Justin Wren ‘I’m Not a Hero’

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For every brash, outspoken, self-promoter like Conor McGregor, there needs to be a balance, a pendulum swing in the direction, of hope, humility and selflessness. On that end we find Justin “The Big Pygmy” Wren. A man who competed on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) finale, had a chance with the UFC and gave it all up to find sobriety and converted to Christianity.

Amagu Amagu and Justin Wren together at the Bellator press day.

Amagu Amagu and Justin Wren together at the Bellator press day.

Through that life changing experience, Wren went on to fight for something bigger than himself, a cause more noble than a paycheck and that is to help the Pygmies of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A people who have been neglected by their own government and treated worse than sewer trash that struggle for survival within the African nation.

“There have been a few words thrown around on social media and stuff like, ‘That guy’s a hero’ and stuff like that, but I’d like to say that I’m not a hero. I have 18 heroes in the Congo, because Fight for the Forgotten, if it’s up to Justin Wren, it fails. There are 18 people who are dedicated to this that have been trained to be the solution to their own country’s problem and they are running with that; and our motto is ‘Opportunity is greater than Charity,'” said Wren about working and living in the DRC.

After a near five year lay off, Wren returned with his non-profit, Fight for the Forgotten (which has now joined with Water4 and together have built 35 clean water wells), this time stepping into the Bellator MMA cage, defeating Josh Burns at Bellator 141 and extending his record to 13-2.

“I wasn’t even sure that I was coming back. I had two, maybe three sit down interviews with Scott (Coker) who I told I wasn’t sure if I was coming and he told me, ‘Well, first you need make that decision then we can have another talk,’ He said he was interested in my story and how to help the Pygmies. I looked at Scott and saw this picture of a big blue iceberg where the tip is what MMA fans see of Bellator and underneath is what Scott Coker sees and I thought, ‘Man, this guy’s got a huge vision,'” said Wren about his return to MMA and joining Bellator.[pullquote align=”right” cite=” I’m not a hero. I have 18 heroes in the Congo, because Fight for the Forgotten, if it’s up to Justin Wren, it fails.”][/pullquote]

Now after only a six month layoff, Wren faces Juan Torres during the preliminary bouts at Bellator 149 in Houston, Tx, in Torres’ backyard. This is the first time in a longtime Wren will not be the crowd favorite, but predicts a finish in this one.

Wren’s adopted Pygmy brother, Benjamin, who’s Pygmy name is Amagu Amagu, which translates to, “We are all one, we are not different,” flew in on Wednesday and will be cage side for Wren’s fight.

“I think I’ll bring him up on stage with me and if he’s not too embarrassed or too shy while I’m standing there in my underwear (for weigh-ins) and it will be a complete culture shock for him, but he knows the heart behind it and is super supportive,” said Wren about Benjamin and his first sport fighting experience.

Wren’s plans after this fight is to return to the Congo and be apart of the groundbreaking for the 36th and 37th wells. His future goals are to capture the Bellator title and celebrated with his extended family in the States and in Africa.

Bellator 149 airs Friday night on Spike and for more information on Fight for the Forgotten and Water4, click on the links. You can also purchase Wren’s autobiography Fight for the Forgotten: How a Mixed Martial Artist Stopped Fighting for Himself and Started Fighting for Others online or at local book retailers.

 

 

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