Celebrity Fight Night has a nearly 30-year history of engaging a global philanthropic community in the quest to fund nonprofit organizations that serve men, women and children. Today, it’s philanthropic focus takes aim at a common enemy: cancer. Under the leadership of Gateway for Cancer Research, the annual Gateway Celebrity Fight Night gala is a celebration of the philanthropic spirit necessary to end cancer as we know it. This star-studded, celebrity-backed affair proves that when the mission is meaningful and the intent is worthy, no one is too busy or too important to make a difference.
Fight Night: Where it all began
Celebrity Fight Night burst into the fundraising arena 30 years ago, with the goal of rallying celebrities and sports figures from across Phoenix to help raise money for local charities. Among the first to sign on were Phoenix Suns players Charles Barkley and Dan Majerle along with Arizona native and boxing champion Michael Carbajal, whose donning of oversized gloves cemented the fighting legacy of the famed event. The following year, the legendary Kenny Rogers joined in, performing a magical 40-minute concert that forever changed the event’s dynamic. In that moment, Celebrity Fight Night transitioned from a sports-centered event to a celebrity-filled fundraiser centered around live musical entertainment and major marquee entertainers. It was thrust into the national spotlight in its third year when Muhammad Ali, arguably the most recognized man in the world, accepted an invitation to be the featured guest. He remained the guest of honor for two decades, until his passing in 2016. Six years into Celebrity Fight Night’s run, 16-time Grammy Award winner David Foster signed on as musical director. He continues to serve in the role today, enlisting entertainers, engaging attendees and encouraging individuals from all walks of life to unite for the benefit of others.
From its humble beginnings, Gateway Celebrity Fight Night is now among the country’s most recognized and renowned fundraising affairs. It is distinguished as one of the largest grossing fundraising events, sending nearly $90 million to charities over the years. The storied history of Fight Night continues to be written, with performances and attendance from some of the biggest names in entertainment to help deliver a knockout blow to cancer.
Celebrity and Entertainment Attendees
Some of the most notable Celebrity Fight Night attendees are Reba McEntire, Halle Berry, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Reba McEntire, Kevin Costner, Jennifer Lopez, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry King, Michael J. Fox, David Foster, Quincy Jones, Donald Trump, Bob and Renee Parsons, Walter Scott, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Sharon Stone, Magic Johnson, Clive Davis, Wayne Gretzky, Bill Austin, Diane and Bruce Halle, Steve Nash, Stewart Rahr, 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, Cristie Kerr, Harvey Mackay, Howard Schultz, LaDainian Tomlinson, Red McCombs, and Dr. Robert Spetzler.
Celebrity Fight Night Performers
Among the many incredible performers who have entertained guests at Celebrity Fight Night are Pitbull, Garth Brooks, Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Reba McEntire, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Blake Shelton, Jon Bon Jovi, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, Matchbox Twenty, Diana Ross, Josh Groban, Glenn Frey, Michael Bublé, Lionel Richie, Robin Williams, Smokey Robinson, Sinbad, Gloria Estefan, Trisha Yearwood, Brian McKnight, John Mellencamp, Babyface, Robin Williams, Barry Manilow, Kenny G, Donna Summer, Sam Moore, Dennis Quaid, Kevin Bacon, The Go-Gos, Jordin Sparks, Chris Tucker, Michael Bolton, Jackie Evancho, Dionne Warwick, Hootie and the Blowfish, the Pointer Sisters and The Village People.
“Muhammad and I are fortunate to play a part in the phenomenal fundraising efforts of Celebrity Fight Night. We’re happy that significant dollars are being raised for many charities that benefit from Celebrity Fight Night’s tremendous efforts throughout the years. The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at BNI has been able to treat numerous patients who without the support of Celebrity Fight Night would never have been able to receive the care and treatment they need. We are thankful to Celebrity Fight Night for what it does to help so many non-profit organizations provide invaluable assistance to the less fortunate.”