A ring announcer is a paid in-ring (and sometimes, on-camera) employee for a boxing, professional wrestling, or mixed martial arts event or promotion. The primary duties of a ring announcer are as follows:
- To introduce the participants involved in the scheduled matches to the viewing audience, be it strictly an arena audience (as in a professional wrestling house show), or a live televised event.
In boxing and mixed martial arts bouts such as UFC, fight introductions take place after both fighters have made their entrance and are inside the fighting area (the ring, cage, or UFC's trademark Octagon). The typical format for ring introductions (though wording and delivery style may vary from one announcer to another) takes the following form as in this example introduction of UFC fighter Rich Franklin, written in the style of announcer Bruce Buffer: "Introducing first: fighting out of the (either red or blue) corner, this man is a Freestyle fighter. He stands 6-feet-1-inch tall, weighing in at 185 pounds. He holds a professional mixed martial arts record of 20 wins and 2 losses, with 10 wins by knockout (At this point, if the fighter being announced holds a championship title, the ring announcer will say what it is in the format of "He is the current, reigning, and defending _____ Champion..."). Fighting out of Cincinnati, Ohio: Rich..."Ace"...FRANKLIN!"
In professional wrestling, the common format used by most ring announcers (which, again, may vary depending on the style of the announcer) usually resembles this written example introduction of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan: "Making his way to the ring (or, depending on where the wrestler is when the ring announcer begins the introduction, "Coming down the aisle," "About to enter the ring," or "Currently in the ring"), from Venice Beach, California, weighing 303 pounds (If the wrestler being announced holds a championship title, the ring announcer will state which title it is at the point in the introduction, in the format of "He is the current _____ Champion..."), Hulk...HOGAN!"
- It is also common for the ring announcer to state the underlying rules of the match to be held. In boxing and MMA, the announcer will state the number of rounds scheduled for the fight, as well as how many minutes each round will last.
In professional wrestling, the ring announcer also will state the stipulation required to win the contest. For example, when a ring announcer says, "The following contest is scheduled for one fall," it is being conveyed that the upcoming match is a professional wrestling match that will be contested under traditional rules that can be won or lost by a single pinfall, submission, disqualification, or count-out. However, as it has been well documented, professional wrestling promotions have invented new match types over the years, creating new stipulations and objectives that a wrestler must perform in order to win the bout. One of a ring announcer's duties is to convey those stipulations to the arena and television audiences before introducing the match participants.
- Lastly, when a bout reaches a conclusion in either boxing, MMA, or professional wrestling, it is the ring announcer's duty to announce the winner. If a boxing or MMA fight lasts through all scheduled rounds, the announcer will read the fight judges' scorecard totals, resulting in the match being ruled either a unanimous, majority, or split decision victory for one of the fighters, or a draw. In MMA, if the stoppage comes due to a submission, the announcer will publicly disclose the time of the stoppage, method of submission or type of knockout, and the victor. In both boxing and MMA, the announcement is usually done inside the ring or cage in most professionally run shows, regardless if amateur or professional bouts were showcased. In Professional Wrestling, the winners name is announced after the bell has been sounded and usually this announcement is performed outside of the ring.
List of notable ring announcers
- Joe York (Boxing, MMA)
- Michael Williams (Boxing, MMA)
- Michael Buffer (Boxing, K1, MMA, formerly WCW)
- Bruce Buffer (Octagon announcer for UFC)
- Joe Martinez (cage announcer for UFC's sister company, WEC)
- Jimmy Lennon Jr. (Boxing, MMA Strikeforce)
- Mike McGuirk (former WWE ring announcer during the World Wrestling Federation era of the late 1980s to the early 1990s)
- Howard Finkel (formerly the sole WWE ring announcer for the majority of their cable television and pay-per-view events; announcing duties now only occasional)
- Lilian Garcia (former WWE Raw ring announcer)
- Justin Roberts (current WWE Raw ring announcer)
- Tony Chimel (current WWE SmackDown ring announcer)
- Angela Fong (former Extreme Championship Wrestling (WWE), WWE NXT, and FCW ring announcer)
- Jeremy Borash (former WCW and (current TNA ring announcer and current TNA backstage interviewer)
- Gary Cappetta (former WWF, NWA, and WCW ring announcer)
- David Penzer (former WCW ring announcer, current TNA ring announcer)
- Bobby Cruise (Ring of Honor ring announcer)
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund (AWA/WWE/WCW; continues to make sporadic appearances for WWE)