Justin Levens. Photo courtesy of the International Fight League.
Former UFC middleweight Justin Levens was found dead in his Laguna Niguel, California home along with his wife, Sarah McLean-Levens, Wednesday afternoon due to apparent gunshot wounds. Levens was 28-years-old.
“The investigation is ongoing and in the preliminary stages,” an Orange County Police Department official told MMA on Tap early Thursday morning. “As of right now, we believe it is a murder-suicide. We have no other comment at this time.”
According to a report from CBS 2 in Los Angeles, Levens’ mother-in-law found the couple in their bedroom around 2:30 PM PT on Wednesday afternoon and then contacted the authorities.
A protege of mixed martial arts pioneer Marco Ruas, Levens began fighting professionally four years ago, and was victorious in his first seven bouts, including a knockout win against Chute Boxe product Jorge Oliveira at World Extreme Cagefighting 17.
Levens’ big break came when he was tapped to replace an injured Jeremy Horn against former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner at UFC 59 in April 2006. Tanner submitted Levens with a triangle choke in the first round. Levens would go on to lose his next UFC bout to Jorge Santiago before being released from the organization.
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native soon found a home in the team-based International Fight League, where he competed for Ruas’ Southern California Condors. However Levens lost all three of his fights under the IFL banner, which prompted a five-fight losing streak.
Levens was last scheduled to fight Ray Lazama at Affliction Entertainment’s debut show on July 19, but the bout was removed from the show’s card due to time constraints. In the weeks after the event, the California State Athletic Commission announced that Levens had tested positive for the banned painkiller, Oxymorphone, following pre-fight testing for Affliction’s event. Levens was suspended for six months and fined $1,000.
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