E33 Justin Wren: The Big Pygmy

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In episode #33 I was joined from Fort Worth, Texas, by Justin “The Big Pygmy” Wren. Justin is a professional MMA fighter but his principal fight is for the rights of the ‘forgotten’ Mbuti Pygmy slaves in eastern Congo. Still only 27, Justin has packed a lot into his relatively short life. He has gone from the highs of 2 all-American wrestling titles and a place in The Ultimate Fighter house to the lows of addiction and suicidal ideation. Justin’s faith has played a large part in his recovery from addiction and an even larger part in the events that found him heading to the Congo on 3 weeks notice in 2011.

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Justin was an inspirational, sincere, and humble guest. Justin has found the best way to ease his own troubles is to focus on the troubles of others. Wren’s immediate plans are to fight for Bellator MMA and return to the Congo between fights to visit his beloved Pygmy family.

Our conversation covered the following topics;

  1. Why wrestlers transition to MMA so successfully.
  2. How a serious injury sent Justin into an increasingly unmanageable addiction to painkillers.
  3. Justin describes the vision he had prior to his first visit to the Congo.
  4. Justin details the plight of the slave Pygmies and the ‘evil’ violence they experience at the hands of others.
  5. Justin gives a brief History Of The Congo 101.
  6. Justin describes his first trips to the Congo and his decision to help by setting up Fight For The Forgotten, getting the help of a local university, buying land, and drilling wells.
  7. Justin tells us how he managed to reduce the struggle of the Pygmies without further alienating them from other local groups.
  8. Justin tells us his plans for the future, Congo-related and personal.

Enjoy the episode. Dave

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NB: Myself and a few students are organising a fundraiser for Justin’s work, if you’d like to help out please get in touch. We hope to raise the cost of a well (approx €1,900) by Christmas. Keep an eye on the blog for more info.

Watch a short video about Justin's journey here.
Donate to Fight For The Forgotten here.
Visit FFTF's page here.
Follow Justin on twitter here.
The FFTF facebook page is here.
You can buy Justin's brilliant book here.

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