The Man, The Myth, “The Voice” Michael Schiavello
“Can he get it?” Can he get it? It’s good night Irene. Wait, wait a minute! Let me put some DJ on it, lock in the moisture seals in the cool! Good night Irene. Michael Schiavello’s famous exclamation is well known in combat sports circles, and it looks like he’s made a name for himself among the biggest announcers. This call from Demetrious Johnson’s finish and what followed is one to remember, because it’s hard to remember a moment called with so much energy and style.
As Mixed Martial Arts continues to grow in public consciousness, the importance of a strong broadcast team is becoming increasingly important and a valuable tool in keeping fans locked in during events.
The art of color commentary was extremely difficult to master. Many have tried and failed because there is apparently no formula for success.
As it requires knowledge of all facets of the sport, personality, likability and an ability to speak comfortably on screen, this is one of the most skilled positions for a promotion. It is an extremely important role in the diffusion of mixed martial arts and which will and must continue to grow in order to meet the demands of the sport.
So what makes ONE Championship commentator Michael Schiavello such a successful and much-loved voice in combat sports? Her journey tells the story of her golden voice.
The Michael Schiavello Effect
The 46-year-old from Melbourne, Australia is blessed with a plethora of charisma and experience, and it goes back years. Schiavello got his first taste of athletics commentary in Australia at the age of 16 and has never looked back.
Schiavello’s likability gave him a knack for doing huge interviews in the sports world, which landed Schiavello a sports radio show on Southern FM where he went by the name ‘Mr. Scoop”. The celebrity guest list included football legends Pele and Diego Maradona, as well as tennis and cricket stars Goran Ivanisevic and Richie Richardson, among many others.
Michael Schiavello is currently the beloved voice of ONE Championship, where he currently lives after accumulating years of experience for global promotions, including K-1, Dream, Sengoku and Contender Asia. Schiavello commented fellow Australian and legend of Muay Thai John Wayne Parr, having covered 34 amazing fights of his career, AXS TV Fights (formerly HDNet), MFC, Invicta Fighting Championships, XFC, Adrenaline, Evolution, XPlosion, King of the Cage , BAMMA and Legacy Fighting Championship.
Schiavello has become famous among MMA fans for his talent for coming up with incredibly passionate responses to fight finishes, as he tends to wear his heart on his sleeve and exclaim surprise at all times.
Many wondered where his catchphrase “Good night, Irene!” came, and Schiavello attributes it to his favorite wrestler, “Adorable” Adrian Adonis’ Sleeper Hold, known as “Goodnight Irene.” His broadcast idol ‘Gorilla Monsoon’ injected his own flair into the term, often exclaiming after Adonis secured a win via his sleeping hold.
Interestingly enough, the phrase originated from a 1933 blues song of the same name by “Leadbelly” Leadbetter, and it made its way into popular culture thanks to a Weavers cover, earning it a No. 1 on the Billboard charts and an entry in the household lexicon. References to an uppercut as “Goodnight Irene Punch” in a Lil’ Abner comic cemented the public connection with a knockout. After many years, Schiavello perfected it, turning it into the beloved exclamation of fans around the world.
The voice against
In 2010, HDNet released The Voice Versus series in which host Michael Schiavello interviewed various combat sports personalities. The show was an hour-long interview show with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment. Combat sports legends who have met Schiavello include UFC President Dana White, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Frank Dux, George Foreman, Badr Hari, Hulk Hogan, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Tito Ortiz, Alistair Overeem, Joe Rogan, Steven Seagal, Wanderlei Silva, Michael Jai White, Fedor Emelianenko, Bas Rutten and Royce Gracie.
The series became a huge hit among fans where Schiavello was able to share in-depth informative interviews with some of the most respected and beloved stars in their respective industries. The show also leaned into Schiavello’s personality, as his laid-back demeanor often contrasted with some of the hardened combat sports personalities.
His show became hugely popular, and Schiavello’s already blossoming career blossomed into one of the most well-known in all of combat sports.
“The voice” turns to the page
Schiavello has also put his years of experience to paper with his two recent releases “Good Night Irene: How a Bullied Fat Kid from Melbourne Became a Global Broadcasting Star” and “The Commentators: 100 Years of Sports Commentary”. Schiavello dives deep into his incredible career to date and details some of the other interesting names he has rubbed shoulders with and inspired. These titles are very well written and provide insight into the mind of one of the greatest voices in combat sports.
During what has been an incredible journey, Schiavello has commentated over 4,000 fights in over 15 countries as well as huge sporting events such as the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2008 Olympics. he never calls her “Goodnight Irene” in his career, Michael Schiavello is truly one of the greatest men to ever put on a headset and pick up a mic.
Image credits: ONE Championship PR