Bellator’s Brennan Ward Returns After Addiction Hardship

Brennan Ward will fight at Bellator 274 after nearly a year of sobriety from drug abuse.

Ward has seen success and failure within the cage. Most of his wins were finished before the final bell. Only one of his bouts went to decision in his 20-fight career.

The 14-6-0 fighter faced many battles since his 2008 debut. But his most difficult battle was with drug addiction.

“I used fentanyl all day, every day,” Ward said. “I found opiates young, when I was in high school — Oxy, Vicodin — and I loved them. I loved them since the first time I did them at 14 years old. And I have chased them ever since. I had lots of money when I was fighting so I was buying lots of drugs and then the pills got hard to find, so we all started doing heroin and then heroin turns to fentanyl. And there you are,” Ward said, according to CT Insider.

Often, Ward fought while under the influence of drugs. The addiction was controlling most of his life. He missed out on precious times with his daughter because he was either in jail or rehab.

Brennan Ward
Brennan Ward

Still, his addiction came first and he continued to spiral further into its control.

Although Ward appeared fine on the outside, he experienced frequent blackouts, called out of many fights, broke contracts—leading a life with hard drugs at the reins.

“I was [messed] up all the time,” Ward said. “I know [people] that get away with it for however long they’re using for. I’m like, ‘How does your wife not know?’ I’m a dead giveaway. Enough was enough. My daughter doesn’t deserve this. It’s not fair for her to get brought into this world and have a father like that. It’s almost like growing up, dude. I was getting too old for that. It’s a selfish, selfish lifestyle because you keep saying, ‘I’m only hurting myself.”

“Irish” made many attempts to overcome addiction; this one proves the most successful. No one has seen Ward in the cage since his 2 losses in 2017. Now, he has a chance for redemption against Brandon Bell.

Bellator 274 kicks off Saturday, February 19. And he will enter the cage already feeling like a winner. For the first time in years, he breathes air free of addiction.

Ward Joins List Of Inspirational Fighters

Many mixed martial artists have become martyrs for change to help fight drug addiction.

Terrance McKinney(top), Isaac Vallie-Flagg(bottom), Court McGee(right)
Terrance McKinney(top), Isaac Vallie-Flagg(bottom), Court McGee(right); Photo Credit:  LFA / UFC Fight Pass / The McGee Project

For instance, UFC fighter Court McGee has over ten years of sobriety to be proud of. He supports anyone struggling with the disease and is a motivational speaker for the cause.

And a little over five years ago, Terrance McKinney was hospitalized after a fatal drug overdose in which he died twice. He now tells his story to fans via social media, and many have thanked him for sharing the personal and shocking ordeal.

American welterweight Isaac Vallie-Flagg fought the awful disease. For years, he struggled with it, and even after a stint with the law, he continued to abuse drugs until it started to ruin his relationship with his family. He now spends his time out of the gym helping others with the disease.

Similarly, all these fighters believed they should be dead or in jail, but have turned their lives around for the better and could not be more thankful for a second chance.

Since opening up about his issues with substance abuse, Ward has inspired others to get their lives back on track.

“My inbox went crazy,” he said. “To see these people now — they’re going to detox, they’re getting clean. I’m trying to talk to all these people the best I can. I might have needed somebody like me years ago, another dude I could relate to, another dude who was an absolute savage like I was. I couldn’t find that. I couldn’t relate to anybody,” Ward explained.

Sometimes, it takes hitting rock-bottom or destroying the lives of others to really see the destruction of drug addiction. All of these fighters, and many others, are perfect examples that anyone can overcome drug or alcohol addiction.

Whether fighting in a cage or sitting at a desk, the disease of addiction can affect anyone.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there are helpful resources available:

Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) // // National Drug Helpline: (844) 289-0879

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