Each weekend millions around the globe are increasingly lending their ears and eyes to the new voice of boxing. Kody ‘Big Mo’ Mommaerts is just 28 years old. He is not just the youngest professional ring announcer rewriting the script for ring announcers worldwide; he seems to be the heir apparent to the iconic Michael Buffer.
Announcing for BOXXER and Sky Sports in the UK, Kody is also now the ring announcer for NBC in America, as BOXXER has become the exclusive boxing provider for NBC & Peacock. This means though based in Denver, Colorado he is frequently in the air. He played college football in the state and pioneered a new MBA program before he turned to the sweet science. Kody told his story in an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated.
Big Mo applied his MBA analysis skills to find a gap in the market – most of the ring announcers were aging. With that in mind he spied an opportunity at just age of 23 he entered the ring as an announcer and wore sunglasses a part of his schtick.
“I knew one day the sunglasses would come off,” he said of his early days. That day has come and he is now increasingly involved with some of the biggest cards in boxing. In the last year he signed a long-term deal with Boxxer, which airs on Sky Sports and now NBC.
Mommaerts also is an announcer for Bareknuckle for BYB Extreme as well as various MMA cards. Kody’s journey into the world of ring announcing began with a love for the UFC. Reflecting on his earliest memories, he shares, “I became a fan of the UFC first. I immediately remembered how Bruce Buffer did the job – the energy he brought, and more importantly, how the audience reciprocated. That connection is crucial in this job.”
For Kody, the key to a successful ring announcement is establishing authority. Drawing parallels with public speaking, he emphasizes, “You need to establish yourself as speaking from a place of authority. When I did my very first show in the UK for Sky, former world champion Johnny Nelson told me that making everyone pay attention is the most challenging part of the job.”
Now, as the exclusive ring announcer for NBC, Kody reflects on the significance of bringing his craft back to his home country. “It’s been fun being quote-unquote ‘Big in Europe,’ but to be part of a show with the size and scale of NBC is great. I’ve been able to cut my teeth in the UK, and the timing is right for the show to broadcast in America.”
It’s a profession that he says is dominated by Americans even overseas. He has even met international MCs who fake an American accent. Acknowledging the ongoing legacy of the Buffer brothers, Kody shares his admiration, “The Buffers, both Bruce and Michael, are the gold standard. I’ve tried to be a bridge between the two. They both do things very well in their own respect, and I’m trying to be the best of both worlds.”
The Buffer brothers are more than just ring announcers. They are national treasures who have appeared in movies and many other events. Mommaerts hopes for a similar legacy. “I want to be more than just a voice. I want to be part of the brand and show throughout the week, throughout the build-up. I want to do more than just announce on fight night.”
Looking ahead, Kody is driven by a desire to attract a younger audience to combat sports. “I want to use my position to help grow combat sports. I want to be a conduit to bring new people to combat sports, regardless of whether they like the fights themselves. I want to help the sport go to new heights,” he asserts.
Furthermore, Big Mo explains that his position allows him to be a “Soft-Entry Point” for new brands or fans to engage with combat sports. “The nature of my role allows me to represent combat sports in a different way as I am not a fighter, but am still an integral part of the sport. I have had many conversations with various entities about getting them uniquely involved more in the show itself.” Mommaerts used fashion brands as an example. “You’ve seen brands like Hugo Boss or Hublot have a great history of being a part of boxing, but they never had the chance to actually have their products be worn in the ring, I possess that ability for them.”
Mommaerts hopes that getting companies more involved with the sport in creative ways can help open new opportunities for fighters and can help bring the sport to new industries and groups of people. Mommaerts with a growing transatlantic prescence is increasingly the people’s announcer.
He enjoys interacting with fans and utilizing social media to showcase the job itself. “I’m open to anything because I realize that I’m 15-20 years ahead of schedule. My job is to entertain the fans. If we’re asking them to spend four hours watching our show, we need to give them a level of entertainment.” Big Mo is poised to leave an indelible mark on the sport he loves.
UK fans can watch BOXXER events live on Sky Sports and the NBC backed cards will be on Peacock TV. Though few fans realize it NBC has a deep legacy in boxing. Indeed, NBC broadcast via radio the world heavyweight title fight between Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier – the first such broadcast in history.
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