Many people would wonder at the ease of repeating a simple 5-word sentence probably once a month, and smile to the bank every single time. That’s the curious case of Michael Buffer, who is perhaps the most recognizable voice in the world of boxing and sports as a whole. The legendary ringside announcer has made his “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” synonymous with the start of truly great sporting moments and is the go-to guy to bring the excitement to any sports era.
That’s not the fun part. The most amazing part of this is that he has built an astonishing $400 million fortune by saying those 5 words. It is estimated that he makes an average of $25,000 – $100,000 per every ring intro, and has been said to have earned $1,000,000 at times.
“Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” for 40 years.
But, who is the man, Michael Buffer? This article tries to answer that question.
Buffer or Huber, the beginning, the man, the myth
Most people know him as Michael Buffer, but that was not his birth name. He was called Michael Huber throughout his childhood and teenage years until an Army officer noticed that his birth certificate said “Buffer”.
Buffer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his parents divorcing when he was only a child. This meant he was raised by a foster family. He enlisted in the army in 1965, enlisting because of the Vietnam War. He left the military in 1967, after service and the next 15 years of his life were not something Hollywood would make a film about: it was ordinary.
The moment that changed his life
Buffer said in an interview once that “I found out that that was pretty standard”. This was his eureka moment while watching a boxing match in the early 1980s that put things for him in proper perspective. He noticed that the ring announcer kept killing the crowd’s excitement by fumbling his words and making errors. He felt he could do better, and quickly saw an opportunity.
He sent printed headshots to local casinos scheduled to host boxing matches, pitching his unique skillsets to them, but most ignored him. The Playboy Hotel & Casino, based in Atlantic City, New Jersey, were the only one to reply him, and the rest is history.
He started gaining reputation as an energetic, exciting and entertaining presence in the world, and soon achieved worldwide fame and acclaim by travelling around the world to utter these famous five words.
He didn’t make $400 million by only saying only those 5 words
In 1989, Buffer ended up meeting his half-brother, Bruce Buffer, with the pair going on to become one of the most iconic star/manager combos in history. Bruce helped Michael Buffer trademark his famous quote, shortly after they started working together in the mid-90s.
Midway, the game maker also paid Buffer $100m to use the legendary phrase in perpetuity and is now being used in songs, video games, movies and more. The great part of the deal is that he can still use the phrase for other clients and get paid without jeopardizing his agreement with Midway.
Bruce has also become a famous ring announcer in his own right, headlining over 200 UFC events, and saying his own words, “It’s Time!”, but Michael Buffer is still the more recognizable Buffer.
Still standing physically fit, wiry and tall at 77, there are still many fights left in him, and his story is a reminder to all and sundry that it is never too late to make that move, and change careers. He also suffered a lot of rejections, but that didn’t deter him. He was close to 40 before he started his career, and is still going on strong at nearly 80.