By day, Kendrick Noel is a Tchula police officer. By night, he’s a mixed martial arts fighter.
After the odds were stacked against Noel and he was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down, he didn’t take no for an answer, recovered and is now making his debut as an MMA fighter.
Noel will compete in an MMA event in Greenwood Saturday night.
Noel had a spinal contusion from an injury playing football in high school, but he didn’t let that stop him from being athletic and living his life to the fullest.
Originally from Lexington, Noel lived in Arlington, Texas, for a time and began boxing there. He now resides in Howard, Mississippi, and is an officer at the Tchula Police Department.
The 29-year-old athlete began his journey to be an MMA fighter in 2009 when he started boxing. Eventually, that passion led him to MMA fighting.
“Watching (MMA fighting) on TV actually made me want to actually indulge in it. I ran into the right trainer and the right coaches at the right time,” Noel said.
Noel was found by Pay Dirt Sports Marketing and trains under coach Tony Delahoussaye. He currently fights for Wolfpack MMA, a gym out of Rockwall, Texas.
He grew up working on his family’s farm and said that he’d always been good with his hands, so that led him to try boxing.
Sometimes, he uses these skills in the field as a police officer.
“As far as hurting anybody or anything like that in the work field, no, but it helps me in my hands-on if I have to take them down,” Noel said. “I can take them down without causing severe pain or anything.”
Noel trains extensively to prepare for his matches — “mostly just running and sparring and eating healthy.”
Noel said that his mother, Jacqueline, is his biggest influence. She provides him with support and a lot of positive energy, he said.
Noel also has a 9-year-old son named Jaden, who will be cheering him on at the fight, alongside Jacqueline.
The fight will be at the Leflore County Civic Center at 6 p.m. Saturday.
•Contact Kerrigan Herret at 581-7233 or email@example.com.