Nov 19, 2018
Almost a decade ago the world got to know Justin Wren through
his successful mixed martial arts career in the UFC- from starring
in the Spike reality show “The Ultimate Fighter,” to becoming a
dominating force in the heavyweight division, to his MMA record of
15-2. Today, the world knows this 6-foot-3-inch, 265-pound fighter
for the size of his heart.
Following a six-year struggle with addiction and depression in his early career, Justin stepped away from MMA to seek out purpose and passion for his life. What he found was a forgotten tribe of Mbuti Pygmies deep in the jungle of the Congo, beaten down by the economic environment, disease, and hopelessness.
Through his Fight for the Forgotten initiative, 1,500 members of this formerly enslaved people group are now free and flourishing on 3,000 acres of their own land with access to clean water and their own farms.
Today Justin “The Big Pygmy” Wren has expanded his Fight For the Forgotten to empower all those who don’t have a voice. He regularly speaks to raise awareness for those affected by the water crisis, as well as those who are bullied, and those suffering from depression and addiction.
In this episode we dive into:
1. Justin talks about his childhood filled with bullying and how a middle school Halloween party and a Transformers costume changed his life forever.
2. How he gained interest in all different types of fighting and why he choose MMA.
3. The real life effects of depression, and overcoming them by believing he could build his worth based on his ability to fight.
4. How his coaches helped him to come into his own by setting goals, forcing Justin to dig deep and teaching him to find self worth.
5. Why after 10 state championships, 2 national championships, joining the MMA, and a reality television show, he still couldn't shake the feeling of not having accomplished his full potential.
6. The 8 week drug binge that led him to miss his best friends wedding, and the fight to go up from rock bottom.
7. Why Justin decided the 2 most important things he needed to focus on were “To live to love” and to “Fight for people”.
8. His foundation “Fight For the Forgotten” and the significance in its name.
9. Justin tells the story of his time spent with the Pygmy people. Despite their unfortunate living circumstances, their lust for life convinced him to move to the Kongo for a year and a half.
10. How he put together a team to build wells for the Pygmies and gave them the tools and resources they needed to build 70 wells in the Kongo.
11. Why it’s more important to be of value, rather than simply a figure of success.
12. Justin dives into his U.S. side of “Fight For the Forgotten”, and his hope to teach bully prevention and character development.
13. The new “Hero’s in waiting” program he is kicking off in 2019. Justin describes it as a “See it and take action” kind of program, that consists of classroom learning and mixed martial arts.
14. Why Justin’s dream goal is to win the world title in MMA,
for every reason but the fame.