I caught up with Justin Wren on August 16, on a Sunday, when he was on a road trip to Colorado. He was with in a car with his wife and their 13 weeks-old (at that time) English bulldog named Russell.

We started small talking about his upcoming fight, his drive to Colorado for altitude training for his last week of preparations for his big comeback fight against Josh “The Hammer” Burns at Bellator 141.

Wren had a lot to talk about. See for yourself below.


Christian Larusson: When I did research about you and your story. I read about your drug addiction. But I couldn’t find out much about it?

Justin Wren – It was manly Narcotics, or pain pills, anything from Oxycontin to Vicodin, etc.


CL: Was it from Mixed Martial Arts injuries?

JW: It started before I ever took my first fight. I was wrestling and I was living at the olympic training center. And I hurt my arm really bad. I dislocated it, I broke it and I tore the ligament in my elbow. So they gave me pain pills right away. But then I also had to wait for months for surgery because we battled with the insurance companies.

**He starts asking me if the people where I live need to do that. Deal with the insurence companies before getting help. I tell him, we don’t (in Sweden). Then he continues.**

JW: We had to battle and say that I’m training for the olympics. I want a good doctor that knows how to do elbows surgery. They wanted to give me a guy that only did like, ankles and wrist. And I was like, I’m an athlete My career depends on this. I want a guy who does elbows.

JW: Anyway, so I had to wait for several months and the whole time I was having to take pain pills, pain pills and pain pills. To numb the pain. So I  got addicted.. And then after the surgery they gave me stronger pain pills. And I vent through a month’s supply in like  a week. And then, next week the gave me another month supply that I vent thru in a week. And then after that, I developed (an addiction). Once I started training and fighting. I found three different doctors in three different states. One was in Texas, one was in Colorado and one was in Iowa.

I would go to those guys and they would give me a good amount. One guy was giving me 30, one guy was giving 45 and another doctor was giving me 90 at a time. And I would use all those, and look for them in the streets. Different, you know. Different places I could find them.

After that I explored in all sorts of different drugs, alcoholism. I would always do multiple things at one time. It was rare that I could do just one thing. Like if I was taking narcotics, maybe I would mix it with Xanax or some kind of antidepressive or Alcohol. Or sometimes cocain. Cocaine would get me up and made me excited and the pills they made me, to cool me off.  The drinking to calm me down.. It was bad..

And I had my Medical Marijuana license. That was more for Pain management, to help me sleep. Everything I used was too numb myself. Numb the pain, but also to numb my mind. The depression.

I would say that from early age I battled suicidal thoughts. I dont know why.. Well I do know why, I was bullied. So I would say that, yeah. From that kind of depression. I didn’t want to be depressed so substances like pills and drinking and marijuana and cocaine all those things would numb my thoughts and not make me feel depressed.


CL: What would you tell others to get better? Is there a good way to deal with it, or does everyone need to go to Congo to get healthy? Is there a special mindset you had?

JW: I would say that you can’t really put it all on one thing, but if I had too, If I had too. I would put on my faith (Christianity). because that’s been, that honestly just for me personally. Knowing that, that God loves me and that he created me just to love him, love others. Love god, love people. If I can do that in my life, that just my personal belief but. If I can do that, if I can love god love people then. I’ll look back at my life (one day) and be like, wow. I loved. That’s my legacy, that’s what I left behind.

**Wren have been clean around five years now. But for those doing the math on where he was in his MMA career, probably asked himself, did he use drugs inside the TUF house?**


JW: My drug addiction was at full effect on TUF. I mean,  I cooled it down a whole lot.  But I snuck in pills (Oxycontin). I snuck those in, so that way I could, if for some reason I lost, which I happen to lose  to Roy Nelson in a very close decision. I wanted to deal with my depression. That’s the way I was dealt with my depression. I would take one of those, have a few drinks.. And yeah, then I would be able to basically erase the night, or the day, or the pain, I would be able to erase it- so it wouldn’t be there anymore.

They even checked all of our stuff (before coming in to the house). Checked my prescriptions that I told them was a prescription for something else, so I would be able to sneak those into the house.

I wasn’t using at all, zero, I was cold turkey before I lost (in the house). Then after I lost, I had maybe two weeks left, and I think I had two weeks worth that I could take 1-2 pills a day. I probably had about, 20-25 pills that I got into the house.


CL: That must have been hard to get into the house, because you are not allowed to leave the house.

JW: They picked up my pill bottle. And I thought for sure, they were gonna, you know, check and see if the pills matched up to the bottle. Because they wouldn’t have. But they didn’t, they just asked we what it was, so I brought it into the (TUF) house.


About The Author

Christian Larusson
Staff Writer

Christian Larusson is a passionate Mixed Martial Arts fan. With experience in writing for Swedish MMA sites, he now solely writes in English through blogging, PunchDrunkSports and The MMA Corner. Got his heart broken early in his life when a friend, ‘Judas’, told him that WWE/WWF wasn’t real. Then one day, he saw MMA on a friend's computer, he was overwhelmed with emotions from what his eyes had just seen. He´s been in love ever since. Christian has been published in different Swedish papers and books, nothing to do with MMA though, so who gives a shh-.