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Former UFC Fighter Overcomes Depression

Ultimate Fighter Justin Wren struggled with low self esteem even after achieving his dream of becoming a professional fighter. Read Transcript


Reporter: JUSTIN WAS

LOOKING AT JOSH, AND HE IS

REINING DOWN THE LEATHER

HARD.

PEOPLE CALLED HIM THE

VIKING.

PROFESSIONAL FIGHTER JUSTIN

REND, ONE OF THE ULTIMATE

FIGHTERS IN THE ULTIMATE

FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP.

AND JUSTIN WAS A LEADING

CONTESTANT IN THE 2009

SEASON OF THE REALITY SHOW

"THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER."

BUT THE MAN WHO HAD BECOME A

FIERCE WARRIOR WAS NOTHING

LIKE THE AWKWARD AND SHY

TEENAGER HE ONCE WAS.

CLASSMATES MADE FUN OF

JUSTIN AND HARASSED HIM.

AT TIMES IT GOT PHYSICAL.

I JUST REMEMBER EVERY

PART OF ME FEELING LIKE IT

WAS BROKEN AND CRUSHED.

THAT I WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH.

THAT I WAS WORTHLESS.

I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE

SOMEONE DIFFERENT AT THAT

AGE.

Reporter: HE WAS AFRAID

TO STAND UP TO THE BULLIES

UNTIL HE DISCOVERED THE TV

SHOW, "THE ULTIMATE

FIGHTER."

THEY WERE BIG, THEY WERE

STRONG.

THEY WERE OLYMPIC WRESTLERS

AND OLYMPIC BOXERS.

AT THAT NOMINATE MOMENT, I

FOUND THIS IS HOW I WILL

LEARN HOW TO STAND UP FOR

MYSELF AND FIGHT BACK.

Reporter: IN HIGH

SCHOOL, HE JOINED THE

WRESTLING TEAM, AND HE GREW

BIGGER AND STRONGER AND WON

A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

THE BULLYING HAD STOPPED, BU

IT DIDN'T IMPROVE HIS

SELF-ESTEEM.

INSTEAD, HE FELT WORSE AND

WAS DIAGNOSED WITH

DEPRESSION.

JUSTIN STARTED DRINKING AND

SMOKING MARIJUANA TO BATTLE

THE SADNESS.

I JUST ALWAYS REMEMBER

FIGHTING DEPRESSION.

FIGHTING SADNESS AND ANGER

ALL AT THE SAME TIME, LIKE

THESE TWO WARRING EMOTIONS

OF ME BEING ANGRY BECAUSE

I'M SAD, AND BEING SAD

BECAUSE I'M ANGRY.

WHATEVER THIS WHOLE IN MY

HEART WAS, IT HAD TO BE

FULFILLED.

Reporter: AFTER HIGH

SCHOOL, JUSTIN ACHIEVED HIS

DREAM OF BECOMING AN

ULTIMATE FIGHTER WHEN HE

EARNED A SPOT WITH THE

U.F.C.

HE QUICKLY BECAME A FAN

FAVORITE, BUT JUSTIN NEVER

CONQUERED HIS BATTLE WITH

DEPRESSION.

THE DRINKING GOT HEAVIER,

AND THE DRUGS GOT STRONGER.

IT DIDN'T MATTER HOW MANY

PEOPLE SCREAMED MY NAME OR

CAME TO WATCH ME FIGHT OR

ASKED FOR MY AUTOGRAGH OR

TOOK MY PICTURES, I FELT ALL

ALONE.

I DID SUCH A GOOD JOB OF

HIDING MY DEPRESSION, THAT

ABSOLUTELY NOBODY KNEW.

FROM REPORTERS SAYING HE WAS

THE NEXT BIG THING, TO MY

PARENTS BEING SO PROUD OF

ME.

NOBODY IN THIS WORLD KNEW

HOW WORTHLESS I FELT.

Reporter: BUT JUSTIN

WAS LOSING HIS ABILITY TO

HIDE HIS ADDICTION.

HE STARTED SKIPPING TRAINING

CAMP.

AND HIS EXTREME DRUG USE

CAUSED HIM TO BLACK OUT FOR

DAYS.

ONE DAY HE WOKE UP FROM A

STUPER AND CHECKED HIS

VOICEMAIL.

HIS BEST FRIEND HAD LEFT HIM

A MESSAGE.

HE SAID, I CAN'T BELIEVE

YOU MISSED MY WEDDING.

I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU MISSED

BEING MY BEST MAN.

AND I REMEMBER FEELING

NAUSEOUS.

I REMEMBER JUST THINKING, I

AM SUCH A SCREW-UP, THAT I

LOVE THIS GUY AND I HURT HIM

DEEPLY.

Reporter: THEN DAYS

LATER, HE WAS KICKED OFF THE

ULTIMATE FIGHTER FOR

SKIPPING PRACTICE AND

SUSPICION OF DRUG USE.

WHEN HE MOM FOUND OUT, SHE

WENT TO HIS HOUSE AND SHE

DISCOVERED LARGE AMOUNT OF

DRUGS AND JUSTIN LIVING IN

FILTTH.

MY DRUG ADDICTION WAS NO

LONGER ABLE TO BE HIDDEN,

AND MY DEPRESSION WAS NO

LONGER ABLE TO BE HIDDEN.

I ABSOLUTELY NEEDED AND HAD

TO HAVE A CHANGE.

Reporter: HIS MOM

CALLED AN OLD FRIEND OF

JUSTIN'S THAT SHE KNEW HAD

BECOME A PASTOR.

PASTOR JEFF INVITED JUSTIN

TO A CHRISTIAN RETREAT.

JEFF USED THESE WORDS,

I'M TELLING YOU, REAL PEOPLE

WITH REAL PROBLEMS REALLY

NEED REAL ANSWERS FROM A

REALLY REAL GOD.

HE SAID, I PROMISE YOU, HE

IS REAL.

Reporter: JEFF

CONVINCED JUSTIN TO COME,

AND EVEN PAID FOR HIS FLIGHT

TO TEXAS.

I WAS SURROUNDED BY MEN

THAT ABSOLUTELY LOVED GOD,

WHICH FREAKED ME OUT BECAUSE

I NEVER MET PEOPLE THAT I

ACTUALLY FELT REALLY DID

LOVE GOD.

JEFF STARTED SPEAKING MY

LANGUAGE.

BRO, YOU CAN'T WIN THIS

FIGHT ALONE.

HE IS THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER.

JESUS WENT ON THE CROSS.

HE DIED FOR YOUR SINS.

BUT, BRO, THAT'S NOT IT.

THAT'S NOT WHERE THE STORY

ENDS.

HE WAS BURIED IN THE GRAVE,

AND THREE DAYS LATER HE

AROSE.

HE DEFEATED IT ALL FOR YOU.

AND ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS

SUBMIT.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS TAP

OUT.

AND TO ME THAT WAS CRAZY,

BECAUSE TAPPING OUT MEANS

GIVING UP, IT MEANS

SURROUNDING.

YOU'RE TELLING ME I'M GOING

TO WIN -- YOU'RE TELLING ME

I'M GOING TO WIN WHENEVER I

SURRENDER, WHENEVER I WAVE

THE WHITE FLAG, WHEN I GIVE

UP.

HE SAID, BRO, I PROMISE

YOU, THIS IS THE ONE TIME

WHEN YOU GIVE EVERYTHING UP

AND YOU GIVE YOUR LIFE OVER,

AND YOU SAY, I CAN'T DO THIS

WITHOUT YOU, GOD, I HAVE TO

HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH

YOU, JESUS, AND I PROMISE

YOU YOU'RE GOING TO BE GIVEN

THE GREATEST VICTORY YOU

HAVE EVER WON.

Reporter: JUSTIN PRAYED

TO ACCEPT JESUS AS HIS

SAVIOR.

I JUST REMEMBER GIVING MY

LIFE TO CHRIST.

PRAYING, AND SAYING, GOD, I

CANNOT DO THIS WITHOUT YOU.

I AM JACKED UP AND I CAN'T

SAVE MYSELF, AND I NEED

YOU.

AND MY HEART WAS FINALLY AT

REST.

AND I FINALLY HAD NOT A

HAPPINESS THAT WAS

TEMPORARY, BUT A JOY THAT I

KNEW WAS THERE TO STAY.

THAT WORTHLESSNESS WAS TAKEN

AWAY, AND THE WORTH AND THE

VALUE IN WHO GOD IS AND WHO

JESUS IS AND WHO HE MADE ME

TO BE WAS INSTANTLY PUT

THERE.

AND JESUS SET ME FREE

SPIRITUALLY, SET ME FREE

EMOTIONAL, AND SET ME FREE

PHYSICALLY FROM THOSE

DRUGS.

IT WAS ALL GOD.

Reporter: JUSTIN MIGHT

REJOIN THE U.F.C. IN THE

FUTURE, BUT FOR NOW HE IS IN

FULL-TIME

MINISTRY

WITH

HIS

FIANCEE.

IN FACT, THEY PUT THEIR

WEDDING ON HOLD FOR A YEAR

WHILE JUSTIN LEADS A MISSION

TRIP TO THE CONGO.

HE SAYS HIS LIFE IS

FULFILLED ALL BECAUSE OF

JESUS CHRIST.

I TAPPED OUT, AND I

SUBMITTED MY LIFE TO CHRIST,

AND HONESTLY, I WAS GIVEN

THE GREATEST VICTORY I HAD

EVER WON.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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