I’m down in Tennessee for Christmas holidays and last night my mom poked her head out of her sewing room and asked me what was up with the UFC dude who (allegedly) killed his wife. At that point I realized that the Justin Levens story was pretty big news – well, pretty big at the moment. I’m sure about 4 days from now it’ll be dropped and forgotten by the mainstream media, but for now it’s in the 24 hour news loop.
At first I had made the decision that I was basically gonna ignore the Levens story because hey, you guys come here for dick n fart jokes and the last time I tried having some shits and giggles over a fighter’s death I felt dirty for about a month and a half. The only other option was to go all preachy on y’all, and I think I already used up all my preachy points for December with my Fight for the Troops post.
That being said, I’m gonna get a little preachy now so if you don’t wanna read that then feel free to skip this post.
The general angle a lot of people are bringing to the table re: Levens is that the media is exaggerating his cage fighter resume trying to make him seem like he’s way bigger than he is. Basically, the media is trying to forge a connection between MMA and (alleged) wife-killing psychos. So in response there’s a lot of blogs pointing out that Levens hasn’t been a UFC / WEC / IFL fighter for a while and hasn’t fought anywhere in over a year and so on and so on and so on.
Come the fuck on. Levens was an MMA fighter, no matter how much he may or may not have sucked. People are just trying to downplay his involvement because they don’t want people to associate MMA with him like they did with Chris Benoit and the WWE. And while Levens might have gone down as a footnote in MMA history if he hadn’t decided to (allegedly) shoot his sleeping wife in the chest and then off himself as well, there’s still a pretty decent link between what he (allegedly) did and the sport he dedicated his life to.
Levens was addicted to painkillers. His last blip on the MMA radar prior to this was regarding a suspension for painkillers (he hit a whopping 10,000ng/ml on the dope-o-meter), and police found a whackload of painkillers and anti-depressants in his condo. We’ve talked about how horrible painkiller addiction is, and just from the reaction via the Jackals I’ve learned that it’s a lot more prevalent than you’d expect. And why do you think Justin Levens was on these pills? I don’t have an extensive medical history sitting in front of me, but is it anywhere near far fetched to assume that his addiction stems from injuries sustained from training and participating in mixed martial arts?
I’m not about to say that MMA is ‘responsible’ for what happened with Levens and his wife the same way the WWE was with Chris Benoit. But everyone in the MMA scene seems to be reacting to the media hysterics with denial hysterics all of their own. Levens was a mixed martial artist who was hooked on painkillers. Pain med addiction is a serious problem in our sport, and it’s only getting worse. What happened with Levens was obviously a rare and horrible outcome, and it’s not like we’re expecting James Irvin and Joe Riggs to go off like ticking time bombs any second now. But we might want to maybe consider looking into the painkiller issue. I don’t know what can be done, but at this point they’re a bigger elephant in the room than steroids are.