Lem Satterfield

Q&A: “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble’s” Buffer’s going strong at 66

RingTV.com: Your catchphrase being trademarked, what does that mean?

MB: I had it trademarked, yes, did it in the late 1980’s, somewhere along there. I would have to go back and look at the paperwork. I keep that updated and protected. Technically, it lawyer’s speak, it means that the phrase is intellectual property and that’s the same as having written a script or music or whatever.

You have the rights to it and it’s protected under the law because it’s what I make a living with. So it’s a great country. I have it trademarked in a few other countries as well. We’ve never had to be heavy-duty with it.

You only get so many slices to a pie, so the things that can give us difficulty are if some guy in New York is selling cars with his commercial, you know, that might take something off the table for me.

That type of thing. So I have to protect it…so that it’s not being used without my voice and without me being compensated for the reason that it’s popular.

Sometimes, it’s a not a defendable position when they say, “oh, everybody knows that expression.” You know, .that’s the entire point. That’s why I trademarked it.


RingTV.com: And you’ve been able to branch out with it?

MB: It’s great, because I really have done recordings for  a lot of stadiums, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Green Bay Packers. 

This Sunday, I’m going to Detroit to do the starting lineups and kick the game off with the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears with “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble.”

I’ve done games with Michael Jordan, Home Run Derbies, World Cup Games, Stanley Cup games. That’s just exciting to go out there and to know that you’ve done something to catch lightening in a bottle and get a crowd going.

It’s great to be able to get people lit up with a phrase that everybody knows that is an indication that the action is about to begin.


RingTV.com: Can you list for me among the most meaningful moments you’ve experienced as a result of your success?

MB: I’ve had people say things to me that have really practically swept me off my feet. Sugar Ray Leonard once told me that when I introduce him as a fighter, or any other fighter, it makes him want to fight. 

I remember once, it was at a party in Los Angeles after the Academy Awards. Stevie Wonder was there. This was like 16 years ago. I just wanted to say hello. I didn’t even know if he knew me.

But one of his body guards went over and whispered into his ear that I was there. This big smile came up across his face. And we sat and we talked for about 20 minutes.

We held hands, and were in a loud partying atmosphere, and we had to speak with each other at close range into each other’s ears.

To Stevie Wonder, holding your hand and touching your face is the same as looking into your eyes. But Stevie Wonder told me that when I do the introductions, it makes him feels as though he can actually see the fighters.

He said that it makes him feel that way as well as hear everything. He said that he captures a complete vision, and he told me how much he enjoyed that and how excited it makes him feel.

And I’m like, are you kidding me? This is Stevie Wonder. This is somebody that I’ve admired and listened to for years and who has been a musical legend of mine since 1963 or 1964.

So, that’s probably one of the most complementary and flattering things that I’ve ever had anybody say to me. It even chokes me up today just telling this to you and thinking about it.

To this day, it’s probably one of the most moving things that I’ve every experienced. That, and the time that Muhammad Ali leaned over and told me sometime in the early 1990’s, “Michael, just remember, I’m always going to be prettier than you.”


Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com

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