Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night XXI

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David Foster and Kelly Clarkson
David Foster and Kelly Clarkson

Photo Credit: Wireimage

Photo Credit: Wireimage

Stars and athletes from around the country headed to Phoenix over the weekend for Muhammad Ali’s 21st Anniversary of Celebrity Fight Night, which raised $7 million for charity over the course of the evening.

A resounding LED Drummers patriotic performance kicked off the event before recording artist Josh Groban, Seattle Seahawk’s quarterback Russell Wilson, and philanthropists Glenn and Mindy Stearns were honored with 2015 Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night awards.

Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton

Photo Credit: Wireimage

Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a host of performances under the direction of songwriter and producer David Foster, who returned for his 16th consecutive year as the evening’s musical director. Foster oversaw a slew of performances from the likes of Kelly Clarkson, who sang hits “Since You’ve Been Gone,” “Walk Away,” and “Stronger”; Ronnie Runn of country outfit Brooks & Dunn, who sang “Red Dirt Road,” and “Boot Scootin Boogie”; and Josh Groban, who performed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “All I Ask Of You,” and “You Raise Me Up.”

Additional performances included, Quinton Aaron singing “Let’s Stay Together,” Brenna Whitaker with “This Is A Man’s World,” and Frank Caliendo, who performed a comedy set and impressions.

Country music star Reba McEntire returned for her tenth year as emcee and simultaneously celebrated her 60th birthday at the event. She was surprised with a video of “happy birthday wishes” from friends including Carol King, Tom Hanks, Keith Urban, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Carol Burnett, The Band Perry and President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush before present pal Blake Shelton wished her a happy birthday onstage (and also sang “Drink On It,” “Home,” and his new single “Boys ‘Round Here”). The night concluded with the birthday girl singing “Going Out Like That,” “Time On Her Hands,” and “Radio.” Finally Gloria Gaynor brought the crowd to their feet, closing out the evening with an incredible performance of “I Will Survive.”

Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson

The black tie event featured a cocktail reception, a silent auction, an elegant dinner and an exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items.  The live auction featured a trip to the Himalayas with Robert Kennedy Jr. and Cheryl Hines, a VIP Seattle Seahawks game experience with Russell Wilson, a getaway vacation with Richard Branson on his private Caribbean Island and more. The two highest selling live auction items of the night were a dinner with Reba McEntire and a Valentine’s Day trip to Miami with Andrea Bocelli —going for $1 million (twice for a total of $2 million) and $500,000 respectively.

Celebrity Fight Night XXI raised a total of $7 million benefiting the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as several other worthy charities.

Additional celebrity guests included Bruce Arians, Calais Campbell, Michael Carbajal, Gennady Golovkin, Greg Jennings, Robert Kennedy Jr. and Cheryl Hines, Nancy Lieberman, Sam Moore, Carson Palmer, Bob and Renee Parsons, George Schlatter, Jane Seymour, Kevin Sorbo, Mayor Stanton, Mindy and Glenn Stearns, Dick and Stacy Stevens, Vern Troyer, and many more.

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