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Let’s get ready to rumble! Inside the ropes with boxing’s ring announcers

With their cartoon catchphrases and quickfire quips, they’re the big-night MCs who bring a touch of razzmatazz to the ring. Alex Pattle gets the tips of the trade from ‘Big Mo’, the youngest announcer on the boxing block, and finds out from fighters and promoters what they really think of these colourful entertainers

Thursday 05 October 2023 10:02 BST
Calling the shots: ring MCs (from left) Bruce Buffer, Kody Mommaerts and Michael Buffer
Calling the shots: ring MCs (from left) Bruce Buffer, Kody Mommaerts and Michael Buffer (Getty)

I fully embrace how ridiculous my job is,” Kody Mommaerts smiles, his whitened grin stretching as wide as a face could allow. “I think you have to understand how ridiculous it is to be able to lean into it, and to be comfortable doing it on this level. I understand that I get into the ring, wear a tuxedo, and yell information into a microphone that you already know. But it works! And it’s badass!”

Better known by his moniker “Big Mo”, 27-year-old Denver native Mommaerts is the youngest ring announcer working at the top end of professional boxing. Ring announcers, also known as “MCs” (masters of ceremonies), are combat sports’ equivalent of the circus ringmaster. They are the men, sometimes women, who usher fighters into the ring, outline the boxers’ backgrounds and accolades, and rev up the crowd with distinctive voices, flamboyant gestures, and pure, distilled energy. Cartoonishly puffed up and preening, they present themselves as carnivalesque characters on nights of commodified violence.

If you’re a fan of combat sports, you’ll be familiar with the golden shimmer of Michael Buffer’s voice, and the iconic boxing moments it has declaimed over decades; or the razor rasp of his younger brother Bruce Buffer, inextricable from the UFC’s rapid rise over the last 30 years. Michael has even trademarked his catchphrase, “Let’s get ready to rumble,” while Bruce’s famous call to arms, “It’s time,” has bred startling success for him on Cameo. And you’ll be hearing much more of Mommaerts’s deep, warm tones in the UK, as the American takes up a prominent place on Sky Sports boxing shows.

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