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« | Home | »

Justin Levens and wife found shot dead

By Zach Arnold | December 18, 2008

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TMZ is reporting that former UFC and IFL fighter Justin Levens and his wife were found dead at their house in California. More details here.

The story has been picked up by both Fox 11 and CBS 2 in LA. Levens had a 9-8 record in MMA competition. Sherdog has more on the last months of Levens’ MMA career.

Levens was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for oxymorphone this past July. Levens had been booked to fight Ray Lazama on an undercard bout on the Affliction debut show at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.

What will the tone of the media coverage be on this story? Check out the lede on this Orange County Register story:

A mixed martial arts fighter nicknamed the Executioner and his wife were found dead in a bed in a Laguna Niguel condominium Wednesday, the victims of possible gunshot wounds. Sheriff’s investigators are looking into the possibility of a murder-suicide.

I’m sure the media will have interest in Levens’ MySpace page, including focusing on this picture of him holding a gun with the caption, “one way or another i will get the best of u.” There’s also this picture with him holding a gun at Brittney Skye.

Update: Here is a Fox 11 report on the story (LA TV). There is a video clip of the report at the bottom of the article. In that video report, the reporter heavily played up the fact that Levens was an ‘ultimate fighter’ and made sure to use the nickname ‘executioner’ several times. “He was one of the big stars in the world of ultimate fighting.” The reporter claimed that no one had seen Levens or his wife for the past five days, so the mother of the wife went looking for them and found their dead bodies (and a gun) in a ‘grizzly’ scene in the upstairs bedroom of Levens’ condo in Laguna Niguel. The reporter discussed Levens being suspended by the CSAC for taking oxymorphone, and then noted that the sheriff’s department had been at the Laguna Niguel residence at least twice this year, with the last police visit responding to a call of a ‘possible OD (overdose).’ The reporter closed out the brief video by saying “Justin Levens, The Executioner, the big ultimate fighter’ and his wife were found dead in their condo.

CBS 2 in Los Angeles has a short video report on the story and will continue to update this page tomorrow.

Update: Deadspin:

I’m not sure what in Levens’ background may have led him to this, but with the MMA we’re not exactly dealing with your typical athlete. Another fighter at the Affliction event, Sergei “The Pit Bull” Arlovsky, is featured on his web site with vampire fangs.

UPI report on the Levens story here.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 20 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

20 Responses to “Justin Levens and wife found shot dead”

  1. Chuck says:

    I mentioned this in another thread and it’s a God damn shame.

    Here’s to the families of these two. And this SCREAMS of the Benoit family tragedy.

    Ed. — Please do not jump to conclusions on this specific story. Thank you.

    Sorry Zach, but all of the reports said they are treating this as a murder/suicide. How can I not jump to conclusions? Ah well, let’s just wait for more info I guess.

  2. Alex Sean says:

    Very sad news for sure. It’s strange how after the Benoit situation you find yourself hoping that it was some stranger who killed them and not a murder/suicide.

    I definitely don’t want to jump to conclusions though. It’s not fair to the families of the victims in a time where they’re surely grieving.

    However if that is the case, I’m going to be very curious as to how the media treats this situation. When the Benoit story came out, the media immediately blamed “roid rage” and completely ignored the history of concussions and painkillers. I would bet the mortgage (granted I don’t pay a mortgage so that’s not saying a lot) that they’ll bury the painkiller suspension of Levens in the same manner. And of course we all know this has nothing to do with the corporations that own the news networks getting paid by the billion dollar pharmaceutical corporations. That wouldn’t factor in at all.

    Either way, definitely very sad news for sure.

  3. Chuck says:

    Maybe it’s too early to mention this but……has anyone seen Levens’ Myspace page? He has pics of himself holding guns to other girls’ (namely porn star Brittany Skye) heads. Just posing for pictures, but still. Again, I hate to jump to conclusions.

    But, then again, this can be like the Phil Hartman situation. He was killed by his wife, then she killed herself. But again, let’s wait and see for more info.

    One other thing about Levens’ Myspace page (Zach, feel free to combine this post with my last one); it mentions that he’s single. And he last updated his Myspace 11/30/08, not that long ago.

    Was he planning on being single?

  4. Ivan Trembow says:

    This is very sad news. I have no idea what happened in that house, but it seemed apparent last summer just based on the level of pain medication in Justin Levens’ system that he likely had a problem with pain medication addiction.

    From the CSAC press release at the time: “The nanogram cutoff [for a positive test result] for Oxymorphone is 120 ng/mL. Mr. Levens test level was finalized at 10,141 ng/mL.”

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    ESPN has a brief article on their main page about it.

    It’s a sad tragedy, but a sport like boxing or MMA will always attract a few people who are not fully mentally stable.

  6. GassedOut says:

    I’ll reserve judgement on what happened but it really doesn’t look very good.

  7. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    The media isn’t going to give this situation the benefit of the doubt like they did Benoit. Any time two people are found dead and one of them is an entertainer or athlete, the assumption is going to be that one of them killed the other.

  8. Kelvin says:

    Sergei “The Pitbull” Arlovski? Wow.

  9. 10,141 ng/mL?

    So he took oxymorphone while he was pissing in the cup? Wow.

    Murder-suicide is probably the most likely cause the media is pushing due to Leven’s history. Only the most ridiculous media outlets would immediately link MMA to murder-suicide, but I’m sure there are some out there.

    Depending on where the wounds were, prints on the gun, etc., who knows. We could always spin this into a huge conspiracy theory. Obviously he was a drug addict, did they potentially piss off the wrong drug dealer? I’m sure all these scenarios are being looked at by the police.

    Of course, digging through these MySpace pictures and other information, it’d be very evident Leven did the deed if the same gun in those photos matches the gun at the scene. All speculation of course.

    It’s very sad news, and I hope his family and friends get through the tough times ahead.

  10. Bloody Elbow with the usual trenchant analysis:

    http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2008/12/18/696654/quote-of-the-day-deadspin

    They called Andrei “Sergei?” That changes EVERYTHING!

  11. Fred says:

    It’s a mistake for those of us who love MMA to anxiously analyze the “tone” of the mainstream media, hoping that they don’t bash MMA too much. The mainstream media is into two things: sensationalism and ratings. Every story they do is geared to hyping up sensation and getting more viewers. Their reporting of this story is going to be overblown and flawed just like their reporting of everything else. It’s not a surprise that they got Andrei Arlovski’s name wrong, and it’s not a surprise that they are playing up Levens’ UFC experience, even though his UFC tenure was very brief.

    What we fans need to do is to look for comment from investigators on the case, and family, friends and training partners who actually knew Justin. If they choose to discuss this, they might have some insight as to what happened or what he may have been dealing with. At this point, we don’t know what happened, and the mainstream media doesn’t know either. Ignore the excesses of the stupid mainstream media. The investigators and any folks who knew Justin personally may have the answers in time.

    People who love MMA will continue to love MMA. People who hate or do not understand MMA will continue to be ignorant. Sensational media coverage of this tragedy won’t change one type of person into the other.

  12. Chuck says:

    His Myspace page is now set to private and was last updated 12/18/08. Who had access to his Myspace page? Or did Myspace themselves do that?

  13. Jim Allcorn says:

    If it does turn out that Levens was the one who pulled the trigger, I wouldn’t completely disregard his MMA career as a contributing factor. What with the long losing streak he’d been on & his apparent drug addiction.
    But, he could have just as likely been a disillusioned factory worker & done the same damn thing IMO.

    I believe that the people who do this sort of thing are just pre-disposed to do it because of their make up & mental illness & ANY sort of low point in their lives could trigger it. No matter what they did for a living.

    I went through a tragedy like this myself with my ( then ) brother in law & my four year old nephew back on New Years Eve of 1980.
    He was separated from my sister & had just been laid off at the local Nabisco plant when my sister dropped my nephew off at his place for visitation. During which, he made the insane decision to kill his own son & then, unlike in most similar cases, lost his nerve during the subsequent suicide attempt.

    Needless to say, he’s spent what’s remained of his life in prison & in an institution for the criminally insane.

    My point being that, his horrific actions didn’t prove to place a black mark on all the other employees of Nabisco back then.
    Nor should what Levens may have done in any way disparage those individuals who make their living fighting in MMA.

  14. [...] mouth. So if you want to keep up with the Justin Levens situation, then I’d point you towards FightOpinion where Zach and his commenters are doing a good job of breaking the situation (and the media’s [...]

  15. Ivan Trembow says:

    From the Sherdog update on this:

    “Authorities also took into custody what appeared to be prescribed painkillers and anti-depressant medication, though they were not found in the standard-marked pharmaceutical containers denoting whom they belonged to.”

  16. The problem is that the media won’t be regarding his MMA career as the cause due to his losing streak, suspension that stopped him from making money… no no, they’ll liken MMA fighters’ mentalities to that of psychotic killers, that must be why they love the sport so much, right?

    That’s what will happen. Many people are simply stating that this is always going to happen, and it will. I just think it’s sad that the mainstream media literally feeds off stories like this to rile up a bunch of overly conservative people who believe MMA is still “human cockfighting”.

    It is sensationalism and ratings that their after, and that what the sport will have to put up with from time to time as things like this are bound to happen again.

  17. [...] Fight Opinion No tags for this [...]

  18. [...] updates on the death of Justin Levens and his wife. First, The LA Times reports the following: A handgun was found near Justin Levens’ body, and [...]

  19. John says:

    I’ve got to rant again here, my apologies. Fred is right. I’m really, really tired of the MMA blogosphere turning into a bunch of Chicken Little’s every time something bad happens in MMA. If we listen to some of these idiots then MMA would have been shut down: after Sherk & Franca tested positive for steroids, after PRIDE got caught with the Yakuza, after the last Elite CBS Show, and countless other “THE SKY IS FALLING!” incidents of the past 2 years.

    Some guy nobody remembered is going to bring it down? It’s like saying a 3rd string lineman who washed out of the NFL after 2 games would destroy pro football for killing his wife. And that the media would care the same way they would if a Manning Brother did it. A big star like Randy Couture killing Kim, maybe. This is going to have a short shelf life. And Dana is easily as teflon as Vince McMahon is anyway. A quick “He fought here twice and we let him go for being lousy. We gave him all medical and drug tests under commission standard in his 2 fights.” from Dana and the media won’t care anymore.

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