Approximately 20 years ago Celebrity Fight Night came to life through the vision of Jimmy Walker, who thought it would be possible to raise money for local charities through a celebrity charity event.
The first event operated on a much smaller scale than today. With the help of Phoenix Suns Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle, and boxing champion Michael Carbajal, who humorously fought in the ring with
oversized boxing gloves, the first Celebrity Fight Night was a smash hit. The following year Kenny Rogers joined the event by performing a magical 40-minute concert
that changed the dynamic of Celebrity Fight Night from a sports event to a celebrity-filled charity event with live musical entertainment by major marquee entertainers.
In its third year, Celebrity Fight Night took a big leap into the national spotlight when the most recognized man in the world, Muhammad Ali accepted an invitation to become the featured guest. The world learned about the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow
Neurological Institute in Phoenix. After sixteen years of support, Celebrity Fight Night has become synonymous with the Champ's name.
The Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards were established at Celebrity Fight Night IV as a way to acknowledge leaders in the sports, entertainment and business communities who best represent the qualities associated with the Champ and his fight to find a
cure for Parkinson's disease. Previous award recipients have included Halle Berry, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry King, Michael J. Fox, Donald Trump, Chevy Chase, Sharon Stone, Magic Johnson,
Clive Davis, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, Jack Nicklaus, Joe Montana, John Elway, Randy Johnson, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Forest Whitaker, Jerry Weintraub, Michael Phelps, Curt Schilling, Luis Gonzalez, Evander Holyfield, Emmitt Smith, Tony Hawk, Jerry Colangelo, Foster Friess,
Chris Evert, Michael Johnson, David Foster, Cristie Kerr, Harvey Mackay, Bob Parsons, Bill Austin, Diane and Bruce Halle, Howard Schultz, Stewart Rahr, LaDainian Tomlinson, Red McCombs, and Dr. Robert Spetzler.
At the 6th annual event, Celebrity Fight Night was fortunate to have 16-time Grammy winner, David Foster join the team as Musical Director. Celebrity Fight Night audiences have been treated to some incredible performances throughout the years including Garth Brooks,
Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Reba McEntire, Jon Bon Jovi, Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, Matchbox Twenty, Diana Ross, Josh Groban, Glenn Frey, Michael Bublé, Lionel Richie, Robin Williams, Sinbad, Gloria Estefan, Trisha Yearwood, John Mellencamp, Babyface, Robin
Williams, Barry Manilow, Kenny G, Donna Summer, Sam Moore, Dennis Quaid, Kevin Bacon, The Go-Gos, Jordin Sparks, Charice, Michael Bolton, Jackie Evancho, Dionne Warwick, Hootie and the Blowfish, Brian McKnight, the Pointer Sisters and The Village People.
Then at Celebrity Fight Night XI, we were treated to the warmth and hospitality that only Reba McEntire can provide as our evening host; and she has been our emcee every year since then! Nobody knew after the first Celebrity Fight Night event that raised $100,000
in 1994, that it would become one of the largest grossing charity events in the country raising $87 million throughout the years. Celebrity Fight Night has been covered in national publications including People Magazine, Sports Illustrated and USA Today,
and on national television shows such as "Entertainment Tonight", "Access Hollywood", "Extra", "E!", and the "Hollywood Insider".