You’ve heard the phrase a million times — it’s woven into our cultural fabric. And that velvet voice, dipping into the lowest registers and dramatically preparing for take off:
“And now for the thousands in attendance and the millions watching around the world, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…”
“Let’s get ready to rumble!”
For over 30 years, ring announcer Michael Buffer has been the voice of professional boxing; the master of ceremonies of NFL, NHL, and NBA playoff games; and has made countless movie and TV show appearances. Along the way he has accumulated unbelievable wealth and recognition, all from a five-word phrase.
Meet the man with the best job in the world, the ever-suave Michael Buffer:
1. Buffer has a Net Worth Over $400 Million
According to ABC news, in 2009 Michael Buffer had a net worth of over $400 million:
“By trademarking his catchphrase, Buffer has generated over $400 million in revenue, selling the rights to music, video games, merchandise and while making personal appearances. His business venture is so successful, Buffer doesn’t even have to say his catchphrase to make money. He makes more from the trademark than he does announcing in the ring.”
Philadelphia, PA native Buffer, who usually makes between $25,000 and upwards of $100,000 per appearance, has been paid up to one million dollars for a night’s work.
“It’s become lucrative for me now,” Buffer, 70 years old, told boxing-monthly. “I came up with a catchphrase that’s become a trademark that has turned into a business all its own, so I’m blessed in that way. “
You, sir, are blessed.
2. Buffer Tried Other Phrases Before Settling on his Famous “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble”
Following his discharge from the army, 23-year-old Buffer went to work as a used car salesman. After 10 years selling cars, and finding himself unemployed, Buffer landed some local modeling gigs in the New York and Philly area.
The modeling led to commercials; the commercials to acting; and finally, the chance occurrence of watching a lousy ring announcer on television one day with his son.
“My son, Michael – not a junior – was a very astute sports fan, and when that happened he said: ‘Dad, you could do that! [the announcing job]’,” Buffer said to told boxing-monthly. “And I thought: ‘Well, that’s not a bad idea. It might be fun.’ And that was the beginning.”
Before settling on his traditional “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble,” Buffer had tried:
‘Man your battlestations, because we’re going to war’
‘Batten down the hatches’
‘Fasten your seatbelts’
3. Buffer Had Throat Cancer
In 2008 Buffer was diagnosed and treated for throat cancer. Although the first diagnosis demanded an aggressive approach with surgery followed by chemotherapy; a follow-up diagnosis revealed that a far less invasive surgery, one that would save his voice, would only be required.
“I am recovering well and feel stronger every day,” Buffer said in a statement released after the operation. “The early detection prevented any spread that would have jeopardized my vocal ability. My physicians are not sure of the cause as many things can contribute to cancer but one very distinct possibility is smoking. After a decade of smoking, I quit 35 years ago but the damage may have begun.”
Since the surgery, which removed a lymph node on his tonsils, the debonair Buffer has been back to working the ring full-time– tan and style in full effect.
4. Buffer is Married, With Children
Twice-divorced Buffer has been married to Christine Prado since 2008. Buffer has two adult sons, Michael and Matthew, from his first marriage.
Watch Buffer propose to Christine on The Tonight Show:
5. Buffer Met His Biological Father After the Old Man Saw Michael on Television
After his parents divorced and his father joined the army, Buffer was put into the Pennsylvania foster system and was raised by a bus driver and house maker in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
It wasn’t until his biological father saw Michael on television in 1998 that he reached out to his son and they were finally reunited.
“I’d been raised by a wonderful family,” Buffer said. “I know a lot of people have problems where they don’t get to meet their real folks, but I never had that problem. So when he made contact, I thought: ‘Well, this is interesting. If he’s a nice guy, we go from there. If he’s not, I just walk away, it doesn’t make any difference.’ It turned out he was a super guy. He has two sons – he’s been married for over 40 years to a lovely lady who’s my step-mom. So now I have two sets of parents, and one of my brothers [Bruce] is now my manager and business partner.”