Celebrity Fight Night
 
 

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 eighteen years of support, Celebrity Fight Night has become synonymous with the Champ's name. At the 6th annual event, Celebrity Fight Night was fortunate to have 16-time Grammy winner, David Foster join the team as Musical Director. 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 nearly $95 million throughout the years.

Celebrity Fight Night audiences have been treated to some incredible performances including Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Lopez, Garth Brooks, Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Reba McEntire, Michael Bublé, Billy Crystal, Jon Bon Jovi, Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, Kelly Clarkson, The Band Perry, Ronnie Dunn, Robin Williams, Miley Cyrus, Matchbox Twenty, Diana Ross, Josh Groban, Glenn Frey, Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, Sinbad, Gloria Estefan, Trisha Yearwood, John Mellencamp, Babyface, Barry Manilow, Kenny G, Donna Summer, Sam Moore, Dennis Quaid, Kevin Bacon, The Go-Gos, Jordin Sparks, Michael Bolton, Jackie Evancho, Dionne Warwick, Hootie and the Blowfish, Brian McKnight, the Pointer Sisters and The Village People.

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, 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, Bob Parsons, Randy Johnson, Bill Austin, 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, Cristie Kerr, Harvey Mackay, Diane and Bruce Halle, Howard Schultz, Stewart Rahr, LaDainian Tomlinson, Red McCombs, and Dr. Robert Spetzler.

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".

Celebrity Fight Night is proud and honored to have Muhammad Ali as its featured guest for the past 18 years; and we look forward to the years to come with excitement, enthusiasm and a continued commitment to Winning the Fight for Charities.