23. He held various jobs including a car salesman, then began a modelling career at age 32 before becoming a ring announcer at age 38.

Buffer began his career as a ring announcer three decades ago and by 1983, he was announcing all boxing matches promoted by Bob Arum's Top Rank on ESPN. The following year, he developed the popular trademark catchphrase "Let's get ready to rumble" for which he acquired a US trademark in 1992 for his exclusive use.

He first married at age 21. The marriage, which ended in divorce after seven years, produced two sons. More than 25 years passed before he remarried in 1999. He and his second wife divorced in 2003

On September 13, 2007, while making an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he proposed to his current wife, Christine, with home he lives in Southern California.