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A ring announcer is an in-ring (and sometimes on-camera) employee or contractor for a boxing, professional wrestling, or mixed martial arts event or promotion, who introduces the competitors to the audience.
In boxing and mixed martial arts bouts, introductions occur after both fighters have entered the ring or cage. Along with each fighter's name, the announcer typically also announces their height, weight, town, nickname, win/loss record and any current or past titles the fighter has won. In MMA, the fighting discipline is usually announced. In professional wrestling, wrestlers are similarly introduced, though usually before or as they come to the ring. In-ring introductions are sometimes used for title matches or other major bouts, to add a "big fight feel".
The ring announcer often states the rules of the match. In boxing and MMA, this is usually limited to the number of scheduled rounds and the length of each round. In professional wrestling, the variations are much more numerous and so the announcer may have to explain significantly more to the audience.
When an MMA or boxing bout concludes, the ring announcer announces the winner, time of finish and method. If the fight lasts all scheduled rounds, the announcer will read the fight judges' scorecard totals, before announcing a unanimous, majority, or split decision victory for one of the fighters, or a draw. This is typically done from inside the ring or cage.
In professional wrestling, the announcement is usually performed outside of the ring, and typically doesn't mention the time or method of victory; however, as professional wrestling shows do incorporate an official timekeeper at ringside, much like boxing and MMA, some ring announcers may be informed of the time of the fall at the match's conclusion and will relay that information to the audience as well.
Even further to this, some professional wrestling matches will stipulate a time limit, the confines within which a wrestler must win if he wishes to avoid a time-limit draw. In cases like this, the ring announcer may inform the audience of how much time has passed (and will ordinarily do so every five minutes) and how much time remains.
In a championship match, the announcer specifies that the winner is either still the champion or the new champion.
List of notable ring announcers
- Michael Buffer (Boxing, K1, MMA, formerly WCW)
- Bruce Buffer (UFC)
- Bret "Hollywood" Freeman (Cage Rage Ultimate Challenge, Cage Warriors, Cage Contender and IFPA)
- Joe A. Martinez (WEC, Cage Warriors Fighting Championship, Solo Boxeo-Tecate Golden Boy Promotions)
- Jimmy Lennon Jr. (Boxing, MMA Strikeforce)
- Lenne Hardt (MMA PRIDE, DREAM, ONE FC, GLORY)
- Cyrus Fees (MMA, Kickboxing XFC, SUPERKOMBAT Fighting Championship, Cage Warriors Fighting Championship)
- Jeremy Borash (WCW and TNA)
- Gary Cappetta (WWF, NWA and WCW)
- Tony Chimel (WWE and NXT)
- Howard Finkel (WWE)
- Lilian Garcia (WWE)
- Christy Hemme (TNA)
- Mike McGuirk (WWE)
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund (AWA, WWE and WCW)
- David Penzer (WCW and TNA)
- Justin Roberts (WWE, ECW and NXT)