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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 jungles of the Congo, beaten down by economic enslavement, 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.
The Jiu-Jitsu Planner team could not be more excited to support Fight For The Forgotten.
In 2011 a journey of faith led Justin “The Big Pygmy” Wren deep into the Ituri rainforest of the Congo, and to the enslaved Mbuti Pygmy tribe, who referred to themselves as The Forgotten People.
Justin lived with the Pygmies for a full year, immersing himself in their culture and becoming part of their family. They gave him the name Eféosa, which means “The Man Who Loves Us.”
“I knew for the Pygmies to be free they needed to own their own land, have access to clean water, and develop sustainable agriculture,” says Wren.
“I founded the Fight for the Forgotten initiative to work to provide those things to them. With these three simple things, we can begin to break the chain of poverty, suffering, and even modern day slavery.”
Since 2011, Justin and Fight for the Forgotten have provided nearly 3,000 acres of land and dozens of water wells to the Pygmies. Not only are they no longer slaves, they’re thriving, with Pygmy leaders embarking on multiple community development initiatives including education, vocational training, and sustainable agriculture.
Follow Justin into the jungle and experience his story in his book, Fight for the Forgotten, and in a soon-to-be-released documentary film.
Justin Wren was bullied his entire life. But through the sport and martial art of wrestling, he found an outlet. The discipline and focus of the training, along with the support of his coaches and teammates, helped him to believe in himself, conquer depression, gain confidence, and find his tribe.
Today Justin is on a mission to tackle bullying through both awareness and prevention. He has partnered with Century Martial Arts to develop anti-bullying curriculum to be implemented in martial arts academies across the nation. He is also passionate about sharing his story with organizations, schools, academies and youth events in order to break the lifelong chains of bullying.
Find out more information at Fight for the Forgotten