Celebrity Fight Night Recap: Chuck Liddell Says He’d Fight Kimbo, Costner Rocks Out with His Band, B.J. Flores Belts Dionne Warwick, Mary Lou Retton Sad About Olympic Protests, Grant Hill Cool with Lebron James Cover, Shawne Merriman, Ray Lewis, Tony Hawk.
CELEBRITY FIGHT NIGHT
D&D hit up the 14th annual Celebrity Fight Night in Scottsdale Arizona on Saturday night, where a ton of A-listers joined Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in the fight against Parkinson’s disease for this incredible event that’s raised more than $45 million bucks since its inception.
The love showered on Muhammad Ali and his foundation went beyond my expectations. The celebrities who showed up to support the event weren’t just there to walk the red carpet, they were there to make a difference, and this included all guests in attendance. As with most events, the red carpet experience was a blast. First impressions of those who were there…Jordin Sparks, who also performed at the event was absolutely beautiful, sincere, and graceful; LaDainian Tomlinson, who received the Ali Sports Achievement Award was grateful, emotional, and inspiring.
Grant Hill, who is nothing short of angelic, had good reason to be at the event. “Muhammad Ali has given so much to the world, and my wife is also performing tonight so I guess I have two reasons for being here.” When asked about the controversy surrounding the recent LeBron James Vogue cover, Hill wasn’t too concerned. “I don’t have a problem with it” he said, “I saw the (WW1 propaganda) poster, and you know, I wouldn’t have done it, but Lebron’s young and you know, I’m okay with it, but I wouldn’t have done it.”
When Arsenal (soccer) fan Kevin Costner walked by, I couldn’t resist asking him about Arsenals loss that morning. “Ah, picking on my guys over there!” he said with a smile. I also had to dig a bit deeper and ask how he felt about American ownership of European soccer clubs: “I haven’t followed it to that detail” he replied, “I’ve been really into politics, but sports are so good it’s stands alone, those people are so passionate about what goes on, and you’ll never get two Englishmen to agree on anything when it comes to sports.” Pressing Costner further, I asked if he had any interest in ownership. “No, I don’t know enough about the game, I’ve just had some extraordinary experiences with it.” Most celebs could’ve BSed their way around my questions, so I applaud him for being so candid. KC remained sweet, masculine, sexy and when he received his Muhammad Ali Achievement Award, his acceptance speech had most, if not all guests on the verge of tears. Gotta make mention of Costners after party as well. Costner performed with his band Modern West after the main event. Being skeptical of celebrities who try to be rock stars, I must admit he rocked. He gave off an air of comfort from the stage, exuding a love for music you don’t normally see from someone of his caliber. I’ve posted plenty of photos of Costners performance on Shutterfly-the link is at the end of this post.
Another athlebrity who floored me was Tony Hawk. Dude has got to be one of the brightest and most compassionate people I’ve ever met. It’s hard to imagine the skateboarding legend never saw himself becoming a global franchise. “Not at all,’ he said when asked, “when I was growing up skating was a pretty small world, so to become one of the best or to aspire to a career didn’t mean a lot, it just meant you got free gear, so to be doing this for a living and have all the opportunities, I love it, I’m just thankful I still get to skate for a living, that really what its all about to me.” Hawk was with his wife, who’s expecting their 4th child in June, and had some great advice all kids. “Believe in yourself. Persevere, never give up, if you want to do something, just try it, don’t give up.”
Next up Shawne Merriman walked in with Ray Lewis…Merriman was hot and humble. Lewis, had a very commanding presence…Merriman was obviously more than excited to support the charity event, “I can’t believe we can get everybody out here in one building for a great event, Im totally amazed at the number of great people, this is my second year and I’ll basically mark this weekend off on my calendar every year to come and support it.”
Faith Hill and Reba McEntire were both stunning and very down to earth. Our first night there was met with a “Hi, I’m Reba” as we rode the elevator with her-can’t stress enough how adorable and sweet she is. Mary Lou Retton was as spunky as ever and I had to ask the former Olympic gymnast how she felt about the political uproar surrounding the upcoming games. “You know, it’s really sad, because the Olympics are supposed to be a time when the best athletes in the world come together in competition. Politics aren’t anything new, it happened back in the 80’s, it happened before that and I believe we’re going to get it all resolved.” And what about athletes who use the games as a platform to speak out? “I think you should speak how you feel and feel how you speak, and if you’ve got a strong opinion about something, its America, thank God we are born in America and we can voice that. I’ve got no problem with that. I’m a true blue born all American, so I hope we get it all resolved.”
One of the highlights for me was meeting Chuck Liddell. I may not mention the UFC much on my blog, but I’ve had one eye on Liddell and the other on Kimbo Slice for a long, long time. So, for those of you in the loop, I asked Liddell what he felt about Kimbo. “I don’t have no problem with Kimbo,” he said with a cup of Starbucks in one hand, “I’d fight him, I’d have no problem, I’d fight him and win.”
Speaking of hotties in Arizona who use their fists, Team Flores, which included Jay of Juggler Entertainment and MIMS of DET to LA rocked the hell out of the red carpet. The hottest undefeated USBA cruiserweight sensation B.J. Flores (with team Flores) strolled the red carpet with the confidence you’d expect from a boxer while almost giving us a heart attack each time he licked his lips. Not only is he sexy as hell, but his focus and hunger compel you to wanna see him fight right then and there.
Aside from being a force in the ring, Flores is also making an impact outside the sport. Recently he appeared as the in-studio guest for ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. Hot stuff aka ‘Peligroso’ (dangerous in Spanish) is currently 21-0 with 13 knockouts as a professional and ranked #2 by the IBF, #7 by the WBO, and #11 by the WBA. Gotta give extra love to Flores for his marketing and production team Juggler Entertainment…It’s not often you see a boxer swanked by such classy professionals. Jay from Juggler promised to make noise from Arizona to Timbuktu, and he’s already made good by interviewing the legendary Dionne Warwick with B.J. on the red carpet. Flores walked the red carpet directly after Warwick, which led to one of my favorite photos of all time- Dionne posing with Flores’ title belt. Priceless. But maybe not as priceless as when I got that belt around my waist…
Thanks to Look to the Stars for sending D&D to this stellar event. I’ll have a complete write up on their site later this week, including a full list of celebrity attendees, many more quotes, auction items, and final bids. For photos from the event, you can view ‘em on Shutterfly.