KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - This past Saturday a local guy took to the ring in UFC 204 in Manchester, England. Despite his loss in the second round, he still comes home a winner due to his Volunteer Spirit.
At the Knoxville Martial Arts Academy in South Knoxville a group is training in mixed martial arts. One of the best is professional UFC fighter Ovince Saint Preux.
"Doing what I'm doing I know what I'm capable of," says Saint Preux.
His career did not start in MMA.
"I got recruited to play football here at the University of Tennessee. I played here from '01 to '04. Graduated, and after that pretty much stumbled into Mixed Martial Arts," says Saint Preux.
That has led him to fights across the country and the world.
"California, Vegas, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia... Outiside the states, Canada twice, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Brazil, and now Manchester, England."
But after every fight Saint Preux always comes home.
"I'm here in Knoxville, I consider Knoxville home so I'm going to give back to Knoxville."
He gives back by making himself available to youth in his community.
"The kids see me in the gym and I talk to them and they have a big smile on their face. The parents come in the next day and say you just made his day. I'm like, well I was just kind of hanging around," says Saint Preux.
His message; be more like him.
"I'm trying to be the best that I can, and the only way that I can do it is by showing up and training everyday. If you're a kid you want to be the best that you can too. The best way to do that is by going to school and getting all A's," says Saint Preux.
It's his rational that he hopes kids will pick up on.
"What gets me out of a lot of trouble is I actually think ahead, 'If this happens, then this can happen.' Regardless you can't be irrational about anything. So just go ahead and do that and learn. At the end of the day everything's not worth it," says Saint Preux.
If you want to meet Ovince Sain Preux he will be at the FEAST event at the Knoxville Convention Center. Put on by FAITH charities, the community event is free and will be fun for the whole family on October 23rd.