Behind the Mic: Exclusive Interview with Lenne Hardt

There’s only a few people outside the cage (or ring), who can be easily labeled as “MMA legend”. Former Pride and the current Dream announcer Lenne Hardt is one of them. Mostly recognized by fans as the “Crazy Pride Screaming Lady”, Hardt was a trademark voice of Pride, announcing the names of fighters such as Minotauro Nogueira, Mirko Cro Cop, Wanderlei Silva, Shogun Rua, Alistair Overeem and many more.

Lenne Hardt has her own Jazz Cabaret band and serves as a voice actress for popular games such as Tekken, Rumble Roses, Silent Hill and Virtua Fighter. As well as the upcoming EA Sports MMA game, set to be released on October 19th.

Lenne took time off her busy schedule to answer on questions, in an exclusive interview for community. So, for all MMA fans out there. This is a real treat.


Hey Lenne, it’s a great pleasure and a huge honor having you interviewed for How (and what) are you doing these days?
Well, Anton, I’m doing just great, thanks – busy, but busy is good! You know, Dream takes up a bit of my time – which is a good thing. I just finished voicing EA’s new MMA computer game – that’ll be out October 19th. That was a lot of fun! Oh, and speaking of fun – there’s my band, the Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret. We just did a live gig in Tokyo to celebrate our tenth year together. 10 years!

Can you talk about your Jazz band, what it means for you and where we can see you perform?
What it means for me? A lot! I can sing my heart out, (and sometimes I really do), I even get a chance to  dance while NOT sitting in a chair ringside! And all that with a team of first rate musicians. Love it! We play a lot of private events, hotel grand openings, Christmas parties and we do some club gigs. We’re planning another show this fall – we’ll announce the details on Facebook and Myspace.

What is the best and the toughest thing in being a Ring Announcer?
How tough can it be? It’s the greatest job in the world. It’s all good, mate! (To quote my Kiwi husband). But I’d say the best part, in a word, is Energy; absorbing the powerful energy of the athletes, and the excited energy of the fans.

You announced the names of so many legendary MMA fighters. Whose name in your opinion sounds the best, Lenne Hardt style?

 Do you rehears your announcements, or does it all comes out in natural way along with the music?
We rehearse the over-all flow of the evening but not each individual athlete’s entrance, so I have to play it as it comes. But that’s OK. I love spontaneity.

Your style is completely different from the UFC’s Bruce Buffer and Strikeforce’s Jimmy Lennon, Jr. What do you think about them as announcers?
They’re both  giants in the field.  Bruce has that special Barnum and Bailey flare. And Jimmy, well Jimmy is so reassuring – delivers that classic style that’s both nostalgic and now at the same time.

Can you imagine yourself announcing in a more “traditional Boxing way”, like Jimmy Lennon Jr., for instance?
Sure. Why not?? Anton, I am an actress first, you know. But I think traditional boxing still values the male voice more. But things can change so maybe I’ll get a chance in the future. 

Who in your opinion has the most spectacular ring/cage entrance in MMA?
Oh! SO MANY GREATS! Right now, three spring to mind – Jason “MAYHEM” Miller, Minowaman and Kazushi Sakuraba

What kind of future do you predict for JMMA, and especially for the Dream promotion?
This recession, or whatever you want to call it, is trashing a lot of industries, but Dream, and MMA worldwide, are thriving in spite of it all. Good times or bad, the fans love the thrill of the fight. And Dream always gives ’em what they want.

How often do you get requests from fans, friends or just random people to announce their name?
All the time. It’s flattering. And I am always happy to oblige!

Thanks again Lenne for the wonderful opportunity. Any message for MMA fans around the World?
We love you. You are the ones who make it all worthwhile – you are the power. Thank you for appreciating MMA for the great sport that it is. And thank you for helping us take it to the top!