Justin Wren’s heart is still with the “kiddos” of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Wren spent time in the Congo trying to help the water crisis and aid the Pygmies, who are hunted like animals. The professional mixed martial arts (MMA) heavyweight competed against Roman Pizzolato at Bellator 174. He earned a first-round submission win.
“The Big Pygmy” told MMANews.com that his performance came down to how different his training camp was for this fight:
“Man I feel great. It’s always good to perform or compete in the sport that I love and then whenever you put on a performance (with) a pretty great win you always feel great about it. So I feel awesome. The whole camp I felt different. Honestly coming back from the Congo living there for a full year and then probably two years over the last five years, you come back you have a lot of culture shock. And then you’re trying to get in the groove again stateside. I was never really able to plant my feet firmly in the ground.”
Wren admitted it was tough to return to the United States. He developed a bond with kids and their families while in the Congo. When he saw kids dying due to consuming dirty water, it made Wren even more determined to lend a hand.
“I almost didn’t come back. I love the U.S., I love parts of our culture and I love the people obviously. I wanna help people here, I wanna help people there, but that’s my second family now. I’m really focused on them. It’s just different. … It was really hard seeing these two kiddos and being at the funerals of five other kids that are under the age of seven years old. I don’t know, just to see the family suffering, just having a hard wake-up call to the world water crisis. There’s 1.5 million kiddos that die every year just because of dirty water and this is a preventable problem.”
You can listen to our full interview with Wren below: