Professional Irish dancers, dwarfs dressed as leprechauns and more than 1,000 Penn students who enjoy the thrill of seeing their classmates get pulverized will embark on the Legendary Blue Horizon gym Saturday night – all of which can only mean one thing. It’s time for another Philly Fight Night.
If you don’t know about Philly Fight Night, you should. Last year, Gazette associate editor Trey Popp wrote a terrific piece on the semi-barbaric spectacle that pits Wharton graduate students against students from Penn’s law school in a series of boxing matches to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia.
Saturday will mark the event’s sixth anniversary – and organizer Arie Barendrecht WG’10 expects just as much hoopla as in year’s past.
“Everyone gets really into it,” says Barendrecht. “It’s so unique. No other business school has an event like this. It’s definitely marked on everyone’s calendar.”
Just like last year, Wharton’s own Donal McElwee will enter the ring accompanied by his leprechauns, a Law student who goes by the name “The Russian Bombshell” will trade spars with a fellow female, and more of Penn’s finest will submit themselves to the possible embarrassment of being knocked out in front of all their friends.
There are some new additions, too – for one, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek will be a celebrity judge. And Barendrecht is excited he found sponsorship deals with Comcast and Roosevelt’s Pub – as well as what should be a riveting marquee fight between heavyweights Jason Carter (Wharton) and Andrew Pinkston (Law).
But above all else, the organizers are pleased to see their classmates rallying together (tickets sold out online in about 15 minutes) to help kids that need help. The event is expected to raise $60,000 for the Boys & Girls Club – about $5,000 more than last year.
If nothing else, the fighters can think about that while getting punched in the face repeatedly.
“Last year, when I was a fan, it was the best social event of the entire year,” Barendrecht says. “The fact that money also goes to benefit the community makes it even better.”