Written by @NickRiznerMMA
Justin Wren has dedicated the past five years of his life to the Pygmies of the African Congo.
Affectionately referred to as “The Big Pygmy,” Wren stepped away from mixed martial arts back in 2010 to begin a movement that would inspire thousands. Fight for the Forgotten is a non-profit organization focused on freeing the Mbuti Pygmy people from a group of oppressive rebels known as the Bantus, and establishing a system of sustainability to permanently improve their quality of life.
Throughout history, these rebels have committed unspeakable acts of aggression against the Pygmies; enslaving, killing, raping, and eating them. It became clear that the Pygmies needed assistance, but a tactful approach was key. Rather than simply traveling to the Congo and helping the Pygmies, Wren and his team have concentrated their efforts on educating and enabling the Pygmies to help themselves.
After all, if you teach a man to fish…
Justin Wren recently returned to MMA, joining the Bellator roster as a heavyweight. While part of this decision was based on his love for the sport, his true motivation remains in the Congo. Wren hopes that he can use the increased exposure as an international platform to help promote his charitable efforts overseas. It was only a matter of time before Wren’s vision would catch the eye of Matt Bessette, a Bellator veteran who returns to action on October 23rd, for Bellator 144.
Bessette – a fighter who has seemingly dedicated his entire existence to the purpose of helping others – was inspired by Fight for the Forgotten, and decided to act. While throwing a logo on your shorts or banner would do plenty in the way of raising awareness, Matt wanted to do something more; something tangible.
Calling upon his widespread and loyal fan base for assistance, Matt has set up a fund raising campaign to help contribute to Wren’s cause. In addition, he has asked all his fight sponsors to make their checks out to Fight for the Forgotten, rather than himself, and has promised to donate any sponsorship checks that were ‘mistakenly’ made out to him, directly to FFTF.
Matt has always possessed this inherent call-to-arms when it comes to helping those in need. As a survivor of leukemia, the importance of giving back has never been lost on the 30 year old Connecticut native. But even for Matt, this is amazingly generous. In return, he asks one thing.
Let it be contagious.
Join the fight. Donate to the cause and have a direct impact on the lives of the forgotten. This is not some mysterious charity where the funds are distributed in the shadows. This is a transparent organization with a real impact. All the money raised will go towards the purchasing of land in order to further the liberation effort, or towards the costs associated with building clean-water wells in the Congo.
I strongly encourage you all to watch the videos below. Take a moment to hear the passion in Justin Wren’s voice, and you will immediately understand why Matt Bessette felt so compelled to contribute. I don’t get on my soap box very often, but I feel strongly about this one.
Help change the lives of those who need it most. Please donate now.