Haitian in Sports: Ovince St. Preux

Ovince St. Preux is a former linebacker for the University of Tennessee who now fights professionally in MMA for Strikeforce. His professional debut came against a man who would go on to fight in the UFC in Rodney Wallace. St. Preux started his career out 3-4 before having everything click and rattling off 5 straight wins, including victories over former UFC fighter Jason Day (in 8 seconds) and a great victory over highly regarded Antwain Britt.

Background (For more info on the fighter check out his wiki page)

Saint Preux was born in Naples, Florida, to Haitian immigrant parents.[4] He attended Immokalee High School in Immokalee, Florida, where he wrestled, played defensive end for the football team, and ran track. As a wrestler, he compiled a record of 26-1, and was the state’s 1A runner-up in his weight class. During his senior year in football, he registered 75 tackles, including a school-record 18 sacks, and was named All-State. In track, he competed in the 110-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles, the discus throw, and the 4×400 relay.[5]

Saint Preux played college football for the Tennessee Volunteers from 2001 to 2004. After redshirting in 2001, he played primarily as a reserve at both defensive end and linebacker.[6] He earned varsity letters in 2002 and 2004, appearing in seventeen games during his college career.[7] He graduated in 2004 with a degree in sociology, and began to train in kickboxing and grappling.[8]

After two unsuccessful attempts at professional football, Saint Preux gave up the sport and began to take an interest in martial arts as a form of training. Saint Preux, who currently trains at Knoxville Martial Arts Academy in Knoxville, Tennessee, began to fight professionally at the suggestion of his coach.[4]

Saint Preux attributes his confidence in the ring to his membership in Omega Psi Phi fraternity.[9]

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