— Mixed martial arts fighter Justin Levens and his wife Sarah were found dead in their Laguna Niguel, Calif., condominium on Wednesday, in what Orange County sheriff's investigators believe to be a murder-suicide.
The bodies of Levens, 28, and Sarah McLean-Levens, 25, were found in their bed in the 100 block of Fleurance Street by McLean-Levens' mother, who had not heard from the couple in five days, spokesman Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said.
McLean-Levens' mother called 911 about 2:30 p.m. to report the discovery.
Amormino told NBCSports.com that a weapon was recovered close to Justin Levens' body and that police were moving closer to a determination of murder-suicide, "possibly with [Justin Levens] being the shooter."
"We’re leaning toward that as the cause," said Amormino, who added that there were no suspects being sought in connection with the couple's deaths.
Completed autopsies confirmed that Sarah McLean-Levens died of a single gunshot wound to the chest that penetrated her heart while Justin Levens died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Police will continue ballistics, residue and toxicological testing, which will help them definitively make a ruling on the crime. The results of toxicological testing take approximately 6-8 weeks. In addition, Amormino added that pain pills and anti-depressants were found in the home, and police are checking to see if they were properly prescribed.
There was no suicide note at the scene.
Levens, nicknamed "The Executioner" had a 9-8 record in his career, and fought in several promotions, including the UFC, WEC and IFL. Levens made his pro debut in 2004 and immediately made a name for himself, winning his first seven matches.
Levens made it to the UFC in April 2006, and fought former middleweight champion Evan Tanner, losing via first-round triangle choke. He lost a second UFC match, this time against Jorge Santiago, before moving on to other organizations.
Levens lost 8 of the last 10 matches he participated in, including five in a row. He was scheduled to fight in last July's Affliction: Banned show, but the bout was scrapped at the last minute due to time constraints. Afterward, Levens tested positive for oxymorphone and was suspended for six months. That punishment would have been up in January 2009.
Ken Pavia, who was Levens' agent during part of his MMA career, met Levens in 2005 when he was a highly touted prospect and remained friendly with him even after their business relationship ended.
"I saw him become disenchanted with his career and the sport," he said. "I think every fighter has the earnest belief they’ll reach the pinnacle of the sport, but few do. For everyone that makes it, there's hundreds and hundreds who don't. So I as an agent worry about guys who have a series of losses. Justin's a guy that held promise, but it just didn't work out for him."
An anonymous source that spent time with Levens in recent months told NBCSports.com that he was "never the same" after the suicide of one of his close friends, former IFL fighter and teammate Jeremy Williams.
Williams, who also lived in Liguna Niguel, shot himself in May 2007.
The Associated Press reported that police had visited the Levens' home at least twice in the last month, including a recent visit for a possible drug overdose.
Levens had a rough upbringing in the projects of southeast Philadelphia and first discovered his fighting skills in streetfights there before moving to California and polishing his skills with MMA pioneer Marco Ruas.
He fought for the last time in Oct. 2007, losing by submission to Kenny Ento in a Palace Fighting Championship event.
A PFC spokesman said the organization would have no comment until further details were released.