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Palace Arts Center, Grapevine | Justin Wren
January 25 @ 7:00 am - 8:30 am
Justin Wren is a well-known mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, Christian speaker, author and founder of the Fight for the Forgotten initiative. His career in the UFC was jumpstarted when he appeared on the hit reality TV series “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike. That appearance landed him a UFC contract, where he excelled as a professional athlete. His current record is 12-2.
Despite his success in the UFC, Wren battled depression and drug addiction early in his career. After discovering his faith, Wren stopped using drugs and temporarily stepped away from MMA fighting to discover God’s purpose for his life.
During this time, Wren discovered the Mbuti Pygmies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Wren calls the Pygmies the “most bullied people on earth.” Not only are they enslaved, but they are also cannibalized by their oppressors.
Justin spent over a year living among the Pygmies, sleeping on the jungle floor and sharing in their suffering. After experiencing their pain, he knew he could not turn his back on his Pygmy family.
In 2012, he founded Fight for the Forgotten, an initiative that works to provide land, clean water, and sustainable farming to the Mbuti Pygmies. Through partnerships with Water4 and Shalom University, the organization has provided over 3,000 acres of land to the Pygmies, allowing them to escape slavery. They have also provided 38 water wells and are teaching them agricultural practices so they can be self-sufficient.
In 2015, Wren returned to MMA, this time fighting to bring awareness to his Pygmy family. His book “Fight for the Forgotten” released in September 2015 and details his journey from addiction to life-changing ministry in the Congo.
In 2017, Justin was awarded the prestigious Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete of the Year Award. This award was established to honor 2 athletes, one male and one female, which have exhibited or demonstrated excellence in their sport and in life. Justin joins the ranks of other premier athletes that have won this award, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Nancy Kerrigan to name a few!
He and his wife Emily reside in Oklahoma City, OK.