Last Updated: May 19, 2024
Info
Category:
Richest AthletesBoxers
Net Worth:
$400 Million
Birthdate:
Nov 2, 1944 (79 years old)
Birthplace:
Philadelphia
Gender:
Male
Profession:
Actor, Announcer, Model, Master of Ceremonies
Nationality:
United States of America
💰 Compare Michael Buffer's Net Worth

What Is Michael Buffer's Net Worth?

Michael Buffer is an American boxing announcer and entrepreneur who has a net worth of $400 million. Michael Buffer is best known for being one of, if not the, greatest ring announcers for boxing and wrestling matches of all time. Buffer became world-famous when he developed his signature catchphrase, "Let's Get Ready to Rumble," which he uses to kick off most major boxing events. As we detail in the next section below, Michael very wisely trademarked his famous phrase. That trademark has earned Michael hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties over the years.

Beyond boxing, Buffer's distinctive voice and charismatic stage presence have led to roles in various other arenas, including professional wrestling events, World Series baseball games, NBA Finals games, and even popular television shows and movies. His style and catchphrase have made him one of the most recognizable figures in sports entertainment.

How much does Michael Buffer make to say, "Let's get ready to rumble"?

Depending on the match, Buffer earns between $25,000 and $100,000 every time he utters those five famous words. On a handful of extremely rare occasions, Buffer has been paid $1 million for a single event.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Trademark and Video Game Earnings

Back in the early 1980s, a 38-year-old had never set foot in a boxing ring. He was a fan of boxing and would watch all the big matches at home on TV, but he had absolutely no connection to the sport and no clue how to break into the world of announcing. The one thing Michael did know was that the way announcing was being done at the time —with no dramatic effect – was prime for improvement. So Michael made a decision. He "enhanced" his resume to show that he had plenty of announcing experience and landed his first gig in 1982. Michael's good looks and showmanship, even before coming up with the famous catchphrase, made him a hit with boxing audiences. Within a year, he was announcing every single boxing match promoted by Bob Arum's Top Rank on ESPN. That gave Michael a national audience at a time when ring announcers were anonymous locally hired talent.

Being a popular announcer was great, but Michael couldn't shake the feeling that he was missing something special. Something that would set him apart from all the other nameless announcers and would simultaneously get the whole arena totally amped up. Michael soon concluded that he needed to come up with a saying. A catchphrase. A slogan. A quote. A tagline… Something he, and only he, would proclaim right before the main event.

At first, Michael tried "Man your battle stations!" Then he used "Fasten your seatbelts!" Neither really resonated with the crowd. Then, one day, Michael remembered a famous Muhammad Ali phrase: "I'm so pretty, I'm ready to rumble. Rumble, young man, rumble". Michael combined the phrase with another famous phrase from New York sports announcer Sal Marchiano: "We're ready to rumble from Resorts International." Buffer felt he was onto something special. He rolled it around his mind for a bit and finally settled on:

"Let's get ready to rumble!"

Michael was the exclusive ring announcer for all boxing matches in casinos owned by Donald Trump throughout the late 1980s and early 90s. Thanks largely to Mike Tyson, this was somewhat of a renaissance era for professional boxing. Buffer rode this wave and built a brand name for himself and his popular catchphrase. Michael was also the exclusive ring announcer for all World Championship Wrestling main events featuring Hulk Hogan and other top WCW wrestlers until 2001 when the organization went out of business.

Over the years, "LGRTR" has landed Michael in a number of ad campaigns, TV shows, and movies, including "America's Next Top Model, Cycle 18", "The Bold and the Beautiful," "2012", "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," "Rocky Balboa," "Against the Ropes," " Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star," "Ready to Rumble," "The Simpsons," 'Rocky V," and "Harlem Nights."

As Michael's new catchphrase became popular, he began to notice his phrase was popping up everywhere. The phrase was being used in newspaper headlines, at car dealerships and in all kinds of advertisements. This is where Michael Buffer made a truly simple yet brilliant business decision: Michael decided to file for a trademark.

Actually, it was Michael's long lost half-brother, future UFC announcer Bruce Buffer, who initially suggested that they apply for a trademark. Bruce conceived of the idea after hearing about how NBA coach Pat Riley had earned a small fortune by trademarking the term "threepeat." Just a few months after the Chicago Bulls pulled off their first of their two threepeats in 1993, the two Buffers decided to apply for the trademark. When the trademark was granted, from that point on, Michael Buffer owned those five famous words. Bruce recently told the Wall Street Journal:

"When I decided to trademark the rumble phrase, part of my inspiration was 'three-peat' and the Riley story. It just solidified that you can do this."

By owning the trademark, anytime someone wants to use the phrase, they need to pay Michael. Since 1992, Michael has earned hundreds of millions of dollars licensing the phrase to be used in songs, video games, movies, TV shows and tons of merchandise. He even earns six-figure paydays for corporate events and speaking engagements around the world. Guess what was the first track on ESPN's platinum-selling 1995 album "Jock Jams, Volume 1"? LGRTR. Guess what was the first track on Jock Jams' follow-up remix album? LGRTR. Dozens of sports teams in the NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB have licensed Michael's phrase to get their crowds pumped up during games. One of the most famous licensing deals was for the video game "Ready to Rumble." After the game was a huge hit, game maker Midway reportedly paid Buffer $100 million to license his phrase in perpetuity.

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Early Life

Michael Buffer was born on November 2, 1944, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His father was active in the United States Navy during World War II at the time of his birth. His parents divorced when Buffer was just 11 months old, and Michael was then raised by a set of foster parents, a school bus driver, and his wife. Buffer enlisted in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and served from ages 20 to 23. After his time in the service, he had various jobs, such as a car salesman, model, and actor.

Boxing Announcer

Michael began his career as a ring announcer in 1982, and by 1983, he was announcing all the boxing matches on ESPN. It has brought him fame and incredible fortune, especially after Michael shrewdly moved to trademark his signature catchphrase in 1984, the aforementioned "Let's Get Ready to Rumble!" After a lengthy process, he acquired a federal trademark for the phrase in 1992. He had started the process of obtaining it in the mid-'80s. Buffer served as the exclusive ring announcer for boxing events held at casinos owned by Donald Trump in the late 1980s. Buffer's announcing work has been admired by many boxing greats, including Sugar Ray Leonard. Leonard once told Buffer, "When you introduce a fighter, it makes him want to fight." In total, Michael has earned $400 million from trademark licensing alone during his career. Buffer signed with DAZN to serve as the only ring announcer for all of its boxing broadcasts. Buffer famously announced on Saturday Night's Main Event XXXV in 2007 at Madison Square Garden in a boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Matt Hardy. On August 25, 2018, he was the announcer for a YouTube boxing match between Logan Paul and KSI.

Wrestling

Until 2001, Buffer was the exclusive ring announcer for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) main events featuring Hulk Hogan and other megastars. The WCW folded, but Buffer still serves as the lead announcer through their former parent company, Time Warner's pay-per-view matches. HBO broadcasts several matches from promoter Top Rank. His exclusive contract previously forbade him announcing for the UFC, but once WCW folded he was able to announce in other wrestling promotions.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Other Ventures

In addition to wrestling and boxing announcements, Buffer has also announced for the occasional MLB World Series, the Stanley Cup Finals, NBA finals, the Volunteer 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway, and NFL playoff games. Buffer announced for the Affliction: Banned mixed martial arts show on July 19, 2008. Later that year, he announced at the 2008 World Series of Poker finale between players Peter Eastgate and Ivan Demidov. He modified his catchphrase to "Let's get ready to shuffle up and deal." In 2017, he was a guest announcer at the 2017 United States Grand Prix. He has also changed up his trademark line to fit in campaigns for Mega Millions ("Let's get ready to win big!"), Kraft Cheese ("Let's get ready to crumble!"), and Progressive Insurance ("Let's get ready to bundle!").

Buffer has guest-starred on talk shows hosted by David Letterman, Jay Leno, Arsenio Hall, Conan O'Brien, and Jimmy Kimmel. He's also been a guest star on "Saturday Night Live," "In Living Color," "Mad TV," and the "Howard Stern Show." Buffer has appeared in many films and TV series, including "Creed" (playing himself), "Grudge Match," "America's Next Top Model," "The Bold and the Beautiful," "2012," "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," "Rocky Balboa" (also playing himself), "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star," "Ready to Rumble," "The Simpsons," and "Rocky V." In 2007, he was in an episode of "Deal or No Deal" on NBC. Buffer appeared in the 2019 remake of "Dumbo" and delivered the line "Let's get ready for Dumbo!"

Personal Life

Michael was treated for throat cancer in 2008.

His fame has aided in reuniting him with estranged family members from his past. He was contacted by his birth father in 1989 after he saw Buffer on television. He was subsequently introduced to his half-brothers, one of whom is Bruce Buffer, now an announcer for UFC. Bruce started out as Michael's agent/manager.

Buffer got married at age 21 but divorced seven years later. The marriage produced two sons, Michael and Matthew. He did not remarry until 1999, and he and his second wife divorced in 2003. While Buffer was making an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," he proposed to his third wife, Christine. They are still married. Christine and Michael Buffer reside in Southern California.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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