If you've been to a live MMA event in St. Charles lately, there's a good chance you've heard Dave Davis on the mic. Whether it's the large confines of the Family Arena or the cozy ballroom of the Ameristar Casino, Davis fills the empty space with his booming voice and larger than life personality.
While he may have started his career on the dirt floors of the rodeo arena, his talents have been put on display in a wide variety of venues across the country including such prestigious locations as the MGM Grand Foxwoods in Connecticut.
"Wow, what a voice, you ever thought of announcing?" Those were the words that launched Davis' career.
A chance meeting with a veteran rodeo announcer with the then 15 year-old Davis helped spark a change in careers for the young bull-rider. While backstage at an event, Davis' deep voice caught the ear of the announcer who was then offered a chance to leave the saddle for the much safer, public address booth.
Davis accepted the invitation into the announcer's booth, learning the announcing trade for over a year before an opportunity presented itself. One weekend when his mentor found himself double-booked, the young protegee was asked to fill in. From that point on, Davis never put down the mic.
"He asked me 'hey do you think you can do a show on your own?'" Davis said. "I went and did the show for him, and I've been doing them ever since."
Davis' signature deep, full sound quickly became popular among the rodeo circles and it wasn't before long before the student outpaced his teacher.
"My phone started ringing off the hook," Davis said. "His clients started calling me to do their events. My career exploded to a mid-level announcer at pro rodeos."
It has been some time since he announced a bull riding event, he looks back at those formative years fondly.
Jump to MMA
When a friend started his own fight promotion, The Fight Factory, Davis was the obvious choice to be the new ring announcer. A huge boxing fan, Davis jumped at the chance to announce a live combat sports event.
"It was a big production for a MMA company," Davis said. "That's the company I started with."
New to the sport, Davis did his homework and quickly fell in love with mixed martial arts. Since that time Davis has announced for over 17 different fight promotions including Fight Hard MMA, the Sport Fighting League, and Rumble Time Promotions, just to name a few.
"Rodeo is fun, but MMA is exciting," said Davis. "The first time I stepped into the cage to announce I knew this is where I belong. I never wanted to leave"
Part of the appeal that keeps Davis coming back is the instant gratification he feels when all eyes are on him.
"I feed off the crowd," said Davis. "The crowd gets so loud I feel like I'm going to levitate. Its an incredible feeling."
While important to entertain, the responsibilities of an announcer don't end there and Davis understands his role.
A skilled announcer can make a good show a great one.
"I've stated many times, I'm half carnival barker slash announcer," said Davis. "It's my job to help hype the fight and get people to want to see this event."
One of his trademark phrases at events is "It's fight time!" Something that he reinforces through out the event with his booming vibrato and energetic presence in the cage.
"Promoters don't sell tickets to fight, they sell tickets to the anticipation of fight, the hype," Davis said. "It's my job to make people want to see this fight even more. To get them at the edge of their seats to where they think, 'oh my gosh, this is going to be serious."
Followers of Davis on Facebook and Twitter (@MMAdavedavis) are often treated to Davis' motto/mission statement: Microphone Domination.
"No announcer can follow me, that's what that means," Davis said. "If they raise their game, I raise mine."
Davis believes he's changing the paradigm of announcing and wishes his legacy to be that of someone who has influenced an army of future announcers.
Constantly tweaking his delivery, always improving, Davis has one simple goal in mind: "I don't want to be an announcer, I want to be THE announcer."
"What makes me different?" said Davis. "Come watch me and you decide."
(Photo courtesy of Jimmy Range Photography)
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