Ovince Saint Preux

Ready for a real knockout? The Tennessee Alumnus spring 2014 issue cover story is about Ovince Saint Preux, a former Vols football player who now fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). If you are not familiar with UFC, it is the highest level of mixed martial arts fighting, a combination of kickboxing, Judo and moves you might recognize from Greco-Roman wrestling.

In February 2013, we started talking about doing a story in the Alumnus. I have a big folder of story ideas. At some point, I stashed an article from 2011 about Ovince. I remembered his name (who could forget a name like Ovince Saint Preux?) from when I was a reporter covering UT football. Looking for alumni spotlight ideas, intern Alex Cate and I happened upon this article. Alex was interested in writing the story. As the year went on, Ovince won fights in April and August.  Since he trains in Knoxville, we figured Alex could spend some time observing his training and talking to him and his coaching and training team, which includes two other UT Knoxville graduates. He has an interesting story, and that is what has landed him on the spring 2014 cover. You can read Alex’s full story and see the photos when the issue hits mailboxes and our website on April 8.

This is good timing because Ovince has a fight (tomorrow), Saturday, March 15, in Dallas. It’s on pay-per-view if you want to stay up and watch it. The Knoxville News Sentinel had a preview article about the fight. Ovince says he’s going to wear Tennessee orange pants for the bout.

As a teaser for the fight and our upcoming story, Erica Jenkins, in the Office of Communications and Marketing, prepared this video. We brought our own entourage of a photographer (Wade Payne), designer (Laura Barroso), ad manager/microphone holder (John Lacey), videographer (Erica), writer (Alex) and editor (Elizabeth Davis) to the Knoxville Martial Arts Academy for the photo and video shoot in February.

Imagine you’re in the Octagon facing Ovince. Ready to tap out?

UPDATE: Ovince earned a submission victory on March 15, 2014, using a Von Flue choke just 1:29 minutes into the first round.