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Lenne Hardt's 'Crazy Pride Lady' Ring Announcing Was Born Out of Boredom

Lenne Hardt, Japanese MMA ring announcing icon, says her one-of-a-kind fighter introductions were actually developed out of boredom.

Nicknamed "Crazy Pride Lady" or "Screaming Crazy Lady," Hardt has built a cult following with her incomparable introductions. The Alaska-born Hardt, fluent in both English and Japanese, was hired by Pride in 2000 as the English ring announcer. The Pride GP events in 2000 were a defining time for the promotion, but with MMA in its relative infancy at the time, she entered the job with little to no knowledge of the sport.

"To tell you the truth, I got bored because I didn't know what was going on," Hardt said Thursday on's The MMA Hour. "There's a lot of time in between [matches]. You don't really know what was happening so you're just there twiddling your thumbs. And I thought, I want to participate in this. I want to understand it."

During certain slow spots in the fights, she noticed the crowd's energy decline, so she began to think of how she could liven up the crowd -- as well as engage herself. Her solution was to present the names in a theatrical and energetic fashion.

"That's when I started working on the calls themselves, these people's names, to build up the excitement, and hype and tension."

After the event, Pride invited her back and Hardt's previous career as an actress and narrator took a back seat to her announcing.

"I was under the impression it was a one-off," Hardt said. "They liked it and they asked me back and one day became 12 years."

Hardt continued to work for Pride until the company was sold to the UFC in 2007. With the company gone, Hardt said she was "devastated" with the prospect of her ring announcing career coming to an end. Luckily, Dream, an unofficial reboot of Pride, was launched the following year and Hardt reunited with her former Pride execs and production team.

Hardt, whose work has become a perfect complement to the theatrics found in Japanese MMA events, compares her emotion to the "high" of attending a concert and waving one's arms with a legion of fans.

"Once I walk out into the arena and the crowd's there, and the lights, the special effects, the athletes," Hardt said. "There's a kind of transformation that takes place and you go into a zone. That's all I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about what's about to happen."

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